COLOMBIA

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DAY 513-516 CARTAGENA REST DAYS

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Friday

Cartagena is a awesome colonial city. It is a UNESCO World heritage sight with a old city with a fortified wall and forts. Some of the streets are narrow and full of character with old colonial buildings. There is also a lot of street art which adds to the character.

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This morning I went out with one of the girls from the dorm room. Lucia from Argentina. We walked over the bridge to have a look at the old fort. We didn’t enter but instead we walked around the perimeter.. Afterwards we went back and jumped on the most outer wall of the old city’s fortifications before ending up at the beach.

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In the afternoon I cheeked into a newer and cheaper hostel. Most of the other people from the boat are staying here which is good. It was pretty hot again today. I finally ventured into the old city. I got on the old wall and did a complete lap.

 

Saturday

The hostel is full of young backpackers from The uk and Holland. We are on completely different schedules. When I’m going to bed they all just going out and don’t come back to 4am……………Soon after I am getting up. Nice having a/c in the room. Its on full 24/7 wake up freezing cold.

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At 10am I meet the other cyclists and went on a free city art tour around the local nabour hood. It was really interesting and we saw some great stuff.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and doing a bit of bike maintence.

Sunday

I went out to the supermarket to stock up for the ride out tomorrow. When I came out it was just starting to rain. Then it just opened up and I was stranded. I waited it out as long as I could before venturing out into it. All the streets were flooded and they were like rivers. Some of the water stunk, so I could only imagine. It wasn’t the nicest to walk through.

Noelle from Spain who I meet in the dorm room at the first hostel, on the first night in Cartagena came back today from the Beach. I meet her in the evening and we went for a walk in side the old city. We stopped at the homemade gourmet ice cream shop. I don’t know what I had. It was a exotic fruit flavour. Noelle had some fancy Chochalate flavour. We had to sit inside and eat it along with everyone else or it would instantly melt if you went outside becoue it was so hot.

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After walking for a while on the old wall and through the back streets The city was full of people,buskers and other street performers. we worked up a bit of a appatie and ended up going to what looked like a flash resturant, turned out to be very well priced and very nice. So good to be eatting something other then street food for a change.

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After dinner we walked some more and ended up on a roof top bar bar overlooking one of the busy squares. It gave us a nice view and it was nice and cool with a light brezze.

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After one Marheto we even busted some moves. Before we knew it. It was past my bed time At 1:30am on a sunday night, the streets were still fill of people. We went through the Plaza Trindadad and Turbago which was full of local people sitting out relaxing. 

Monday

I was surpose to leave this morning. But my unexpected late night had leed to another day & night in Cartagena. I will be cycling out alone tomorrow as I got a email from Anja & Radko who have now decided to take the bus to Medillin. I meet Noelle for breakfest and afterwards we were on a mission to go into the city Park to find a Sloth. The tour guide from the city tour said there was two in the park. We were looking for a while………yesterday we saw small monkeys and today we saw some red squerials and some large Gauanguas in the trees. We had just about given up looking for a Sloth when Noelle spotted one. It was awesome. He was so low down

and easy to see.

 

 

DAY 517 CARTAGENA – SAN JUAN

START 8:00 FINISH 17:00 (02/08/16)

DISTANCE 90KM RIDETIME 5H33

I’s good to be getting back on the road after only one real cycling day in the last two weeks. I was pretty pleased. It turned out to be a pretty good for the first day back.

It was 30 degrees at 7am so you can imagine what it was like for the rest of the day.

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About 6 weeks ago two cyclists were robbed cycling out of Cartagena on the toll road. I was advised to take another route or cycle with other cyclists. I am solo again after Laura & Sam took the bus to Medellin on Saturday and were then followed by Radko & Anja on Sunday. I chose to cycle out on the toll road. I was aware, but I had no fear and I passed with no problems. I had one guy cross the road and walk towards me caring a Machete. 50 % people carry machete as part of their lively hood. To day was an extremely tough day. I made good progress up until midday. Then I hit the wall and the km were slow to come. It was so bloody hot.

