The climb was arduous to say the least and multiple times lead to some very real flashbacks of hiking up Gavin Hill (shout out to all my Sitka, AK people!!) with its similarly e.n.d.l.e.s.s. amount of stairs. But thankfully, just like Gavin, the top of this hike lead to some amazing views of both the Cristo AND the rest of Cochabamba lying below. But I guess I'll let you be the judge of that!
Above is a picture of a *very small* section of the stairway leading up to Jesus. I took the picture looking down so you could see how steep the climb was! I'm thinking my legs will be telling me all about this hike in full detail tomorrow :)
And here we have a view from about 3/4 of the way to the top. Besides it being beautiful (thanks to my awesome camera and zero thanks to my picture taking abilities...), it's a great look at the Laguna Alalay or "Alalay Lake" located in the southeast area of Cochabamba. Two of the other Maryknoll Lay Missioners, Marc and Lexie, live very close to this lake.
This picture does a nice job showing how Cochabamba is a city located in the bottom of a "bowl-like" valley. You can just make out where the houses end and the mountains take over. However, with more and more population growth in Cochabamba, the sides of the mountains are becoming more and more populated.
And here's what you've all been waiting for... PICTURES OF THE CRISTO!!
I put up both pictures just so you could see how much my camera changes an image. The picture on the left is without any sort of special setting (notice just how big the statue is compared to me and my two friends doing "exercises"--ie showing off for a boy--on the left). Clearly the picture on the right is the one using the "magic" setting on my camera. It sure makes the statue stand out and highlights the clouds well!
Below are two more landscape pictures taken looking down from the backside of the statue. Again, notice the line of where the houses end going up the mountains in the top picture.
I took the picture below to show how there are still some rare farms located in what is now considered the middle of the city! Cochabamba has grown so quickly over the past 10ish years that many of the areas that were considered rural not too long ago have either been converted to roads and houses or completely surrounded by the urban sprawl.
So there you have it. I'm sure there will be more posts about El Cristo in the future since it's possible on other days to actually climb up into the massive statue! There are many small "peep" holes that dot the body of Jesus (please refer to the above Cristo pictures to note said holes...) which make for fun pictures and even higher, more vast views of the city lying below :)