9th June 2013- am heading off to see the salt mine cathedral in Zipaquira . Went for a quick walk into the city first to find and atm and noticed that they have closed a lot of the streets for bike riding and walking. Have organized to go with a guide as with my chance of finding the way on the local buses isn't great. Meet William at 10am at the hostel and we drove for nearly two hours out of the city. The traffic was heavy so we had to make several turns around to find a clear route out. I was the only person the tour which is alright. He was telling me about bogota and how there are six different classes of people. Class one and two are the poor people and they live in the southern part of the city and everyone else lives in the northern part of the city. You could see a difference as you drove through the city the areas were more affluent people lived. There are mostly tall apartment buildings' with very fee single home and yards. Once out of the city of bogota we passed large greenhouses. These are home to roses that are exported to the USA. When it zipaquira short drive up the hill above the city to the old salt mine. Thanks to having the guide I had a ticket that meant I got to go straight to the front of the line and not wait for entry but the downside was that the English guide was sick so had to join a Spanish tour and had no idea what they were talking about. We walked for nearly an hour though a bunch of different chamber in which is each a large cross had been craved and was lit with colored lights. Then reached a light laser show inside on section of the mine. Walked a little further and then watched a 3d movie about the mine. It was in Spanish but English subtitles and it explained how columbia used to be an ocean but the water went away and left all the salt behind which become concentrated and buried underground over time. Around 500 years the tribes of the area started to expose the salt and trade it. When early Spanish explorer arrived they used open face mining to extract the salt and in the 1850 they started to dig underground. The mining contained until 1990 by which time more than 15 million tones of salt had been extracted and the mine had reached depths of more than 180m. When the mining finished it was finished they turned it into an underground cathedral. Was very interesting to see and kinda different to turn an old mine into a cathedral with laser light show. It is very popular and there must have been thousands of people there. Finished at the mine at 2pm and then drove back into the town and enjoyed lunch at a local meat house. Had the most tasty beef that had been slow cooked over coals. Looked over the large city plaza in the main town of the with it cathedral. Then drove back into bogota. It was a shorter drive only an hour back to the hostel. Once back went out and walked around the other side of the old city. Looked a small market and again there was street performers out. Headed back to the hostel for a quiet dinner and then just packing and organsing ready to leave early tomorrow morning. Talking with other people and seem to have ideas about what to expect traveling in southern Columbia. Some have no had no problems while other have stories of robbery and been driven around by crazy taxis taking money out of ATM. Am traveling during the day as this is safer so hope everything goes smoothly.