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I was over heating big time.On three ocasions I had to stop and have a lie down. I couldn’t eat. Managed a bowel of soup for a late lunch. People here are friendly. I had a guy buy me a sweat bread roll. Getting out of the city the prices have come down. Soup and a cold drink 70 cents.

Having rested again I cycled on the last 14km to San Juan.

First big town after Cartagena. First impressions. Main road through town was paved. Every other was dirt. The town was pretty run down and sprawled out.

I asked for the Bomberios and was directed to Polica…….who then directed in the right direction. Straight away the Bomberios were very welcoming. They found a room inside the station for me. I was able to have a much needed shower. I then discovered I had lost my flip-flops which had unfortunately fallen off the bike earlier in the day with out me knowing. Lucky the shower was pretty clean or I would have had to shower with socks on.

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Afterwards I didn’t feel like cooking and asked one of the bomberios where I could eat. He said he would show me and then on the way told me he was taking me to his Casa (house) for tridisanal Colombia food.

The house was full of people. I think there was more then one family living in the house. I meet his mum, wife and children and whole lot of others.

I must have been exhausted because I feel a sleep watching tv before dinner and they had to wake me up.

We had chicken, rice, salad and potatoes in a really nice sauce.

Even with it been so hot I feel asleep very easy. When I woke up in the morning the bomberios had put a fan in my room which help cool me down.

DAY 518 SAN JUAN – OVEJAS

START 7:10 FINISH 12:00 (03/08/16)

DISTANCE 57KM RIDETIME 3H45

Frankie the Bomberio who took me home for dinner cycled out with me back to the Highway. It was really nice cycling with lots of green rolling hills, with the occasional climb. By midday the heat was back and it was unbearable. I also pulled a muscle in my left thigh which was a bit sore, So when I reached Ovejas I thought I might call it a day.

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I asked for the Bomberios and was dirrected to Protection Civil. There was no one ther and it was all locked up. I asked in tye resturant next door and they said they would be back at 2pm. I waited and was told 3pm While I waited I had a steak meal for 10 000………funny she said it was 5000 and I gave her 10000 and got no change. Over lunch a guy joked about the women owner been a gurellia and cutting peoples therot.

 

 

She wasn’t to pleased with what he was saying and it was a little awerked for a secound. I got the distinct impression she had been a guerrila at some stage. I don’t really know to much about the Fac. There is a lot of well equiped police on the road and many cheek points. Saying that guns are not as visible here as they have been in so many of the other countries.

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They were very good to me in the resturant. They put up a hamock out side for me to sleep while I waited. I ended up spending 6 hours in the hamock. Passing the time from my hamock I played pass the football with the kids who had gathered round.

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At 5 oclock a guy came and said he would be back in a hour with a key to let me in. Two hours later another guy turned up and said it wasn’t possible to sleep inside. By this time it was dark. I asked about sleeping in the resturant and there was a bit of humming and haring……..they said yes. Somat b9pm when they closed they made some space for me out the back and even brought out a mattress for me. At 7pm they had even brought me out some dinner. Before bed I was offered some water for a wash. Led down a dark path to the grand stand of the local baseball field now over growen for a wash. I thought it was a bit funny.

Sleept so well this evening. The humidity has gone In fact I woke up cold.

DAY 519 OVEJAS- SAMPUES

START 06:10 FINISH 12:00 (04/08/16)

DISTANCE 62KM RIDE TIME 3H39

Wake up time was 5:45am when the restaurant reopened again. I stayed for a coffee before moving on. What a busy time of morning everyone was up and about. Children going to school and shops opening up. Lovely and cool time to cycle. Was overcast, still very pretty. In 40 km I passed through many small towns before reaching Sincelejo a large sparling town with a big Bomberios. They were easy enough to find. Turning up at 11:30am might have been a bit early for them as they denied me. But said try the next town just 14km down the road.

