The bus ride from Bogotá to Sogamoso was smooth even though we had to wait for quite a while for the "super directo" to leave. At the bus station of Sogamoso, the bus to Monguí left quite soon, which was surprising as there were only three passengers. Unfortunately, we did not take the direct road through the mountains, but the main road through the valleys. The last stretch of the drive offered us views of the mountain scenery in which Monguí lies. The red bus climbs to just under 3,000 metres and leaves us at the corner of the central square. For such a small village (around 3000 inhabitants) the square seems royal. At the far side: the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Monguí: again, a big structure compared to the size of this modest mountain village. Constructed at the very start of the 17th century, it is hard to imagine this square has changed much in the last 400 years.
Close to where the bus dropped us, in a corner of the square, we see a statue that puzzles us: a woman sewing a football. Monguí turns out to be the place where families have specialized in producing footballs, which are used in the Colombian as well as the Central-American league. Indeed, we will notice a lot of shops selling footballs in town, and even a football museum. In the middle of the square: a local band is playing music on a podium, with a small crowd watching. It gives the square a friendly feel, especially when the sun breaks through the clouds, lighting up the 17th century buildings standing around it. At the northeastern corner of the square, we spot a fountain surrounded by a late-medieval painted decoration. It is time to get moving and explore Monguí.
After a peek into the cloisters and the basilica, we walk the main street, passing the Capilla de San Antonio on our left. In this lively street, it becomes apparent that inhabitants of this little mountain village almost all dress up in ponchos, giving the street scene a local touch. The best are the women who, apart from their poncho, also wear a hat. Down the road, we see the Calicanto bridge, an old stone bridge that spans the Calicanto river. From here, we walk back the main street, cross the square, and then explore the northern part of Monguí which turns out to be quite different. The only people we see here are the locals, meticulously painting their white-and-green houses. We walk up the steep stone stairs, bringing us to a higher part of town. When we turn around, Monguí lies at our feet. Close by are the fields surrounding this colonial town. We descend to the central plaza again, where we catch the last rays of sunlight on the mighty Basilica before we catch the bus back to Sogamoso.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Monguí (Colombia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Monguí. Read more about this site.