Last night in Colombia.

10km from the border with Ecuador we turned off the Panamerican highway to find a place to camp. We climbed slowly and steeply up a dirt road. I pushed for some of it as I was exhausted after having climbed nearly 2000m already that day. We asked some locals for permission to camp by the basketball court of a school. Five kids followed us down to the grassy stop and watched us put up our tent. They edged closer and closer and followed our every move with interest.

Finally I broke the silence and asked them a question. We ended up talking with them all for over an hour. They were all so very curious and asked many, many questions. What sports do you like? Whats your mum called? Where did you meet? Sometimes they would giggle or scream with laughter when our response, or our Spanish, amused them. They became more and more confident with us and eventually they were all huddled around the door of our tent in a tight circle, while Stefan and I sat inside. We told them about Europe, the Alps, Aeroplanes, snow and skiing. My favourite moment was when Stefan showed them a photo on his phone of him skiing down a mountain in the Alps. They all leaned in to get a closer look, eyes wide, they all gasped in amazement. Some of their parents came to say hello too. When they discovered where we were from, England and Germany, they were very surprised and said it was an honor to have us camp in their village. Foreigners never normally came this way. Some of the boys had bikes and they were very excited when Stefan let them try his bike. They said they loved going down hill fast and never used their breaks. They also asked funny questions and then it was our turn to laugh. One little girl, laughing her head off, said, are you millionaires? No, I exclaimed, look at us, we are sleeping in a tent!! She looked confused but then laughed again. One boy asked if we had cycled here from Germany, I said no, remember there is an ocean in between. Oh yes, he thought to himself, but everybody else was already laughing again.

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All the kids ran off for dinner and then floodlights on the basketball court came on. 20 young men turned up to play football just as it was getting dark. They all politely greeted us and then played an aggressive and loud game of football until 10pm while we were trying to sleep in our tent. But then, it was beautifully peaceful for the rest of the evening and at 7am the next morning we quietly slide off before the kids could come back and interrogate us some more before school. We continued on the back roads until the little town of Potosi where we had breakfast. I said to the woman, eggs and rice is good, NO meat. She looked very confused and when our breakfast plates arrived there was the eggs, there was the rice and on the side, a massive wedge of fried chicken on the bone. Oh well, i thought, the Colombians really really do love their meat.

The trail continued and the last site to see for us in Colombia was the famous Las Lajas Cathedral. A beautiful and delicate, white and grey building constructed on a bridge over a canyon. There is a good reason for this rather unusual location. Many years ago, in the same location, there was a wooden bridge. A woman and her deaf, blind child were crossing this wooden bridge. When they reached the other side, the child could see and hear! Now people come from all over the place to pay homage to the virgen of Las Lajas. The walls of the canyon, surrounding the cathedral are decorated with many tiles, with many messages, thanking the virgen of Las Lajas for all she has done for them. We pushed our bikes over the bridge and carried them up the steps and towards the road. 2 separate men stopped me and said, Where are you going on your bike? Where have you been on your bike? When they heard the response they were absolutely amazed. The second man even took my photo!

We spent our last Pesos in the drab border town of Ipiales, and then free wheeled down hill towards the border with Ecuador. Colombia was finished. What an amazing country, we had always felt safe, happy and very, very welcome.

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The Trampoline of Death.

The road to Mocoa passed through wild and bleak land, following jungle ridges and fast muddy rivers. I saw views and scenes I never even imagined could exist. Houses perched on cliffs, overflowing jungle, a never ending web of green as far as the eye could see. These scenes were simply breath taking for me but completely normal for those who live in these very isolated spots of Colombia, so far from the modern metropolis of Bogota or Cartagena.

From San Agustin the road climbed steeply to 2200m where we stopped for a break and chatted to the army guys manning a checkpoint. There was then a long descent to Mocoa. We asked at a house if there was a good place to camp nearby and we were given permission to camp on the terrace of their cabin just round the corner. Sitting above the main road and looking out over palm trees, this was the ideal place for our jungle camp. We set up the tent on the terrace to escape the bugs, tying the pegs to the wooden floor boards, and ate cake, surrounded by the buzzing, humming jungle.

It was a quick ride down to Mocoa the next morning and we were there by 10 o’clock. It was a busy little jungle town on the edge of the Amazon, full of smelly traffic, scruffy shops and Salchipapa. This was our new Colombian food obsession. For just 30p you would get a small plastic bowl of fried potato and sausage- perfect for the hungry cyclist. We had trouble finding good food shops and went round and round in circles, trying to buy our provisions for the next section of our journey onto Sibundoy. We ended up with 6 apples, 6 bananas, bread, biscuits and jam. Two sweaty hours later we were glad to be leaving for the peace of the country road.