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Sampues has a population of 48000 again it just has one sealed road with the rest all been dirt. Everything is pretty basic. I asked for the Bomberios and a guy took me round to the house of the elcomadante. He wasn’t home so we then went to another bomberios house. He made some calls and then said it wouldn’t be a problem.

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I then followed him down a dirt road to station. It is unmanned. He showed me around and then gave me the keys to the station saying if I went out. Make sure I lock up.

I said I was going to go out and get some food. He said he would come back in half an hour and take me out. Instead he came back with a cooked lunch for me that his wife had made. The hospality in Colombia has ben outstanding so far. Another Bomberio came round and he has said he is going to come back at 4pm and take me out. I got my map out and the bomberios have marked down all the stations from here to Medellin for me. Looks like I’m only doing 40km tomorrow. They have given me a bed in the dormitory. Its great they have A/C……..Will sleep well tonight. I told Carlos that I was a Carpentro ( Carpenter) this town is big on furniture making. When he picked me up with two other bomberios. We went on a tour of all the furniture shops.

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Road to the Fire Station

I thought they were having a bit of a laugh as they were making me get out and have a photo to the bemusement of the shop owners. I got to see the rest of the town as well.

DAY 420 SAMPUES – SAHAGUN

START 6:30 FINISH 8:50 (05/08/16)

DISTANCE 36KM RIDETIME 1H56

A/C is good………I woke up freezing cold this morning. Was soon queued when I stepped back out into 30 degree heat and humity at 6am in the morning. 30 minutes later I was on the road. No mountains in sight……..loving this flat rolling countryside for now. I know the mountains are coming. I have developed another wobble in the back wheal………..as I say it always works itself out. As soon as I arrived it Sahaguan I asked for the Bomberios and for the second day in a row a local kindly guided me to the door. I just caught the fire engine as they were going out for a drive. I might have been pushing it because It was only 08:50am in the morning. I am glad that they were more then willing to ho. st me. I have put my tent up behind the fire engine. This station looks newly built and very modern. They even have WIFI.

After setting up my tent I went out for something to eat. I had steak, salad, rice and a coffee for only 5 000 ……that’s US$1.60. I am so glad I am out of the big citys. Things are just so cheep. I mentioned I needed to fix my wheal and when I got back to the station. One of the Bomberios who is a cyclist took a look at my bike for me. He has now kindly taken my wheal off to be fixed. 

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 Well that’s what I hoped. He came back with some rather bad news. Part of the hub is cracked and I will have to limp my way 420km to Medellin with a tempory fix. One nice thing about arriving at the Bomberios earlier I had more time to get to know them. We have ended up having good fun day.

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DAY 521 SAHAGON- NUEVA ESTAGON

START 6:30 FINISH 12:40 (06/08/16)

DISTANCE 92KM RIDE TIME 4H50

This morning I picked up the pace a little. By 11am I had done 70km. It had been a fun easy ride over the rolling hills despite the extreme heat. From 7am it was sweating. Became a no photo day. It was too hot to stop. I did stop in Nueva Estagon for lunch.

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After stopping I soon realised how hot I was. The next Bomberios were still 45km away. I asked about a hotel and Restaurant said there was a hotel economical out the back for 15000 or $5 a night. Basic but clean and the Wi-Fi from the restaurant reached, so perfect. Will rest up for another big day tomorrow. A recent trend I have seen developing is that when I have asked for drinking water it has come out of a large plastic rubbish bin. So far so good…………my policy is if the locals drink the water……….I’ll drink the water. I think my stomach is well in tune with the local water and food.

DAY 522 NUEVA ESTAGON – CALICASIA

START 7:45 FINISH 12:00 (07/08/16)

DISTANCE 50KM RIDE TIME 2H50

Its Sunday and I had a later start and a early finish. Surprisingly a lot of trucks on the road. It didn’t bother me. The shoulder was wide and new seal most of the way.

Funny thing last night I went up to my room and New Zealand were playing Colombia in the women’s football at the Olympics. Good result for us 1-0.

