Tag Archives: Tourists

Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral

On our way into Bogotá, we stopped in the former salt mines of Zipaquirá, the Disneyland of underground former salt mines. It seems a cathedral was built underground purely to attract tourists. Despite this sense of the whole place being artificial (though it is used for religious ceremonies) I was slightly awestruck at the scale of the underground cathedral.

Photos do not give enough credit to this impressive structure 200 metres underground. The cathedral and surrounding tunnels are memorable by themselves, but what really made the visit was the guide. He was a headcase. To this day, I cannot remember much of what he told us in his broken English, but I do remember his crazy arm-waving and manic movement. He even invited us to lick the walls of the former salt mine, and gave us a demonstration himself. This being Colombia, I’m sure salt wasn’t the only white stuff he’d had that day.

Mainly due to his hyperactivity, we thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the underground. Even if we didn’t learn a huge amount about it. Despite not being very religious myself, if I ever find myself in Colombia for Sunday Mass, I know which church to attend.


“The Pure White Stuff”

Our van was searched by police at the Costa Rica to Panama border at Sixaola last week. Usually this is a cursory glance around the occupants of the van, but this time round they opened up the van, checked passports, and asked a few questions:

Police: “What are you carrying?”
Driver: “Just the pure white stuff.” [Gestures to us tourists]
Police: “Oh they’re definitely contraband alright! Go on.”

It’s nice to see the locals can have a bit of a laugh at us foreigners’ expense. Although later on the driver revealed to me the actual reason they searched the van was the escaping of three prisoners from the local jail. Joke’s on us.