I love Colombia
After the two days spent in Villa de Leyva we decided Colombia had been our favourite country so far in the trip and locals were glad to hear that. However, we had still a long way to go before crossing the border with Ecuador. Would the rest of the time in Colombia be as good?
That morning, after several rounds of hugs with Anders and his family, we took off for the Hacienda Napoles, Pablo Escobar’s house. We decided to reach it by taking the highway 60, as recommended by google, instead of going all the way back to Bogotà and double the way as suggested by Anders and his mate. For the first couple of hours we were in heaven. The road brought us up in the mountains in a scenery which reminded me of the most beautiful mixes between wild and farmed mountain lands you might encounter in the Alps, in England, in France. We were blown away by all of this unexpected triumph of nature we were passing through, and we nearly didn’t realise we had been riding on gravel for a few kilometres. Titine with her new tires was going well, even so heavy we were having a bit of fun, and Walter on his scrambler with Jose on his back was going equally fine and fast. But the road was getting worse and worse, some mud, sand, rocks, some small rivers to cross, up and down hill going from extreme heat to fresh breeze in altitude. The dirt road wasn’t coming to an end, and after a couple of hours we were nowhere close to half way. We accelerated, but the dust was affecting visibility and so our speed. We were very dirty, dusty, thirsty, sweaty. Eventually somewhere we found a private house selling some gasolina which gave us a bit of extra strength to continue until we found pavement again and in the dark we could arrive at destination. Exhausted.
That place was something insane. The heat was intolerable, you would start sweating a handful of seconds after a shower and soon we came to know the Hacienda was now a themed park, with an entry fee, so we screwed it and decided to head to Medellin, apparently a modern city worth a visit. Why would the reaches man in the world build his ranch in an infernal valley when he could choose the mountain with his favourite shape just a few kilometres from there? I guess some people just like heat.
On the way to Medellin I started feeling quite ill, but we made it to the “Piedra de el Peñol” this massive rock 500 meters high which looks like nothing around and seems to be put there by someone which wanted a good view for the lake in front of it. Something exceptional to look at at sun set. We got just in time before dark and Sophie with Jose walked the 740 steps to get at the top of the rock.
Medellin looked nice, big and modern indeed. But all we managed to do was to sit in this square and destroy bottles of beer. We enjoyed it 🙂
From there, we finally started to ride south, for Ecuador, and we will take 3 days to arrive at the border. Most of the way thankfully was a long mountain pass, hundreds of kilometres of road on top of hills and mountains. You ride on the top, so you have a panorama on your right hand side, and another completely different on your left. That ride created hundreds of mountain views like I had never admire before.
The last two highlights were Popayan, a colonial city all white which offered us a pretty hotel and one of the top dinners of the trip, and the “Las Lajas Sanctuary”, one gothic cathedral, which I had no knowledge of, built by a waterfall on top of a river between the walls of a canyon. Another impressive surprise!
Straight after it we were at the border. Time for an “arrivederci Colombia”, thanks for helping me to find again the spirit of adventure, the will to ride hours and discover, and leave behind the boring days in annoying central America. I am now ready to ride South and follow the dream of reaching Bolivia and Terra del Fuego!