I narrowly missed out getting a drenching this morning. It got very dark and I could see the lighting coming straight down in the distance. I cycled straight into it. I had lighting coming down either side of me………..and as soon as I got a few drops I pulled off to seck shelter underneath the veranda of a shop. Very shortly after it bucked down. I waited it out till the sky’s lightened before continuing. The roads dried very quickly and humidity returned. Arriving in Calicasia I got the impression it was a rather large town. Searching for the Bomberios I found myself 6km outside town. It was a newish looking station.

I started walking the 6km in to town and a local soon gave us a lift on his bike. We went the back roads on dirty muddy roads. The centre turned out to be a whole lot of nothing. First imressions a real shit hole. Loads of bars with pool tables. To be fair some modern buildings. I didn’t hang around long. The catherdal was intresting. New costruction incorparating one old wall of the old Catherdal. On this side of the church was a pond with a fountian and a row of hanging plants.

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Later on I thought it maybe not the best staying with the bomberios. Unfortunetly there has been little interaction. There is no security, the site is unfenced and the locals come wondering through. I feel like I am wild camping.

DAY 523 CALICASIA – TARAZA

START 6:20 FINISH 13:00 (08/08/16)

DISTANCE 67KM RIDE TIME 3H44

The Bomberios did the dirty on me I got up in the morning and the tolits were locked. I’m sure it wasn’t ineninal……..just the norm. I packed up had some breakfast and snuck off as no one was around. Got a hours cycling in before a few drops of rain appeared. It was extremely dark and I quickly looked for shelter. I cycled up to the gate of a house and call out to the owners. I young couple came out and I asked if I could please shelter on there porch. They opened the gate and I made it just in time before some really torrential rain. I had to sit it out for a hour before the sky’s lightened up. The couple kindly gave me a cup of coffee while I waited.

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Most of today has been cycling close to the mighty Rio Cauca river. Very picturess. But a photo would never do it justice. I crossed over the cauca to visit Caceres. A small quant town that never sees any tourists. Had a nice town square and the usually church.

Taraza just a few more km down the road was a different story. A large grubby city with charm. I cycled a short way out and found a cheep hotel for the night.

Having a nap I was awakened by a parade passing by. Think they were celebrating Day of the family.

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DAY524 TARAZA – VALDIVIA

START 08:00 FINISH 16:00 (09/08/16)

DISTANCE 62KM RIDE TIME 5H22

It was a later start this morning due to a rain delay. I didn’t get up straight away because I could here the thunder and here it bucketing down. When I did get up at 6:30 am it was still raining and when I looked out. It was very misty, damp and not looking very promising. I thought I was going to get a day in bed. Surprisingly it quickly cleared up and just after 8am I was on my way. I started the day with a nice gradual 40km climb beside the river. It was really beautiful. Quite populated with very basic housing scattered along the route. With the abundance of water coming off the mountian, everyone had a truck wash. To my surprise I passed through two decent size towns.

 

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After the the secound town I crossed the river and began to climb. It was much steeper and after 22km I had gained over 1000 meters and was relived to have reached Valdiva. It had been a super hot afternoon, as I got higher the humidity disappeared. I had had to stop off for a midday sleep.

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On the way into town I stopped at the first restaurant/Guess house. I have got a very cheep basic room for 15000 with WiFi and for another 8000 I got a steak dinner with soup and a drink. They were really nice. I stayed in the restaurant to use the wifi and they brought me cups of coffee for free. We had a thunder storm……they have become the norm. Divina is on a ridge and you get a great view looking out over the mountains.

DAY 525 VALDIVIA – YARUMAL

START 7:45 FINISH 15:10 (10/08/16)

DISTANCE 35KM RIDETIME 5H07

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Before leaving I went into the centre of Divina. It is a small mountain town with a very clean main street and plaza. From the plaza you get a great view of the surrounding mountains. The church had a very nice Dome. Soon as I left town it was another day of climbing up a windy. Windy road. It took 3 hours to go 16km to Ventaras. It was very scenic on the way up. Lots of waterfalls, lots of cows. Lots of small farms. Cows were getting milked by hand. Horses were transporting the milk.