From Mocoa the route got really tough. We would have to climb 1400metres then descend 400metres and then climb another 1000!! And this would all be on rocky dirt roads. That afternoon we got about halfway up the first climb before camping on the only flat patch of ground for miles around. The road curled around in impossibly tight hairpin bends, to climb up and over the steep mountain sides. I slept very well on our road side patch of grass, but we had a long way to go the next day to Sibundoy. We left at 7am to climb through the mist and pass yet more army check points. On the top, at 2200m, we found a cafe and had a rather unexpected but delicious breakfast of fried potatoes, rice and egg.

On the other side of the pass only jungle covered mountains were visible. The road carefully looped around the contours of these mountains on its descent, dangerously cutting into the rock. Below the road lay huge abysses, while above, bulging moist cliffs of vegetation. This was landslide terrain. I pedalled hurriedly through many of the most precarious looking sections, hoping that the land would not fall away beneath my wheels. But in reality, the ‘wet’ season had actually been quite ‘dry’, and trucks/buses/lorries zoomed along this road every day so I thought I’d actually be OK. We descended to a river, after circling many mountains, a constant and never changing blanket of messy jungle surrounding us on all sides. We crossed many small streams as the trail repeated the punishing rhythm of ascend/descend. But then the second climb to the 2700m pass seriously began. I dragged my tired body up, taking breaks every 100metres of altitude gained for motivation.

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I arrived at the top in mist and caught a glimpse of the Sibundoy valley gleaming bright green, far below.

Sibundoy was very friendly – every second person asked where we were from – and also very cheap. The salchipapa in the main square was half the price than in Mocoa, I had 4 portions straight away and followed this up later with a pizza and 6 scoops of ice cream. A local man asked me, but why are you travelling like this? He continued with… It is very tiring (and hard) ! Why don’t you just use a motorbike?

While packing up the bike the following morning i got into a conversation with a passerby about religion. He asked, do you believe in god? The cross? Christ? The virgen? And the list went on and on. I said no to everything which led him to ask, well what do you believe in? Being kind and having respect for others. He agreed that this was a good idea, wished me well and left.

Two wet and soggy 3000m passes later, we are now very happy to be in Pasto, only 80km from the border with Ecuador. I feel sad to be leaving Colombia. I will miss the unrelenting and friendly curiosity of the Colombians, whenever we arrived in a new village people would talk to us straight away, asking all types of questions. I will miss the food, the natural juices with milk and sugar with flavours like blackberry, Guanabana or Lulo. The typical Colombian breakfast of Arepas (corn cakes) and eggs. Its safe to say that here I have eaten more eggs here then in my entire life. But of course we are also excited for Ecuador and something new, and who knows? Maybe it will be better then Colombia!

Purace and San Agustin

As if cycling across Colombia wasn’t enough of a challenge, we decided to take the very long way round to our next destination of San Agustin, by heading to Purace National Park to climb a 4000m volcano…we had to go for it. How many times in your life will you get the chance to climb a volcano in Colombia?

We jumped on a bus in the small town of La Plata to ascend 2000metres up the valley to the national park. The bus rattled over potholes and along side steep cliffs, through pretty country side and quiet villages. Passengers got on and off the bus carrying stacks and buckets. A group of giggling school girls carrying a white rabbit laughed when they saw us. We took a break from the journey in the cold and windy village of Santa Lucia where all the passengers got off the bus to eat arepa de harina (deep fried flour cakes) in some roadside hut.
As we neared the top of the climb the bus started having problems with its suspension. Every 20 minutes or so the driver and his assistant got out to bang the back axis of the bus. This, along with the terrible quality of the road, meant the journey took along time. The man in the bus station originally said 2 hours and we had already been driving for 4! But then the scenery changed as we entered the national park. We passed by thermal lakes and wild moorland before finally arriving at the top. From here the bus would descend down to the main city of Popayan while we would continue 2km on the bikes in the darkness to arrive at the rangers station where we would camp the night.

We received a warm welcome and the rangers told us all about the animals and geography inside the park. There were Andean bears and Tapirs and four of Colombia’s main rivers had their source in the park, including the Rio Magdalena which we had followed back in Mompos.

