Agujas

The Art of Knitting

Tag: Travel

Three Days in Bogotá – Día Tres

It seemed fitting to share photos of our visit to La Catedral de Sal on a holy weekend. We visited on our third day in Bogotá. The cathedral is an old salt mine that has been converted into a Catholic Church 200 meters below ground. Mass is held on Sundays at noon.

Inside the mines, long vacuous tunnels show the routes miners took when the mine was active. At different points, you can look over the edges of seemingly bottomless cliffs. As you enter the mines, the tunnels have been converted into the Stations of the Cross depicting  the path that Jesus took to his crucifixion. Regardless of one’s belief system, I think it’s a beautiful representation of a spiritual journey. Each station is hand carved out of the halite and incorporates symbolic properties of the salt and the mines into each stop.

You can even pay a small additional fee and be a miner for the day. They provide hard hats and pick axes and you spend 30-45 minutes experiencing the mine through the eyes of a miner. We passed on this part. The thought of crawling through narrow, low caves made me catch my breath!

We did not get to spend any time in the city of Zipaquira which looked like a vibrant but quaint colonial town. On the way back to the city, we enjoyed the gorgeous views of the mountains and the lush countryside. We passed green fields dotted with grazing cattle and greenhouses nurturing the flora and fauna of Colombia. What a wonderful way to cap off our three days.

The best way to view these is by clicking on the first photo (twice). This will enlarge them and allow you to read the commentary. Hint: You may have to scroll down a bit to see the comments.

Three Days in Bogotá – Día Dos

The highlight of our second day in Bogotá was a visit to the Museo Botero. Fernando Botero’s paintings and sculptures are characterized by disproportionately large people and objects. I felt as if I was looking at the portrayals through a different lens. They made me smile.

Museo Botero - Monalisa

Museo Botero - Pareja Bailando

Museo Botero - Concierto Campestre

The museum is located inside a roomy house built in the early 1700s for the local archbishops. It has wide verandas and beautiful gardens with views of the nearby mountains.

Museo Botero - Casa 1

Museo Botero - Casa 2

The museum also has a collection of art by international and local artists. This large textile was another favorite. It is the work of Olga de Amaral, a textile artist from Bogotá.

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98

The tapestry is called Muro tejido No. 98 (Ca. 1972), made from animal and vegetable fibers.

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98 a

Museo Botero - Muro Tejido No. 98 b

Our last stop was all about shopping! The Galería Artesanal de Colombia had countless tienditas (little stores) full of local arts and crafts

Galería Artesanal de Colombia

I fell in love with these exquisite crochet bags handmade by Wayúu women. The bags are crocheted with cotton thread and come in vibrant colors and interesting designs, each unique to the woman who made it. Multiple threads are woven together to make the straps.

Bolsos Wayuu 1

As young Wayuu women come of age, they learn to weave and crochet Wayuu Mochila bags. According to legend, the tradition comes from “Wale´kerü”, a spider that taught the women how to weave their creative drawings into the Mochila bags. Each design incorporated into every Mochila bag is unique to the weaver, telling a story through the bag’s colors, patterns and shapes. (Source)

Bolsos Wayuu 2

Along the long aisles of hammocks, baskets, bracelets and hats, there were more crocheted bags.

Colombian Crochet Bags

There were also textiles woven in bright colors.

Colombian Textiles

By the end of the day, my head was spinnng, possibly due to the explosion of color, or the altitude! Another amazing day in Bogotá.

A Totally Frivolous Post

It was time for a manicure so I walked into a nail salon near the apartment. The place was tiny. It only had room for 5 seats and they were always occupied.

What drew me in was the clientele – all young ladies mostly in their twenties. The manicurists were laughing and talking as they bent over their intricate work. Every now and then they argued. Their voices grew louder and more demanding. Scowls were all too common. One of the younger girls was a bit clumsy, always managing to trip over someone’s foot or bumping someone’s arm just as they were about to paint a nail. She got the brunt of it.

At first, all I wanted was a new color. Then I started paying attention to the other customers. The colors went far beyond those of the rainbow. One lady was carefully applying bright purple sequins on someone’s nail with a toothpick. Another sprinkled glitter from a brush. Yet another painted tiny designs on each nail guided by a picture in a book. They were like artists mixing nail colors together, consulting with each other, choosing just the right sequin or ornament from trays and trays of shiny baubles. I was hooked.

I had fun trying new designs. Like putting on a new persona in a faraway land. Besides, I like the look of pretty nails while hands are clicking away on knitting needles.

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The Stars Above

It was my last weekend in Beijing. There were only a couple of sights left on my list and this was my last opportunity. Unfortunately, the air quality was not in my favor. The AQI had vacillated between “Unhealthy” and “Very Unhealthy” since Friday. One could almost touch the air, it was so thick.

Azimuth Theodolite

On the daily commute, we would pass by the star-gazing equipment at the Ancient Observatory. This was my destination.

According to the brochure, the Beijing Ancient Observatory was built in 1442 during the Ming Dynasty.

Sextant

As I walked around the grounds, I felt both sadness and anticipation. I would miss this city.

Sundial - Detail

I would miss its history and its splendor, but most of all I would miss my new colleagues and friends.

During those last two weeks, every time I said good-bye to someone, it was with the knowledge that I might never see them again.

Chinese Moondial

Even though my sadness was tempered with the anticipation of being home with my family and friends, it would be hard leaving.

Armilla Sphere Replica - Dragon Detail (facing right)

My only comfort was that the stars above would somehow guide us back together someday.

Armillary

Zaìjiàn. 在见。

A few days in Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong and Kowloon skylines from Victoria Peak at 428 meters above sea level.

By day.
Hong Kong by Day

By night.
Hong Kong by Night

Flowers along Mount Austin Road at 554 meters above sea level.
Mount Austin Road

At the Chi Lin Nunnery. The wooden buildings are constructed using an interlocking system without nails.
Chi Lin Nunnery 1

Peaceful ponds with floating water lilies calm the soul.
Chi Lin Nunnery 2
Chi Lin Nunnery 3

Near the monastery is the immaculately landscaped Nan Lian Garden.
Nan Lian Garden Pavilion of Absolute Perfection
Nan Lian Garden Pavilion Bridge

Despite a fear of heights, I took the Ngong Ping cable car to Lantau Island.
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car

The first of 240 steps.
Tian Tan Buddha 1

The Tian Tan Buddha on a lotus throne.
Tian Tan Buddha 2

Bodhisattvas making offerings.
The Offering of the Six Devas 1
The Offering of the Six Devas 2

The Wisdom Path is shaped in a figure eight representing infinity.
Wisdom Path

Burning incense at Po Lin Monastery at the base of the Buddha.
Po Lin Monastery Incense