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It must be semi commercial business because I saw quite a few stainless steal vats for the milk. Think they might then turn it in to Cheese. At lunch it was actually a bit cold. We were in he cloud.

After lunch I climbed for another 20km. The kids here luv riding down the hills on there bikes. Then they grab on to the back of a truck and get pulled back up the hill. Yesterday I had a guy stretch out his arm wanting be to join as he passed. I declined.

I got to 2500 meters this afternoon before dropping down to 2441 meters. It is going to be cold tonight. No fan in the room tonight, but there is hot water for a change.

The Colombia army are out in force. There are patrols out all over the place and lots of random cheek points. But they are very friendly to me. I always stop and chat to them.

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DAY 526 YARUMAL – SANTA ROSA

START 7:15 FINISH 14:15 (11/08/16)

DISTANCE 54KM RIDE TIME 4H46

Before cycling on this morning I called in to Yarumal to have a look around. It is a fairly large town built on the side of the mountian. It had a nice church. With a school attacch to it. Both looked as if they dated back to the 1800’s. The Plaza in front of the church wasn’t very flat. It had some intresting sculptures.

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For breakfest I brought half a dozzen fresh donuts for 200 each or 8 cents each. I was hoping I would start going down instead I was climbing again on a very windy road. But again very pretty. I am finding in a little hard cycling at altatude.You just can’t try and do anything to quick.

There is so many little milk and chease factories along the way. I noticed a lot of people leave 3 or 4 milk churns out the front of there house on the side of the road and a mini milk tanker comes along and collects the milk.

Having arrived above Santa Rosa I could see the town perched nicely on top of a hill. I had a nice 7km decent before a short steep climb to the centre. Good news there was Bomberios close by. So I paied them a visit and soon had my tent set up out the back. When I came through town. I noticed there wa something going on. So I was keen to go and cheek it out. I soon discover Santa Rosa was havig a festival. There was a stage and lots of stalls around the plaza. I returned to the Bomberios after dark, I felt perfectly safe walking the streets.

DAY 527 SANTA ROSA- SAN ANTONIO

START 06:15 FINISH 18:00 (12/08/16)

DISTANCE 99KM RIDE TIME 7H01

I left early this morning becouse I wanted to make sure I would make it to San Antonio. Finnaly I started gradualy going down. Eventual I came out on top overlooking a huge valley. It was a super, surperb view of the mountians and a town in the valley below. After admiring the view it was then 15km of down down to the valley below.

DAY 526 YARUMAL – SANTA ROSA

START 7:15 FINISH 14:15 (11/08/16)

DISTANCE 54KM RIDE TIME 4H46

Before cycling on this morning I called in to Yarumal to have a look around. It is a fairly large town built on the side of the mountian. It had a nice church. With a school attacch to it. Both looked as if they dated back to the 1800’s. The Plaza in front of the church wasn’t very flat. It had some intresting sculptures. For breakfest I brought half a dozzen fresh donuts for 200 each or 8 cents each. I was hoping I would start going down instead I was climbing again on a very windy road. But again very pretty. I am finding in a little hard cycling at altatude.You just can’t try and do anything to quick.

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There is so many little milk and chease factories along the way. I noticed a lot of people leave 3 or 4 milk churns out the front of there house on the side of the road and a mini milk tanker comes along and collects the milk.

Having arrived above Santa Rosa I could see the town perched nicely on top of a hill. I had a nice 7km decent before a short steep climb to the centre. Good news there was Bomberios close by. So I paied them a visit and soon had my tent set up out the back. When I came through town. I noticed there wa something going on. So I was keen to go and cheek it out. I soon discover Santa Rosa was havig a festival. There was a stage and lots of stalls around the plaza. I returned to the Bomberios after dark, I felt perfectly safe walking the streets.

DAY 527 SANTA ROSA- SAN ANTONIO

START 06:15 FINISH 18:00 (12/08/16)

DISTANCE 99KM RIDE TIME 7H01

I left early this morning becouse I wanted to make sure I would make it to San Antonio. Finnaly I started gradualy going down. Eventual I came out on top overlooking a huge valley. It was a super, surperb view of the mountians and a town in the valley below.

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After admiring the view it was then 15km of down down to the valley below. My hands ached from been on the brakes the whole time as I was stuck behind traffic.

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Once I hit the valley flour on was on the Autopista for Medellin. They had built a cycle lane. So I jumped on that. I later regretted it becouse when he cycle lane crossed side road, there was a drop off. After doing this I noticed My back tyre was going down. I pumped it up and continued. Less then 5km down the road it was going flat agan so I stopped and changed it before continuing on the road, dispite been sholder. For the next few hours and 17km I had to contend with a lot of traffic as I crossed the city. It didn’t help that it was so hot. Looking for something cold I brought half a litter of icecream from a mobile street vendor. It was only 60 cents.

 

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Having spent most of the day going down I turned off the high way and started a climb up to San Antonio through small mountian towns on a narrow road. The reason I have headed up here is becouse there is the Casa de Cyclisa. A house for cyclists to stay, hang out, relax and inreturn do a little work. Maneual and Marta have a bike shop and have been hosting cyclists for 6 years. I am there 714th guest.

The house is 3km from town on a quite country road in a small valley and is very green and beautiful. Below you can here the sound of the river. When I arrived there were two other people. Kathy from Boliva and who is cycling to Mexico and John from Colombia and who is planning to cycle to Brazil. Its a cool little house.

 

 

My hands ached from been on the brakes the whole time as I was stuck behind traffic. Once I hit the valley flour on was on the Autopista for Medellin. They had built a cycle lane. So I jumped on that. I later regretted it becouse when he cycle lane crossed side road, there was a drop off. After doing this I noticed My back tyre was going down. I pumped it up and continued. Less then 5km down the road it was going flat agan so I stopped and changed it before continuing on the road, dispite been sholder. For the next few hours and 17km I had to contend with a lot of traffic as I crossed the city. It didn’t help that it was so hot. Looking for something cold I brought half a litter of icecream from a mobile street vendor. It was only 60 cents.

Having spent most of the day going down I turned off the high way and started a climb up to San Antonio through small mountian towns on a narrow road. The reason I have headed up here is becouse there is the Casa de Cyclisa. A house for cyclists to stay, hang out, relax and inreturn do a little work. Maneual and Marta have a bike shop and have been hosting cyclists for 6 years. I am there 714th guest.

The house is 3km from town on a quite country road in a small valley and is very green and beautiful. Below you can here the sound of the river. When I arrived there were two other people. Kathy from Boliva and who is cycling to Mexico and John from Colombia and who is planning to cycle to Brazil. Its a cool little house.

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DAY 528 – 532 SAN ANTIONO REST DAYS

SATURDAY

In the afternoon Kathy and I walked the 3.5km back into San Antonio so I could drop my bike off at the bike shop for a major overhaul before I head any further South. We also went to the supermarket and Bakery. We didn’t fancy walking back so we got the colativo (shared Taxi) for 1700 each. We then had to get ready to head straight back to San Antonio. From here we took a bus back down the Valley to Itagui which is having a town festival for the whole weekend. Been a Saturday night and the festival. The town was busy. We first got some food and went into a pub to watch the football. Colombia were playing Brazil in the Olympic quarter final. Unfortunately they lost 2-0.

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Afterwards we walked down to the Park princapial for a free concert. When we got there there must have been 40 000 people. They had screens set up for those who were to far away from the stage. We slowly moved as close to the stage as possible. It took a while. They must have had some very popular Colombian artsts. Ecause the croward worked them selves up into a frenzy when some old guy came on. Everyone was singing along. It was good. Not so good was with so many people. Pickpockets were having a field day. I left my wallet at home and only brought a small amount of cash and my Camerra. As we were walking through the croward I felt someone put there hand in my pocket. They had two grabs and before I could react they were gone. Also gone was my New Zealand wollen hat. It could have been worse becouse my cammera was under the hat and luckly enough they didn’t get it. I had a look around hoping they might have dropped my hat. With no luck.

It wasn’t till 3am that we started to head home. We couldn’t find the bus. The police kindly stopped a bus for us and made the driver let us on. After a walk back from San Antiono to the house it was 4:30am when we finnaly got in the door.

SUNDAY

The festival continues today and is called lazy Sunday. It wasn’t very lazy. In the morning I helped out around the Casa Ciclista by moving a few rocks.

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Late afternoon Kathy and I got the bus back to Itagui. We went to a different part of town where they had closed off all the streets to traffic and everyone was been lazy. People are encouraged to bring beds and mattress and set them selves up for the day.

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There was also a parade of Matching bands and performers. Lots of street food and lots of people trying to make money with betting games.

At one end of town a smaller stage then last night was set up and some old Rock and rollers were playing.

Like last night time just flew and after we had planned just a few hours at the festival we made it back just after 10am.

 

MONDAY

Monday was a no drinking, stay at home day. The Casa de Ciclista is getting some visitors tomorrow from the tourist office. So through out the day we helped with some gardening and cleaning inside.

TUESDAY

We were just making breakfast when a rather large group of about 15 people arrived to see the Casa del Ciclista. After a look around they were then going on a walking tour of the area. So I quickly got ready and joined them. They headed up into the hills. We stopped along the way to visit and see things.

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First stop was a nursery where they were growing Bonsais. Further up we came across a Charcoal making operation. Where they get all the wood set fire to it and they burry it so it smoulders away for a day.

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This guy was looking for Silver

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We eventualy got to a high spot which gave us a nice view overlooking San Antiono and back down the valley.

 

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Afterwards we returned the same way back to the Casa Ciclista. Then a small group of us went for a walk to the nearby watering hole. It was a popular spot. Sadly the place was covered in rubbish. We went as far as dipping our feet.

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WEDNESDAY

I waited all day before heading into San Antonio to pick up my bike from the bike shop. I got the shock of my life when I saw the invoice 910000. Thats about $300. I couldn’t believe it becouse I had surplyed most of the parts. I thought it was going to be about $150.00. I had a lot done.Bike cleaned, New Cassate, Chain rings and chain. Brakes adjusted and new cables. Wheales trued. Wheal bearing cleaned. Rusty bolts replaced. After paying with the card. The the printed recipt came out blank. So for the next two days I was cheeking my account to see the damage. I got a nice surprise when I found only $32 had been debited from my account. It wasn’t 910000 but 91000 Paso. So my bike overhawl has gone from very expensive to very cheep. Riding it home. It was so nice, everything worked so well. Im looking forward to getting back on the road,

THURSDAY

This morning I went with Cathy to one of the local schools to talk with the kids. Cathy was a teacher back in Boliva and she has been helping out this week.

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I talked to the kids about where I was from and about my trip. They asked me questions about New Zealand. I did a Haka for them, which they loved and then they did a Colombian dance. Afterwards we did some activites with the kids. The string game and a picture drawing game. The morning went quick. We were invited to have some lunch at the school..

We ran out of gas in the Cyclists house, So I went down to the store to see how much it was going to cost to exchange a bottle. After talking with Manual he said he would oranise it. So when the gas bottle turned up we didn’t think anything of it till we realised the guy had been sent by the shop.They had just gone ahead and orded it. Manwual must have give the shop a ticking off becouse now they won’t talk to Kathy or I. Colombians give you the silent treatment when they are not happy.

FRIDAY

We were going to visit another school way up in the mountians and only has 10 pupils. When it came to getting the shared taxi there wasn’t enough room.So I gave up my place for one of the teachers. So I decided I would go into Medellin for the day. So after one taxi, one bus and then the very modern metro.

Medellin is a city of over 2 million people. So its quite big in size.

I got off at the paque Berrio Metro stop and started by visiting the ssulpture park around the Culture palace and museum of Antioquia.

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There must have been about 20 intresting large bronze sculptures.

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Afterwards it was free to visit the culture palace which housed a number of exabitions and from the top flour you got a panaramic view over the city.

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Later I did a bit of a walking tour of the city along the padestrian street visiting a few churches and the old Railway station. Next to that was the square of lights. That might have been better to visit at night.

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Saturday

I have made the decission I am not going any further until I secure two new hubs.

If something goes wrong in Ecuador or Bolivia I would be stuffed. I looked at getting the parts shipped to Ecuador and got a shock to discover they won’t ship to Ecuador. So I then looked at getting the parts sent ahead of me to some where else in Colombia. That was proving difficult. So I am now getting them sent DHL Express here and will wait out the 5-10 days. Have been tracking my parcel the past 24 hours from Ireland to Germany to Spain. I hope its next steep is a direct flight to Colombia.

It’s a shame because I have been here 10 day’s already. If only I had order it straight away. I would now be on the move.

Sunday

This Morning Kathy invited me to go with her to visit Reo Negro a town about 50km away which is reportly haunted. We had to walk, catch a bus, catch the metro and then another bus. In all it took us nearly 3 hours to climb back into the mountains to get to Reo Negro.

Kathy had a friend Victor come and meet us at the bus station. Victor is a Engineer and lives close by in Marinilla. We had a quick tour of Reo Negro. Nothing flash and then Victor took us to the Haunted town. Thought something was odd when we had to pay 50 cents to bet turned out the Haunted town was inside a amassment park. We spent the rest of the day. Walking around and still didn’t see all of it. It was a huge site. Great for kids. Train rides. Boat rides, Chair lifts across the lake, farm animals.

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And a reconstructed historical town with Cemetery. In the town square they put on a thartere show. It was dark when we left. Victor got his parents to pick us up and they kindly took us to his uncles fast food restaurant for dinner. Afterwards they took us back to there house in Marinilla. Victor took us for tour of the town. The town was busy for a Sunday night with lots of bars in full swing and the town square was also full of people. After stopping for coffee. Two cups of coffee and a orange juice was a $1. It was nearly 9pm and getting a bit late. There was a chance we wouldn’t make the Metro or the following bus in time. So Victor said we could stay at his place. Which made things easier.

Monday

After breakfast we went for another walk around Marinilla. It was a lot quitter on a Monday morning. We went to the library and culture Museum for a look. They have been gifted a collection of what is reported to be the largest collection of crosses in the world. There were more then 2700 crosses ranging in size.

 

Kathy is on a budget of $3 a day and wanted to save some money by hitching back to Medellin. After trying a few spots and about a hour. We got a lift with Carlos who was caring a load of brand new cars. We ended up spending the rest of the day with him as we delivered cars along the way. It was a fun trip back to the city. Carlos didn’t speak any English and gave me the nick name Mr Brown.

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He had us helping him set the ramps up and taking off the straps. It was nerve racking watching him reverse the cars off with so little room for error.

Carlos was able to drop us close to Iugui and we only had a short walk to the Bus for San Antonio.

Thursday

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Cycling  house

With a little bit of down time I decided to go to the Dentist today for a cheek up and clean. It ended up costing 80000 Pasos or roughly US$17.00. I have to go back tomorrow for a 50000 Paso filling tomorrow. So not to badly priced. After the Dentist I got a hair cut for 8000 Paso, less then $3. After only 3 ½ days my spare parts for the bicycle have arrived safely from the Uk. It is a full house at the Casa de Cyclista tonight. Yesterday Rafell from Mexico Arrived. I had previously meet him in Granada Nicaragua. Two cyclist from the United States arrived today.

 

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