We rose at 5am the next day to climb up to the Volcano Purace. The trail started behind the rangers at 3500m and climbed to 4600m at the edge of the crater. We climbed slowly to begin with to adjust to the altitude, through farmland and over gates and streams. The trail then followed a muddy ridge into clouds at about 4000m. The rest of the hike was over bare scree slopes, through cloud and strong winds, to the top. At the crater edge, the ground steeply dropped away into the mist. I was careful not to go too close in such strong winds. It was the highest mountain I had ever climbed and luckily the altitude did not effect us too much.

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By the time we arrived back at the rangers station it was raining and we were slow in packing up the bikes. The rangers watched with interest as we fiddled with the bikes, asking many questions about the bikes and the mountains of Europe. It makes me laugh when they ask if there are any volcanos in England.

We descended to the indigenous village of Coconuco, alongside the river Cauca, deep in the valley below. The next day we crossed the National park again. The rangers had described this section of the park as “Solido”, and now I knew why. On both sides of the narrow dirt road, there was only dense jungle. Vines, leaves, trees, moss, creepers filled the land completely. It was so thick you couldn’t have walked one metre without getting stuck. The ranger had told us, only cross this section during the day, as in the past there had been problems with armed robberies and now there was an army check point at the southern entrance.

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It was a relief to see civilization again on the other side after many kilometers of winding jungle road. We descended quickly to the very friendly village of Isnos, 1600metres down the mountain. We ate 10 of the most delicious empanadas of Colombia and I chatted to the local ice cream man about the forthcoming presidential elections. He explained how if none of the 5 candidates get more then 50percent of the vote, there would be a second round with the 2 most popular. We liked his clunking, clicking machine that was loudly churning out ice cream. And we bought some for 25p per cone.

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After camping that night on a lumpy football pitch by the river, we were in San Agustin by 7am the next morning for breakfast. We discovered a cafe with yet more delicious empanadas and we had another 5 each. That day would be a rest day in San Agustin but, unbelievably, on our rest day we decided to cycle even more. Leaving our luggage at the hotel we headed off to explore the archaeological ruins dotted around the surrounding country side. We visited Chaquira, pre Colombian statues overlooking the river canyon of the Rio Magdalena. We then descended to the river to see the Estrecho del Rio Magdalena. This is where the river squeezes between a narrow rocky passageway in roaring rapids.

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It was a beautiful spot and a refreshing day off. We were now ready for the tough jungle road to Mocoa!

Deserts and Volcanoes

A few days after leaving Bogota, we found ourselves in the bustling provincial capital of Ibague, at the foot of the Los Nevados national park. The name of the park comes from the snow covered chain of volcanos that all sit above 5000m. Our plan was to cycle and then hike 1200m up to the thermal hot springs at El Rancho which lay at the edge of the park. Along this route we would have excellent views up the valley of the Volcano Nevado del Tolima at 5215m.

The night before this excursion we met Omar in a camera shop in Ibague. He was a keen cyclist and decided to come along for the following days cycle. He had worked as a commentor for Colombian radio on the vuelta de españa and the Giro de italia bike races. He told me about all his cycling adventures around Europe as we ascended on our bikes the following day.

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We left Omar at the small village of Las Juntas from where the road climbed steeply on dirt to El Silencio, at about 2500m. To our left there was a deep rocky canyon and all around us, steep, jungle covered hills. We meet a farmer at El Silencio who gave us Agua de Panela and queso. This was hot sugar cane juice, with lumps of cheese floating about in it. The farmer stored our bikes for us and we set of through the jungle towards the hot springs. El Rancho was a simple hut at the head of the valley, surrounded by vertical jungle. It was an isolated but tranquil spot. We set up the tent and then went to bath in the hot springs. The next day we followed the trail up to 3000m where we found a beautiful waterfall hidden between the jungle vegetation.

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After our volcano adventure at 3000m it was time to head to the desert in Tatacoa at a mere 400m…we moved fast over the next two days with such a massive descent. On our way to the main road we ate the typically Colombian breakfast of eggs and arepas (corn cakes) in San Luis, while we guzzled down yet more of Colombias amazing fruit smoothies in Saldana. Our favourite flavour are lulo, mora and guanabana. In Pueblo Nuevo we meet Juan from Spain. He had cycled there all the way from Ushuaia, our finally destination all the way down in Patagonia. It was nice to know it was possible!

With the thick jungle of the mountains long gone, we were now in the empty and vast valley between the western and eastern Cordillera of Colombia. This ensured the desert there stayed dry, any rain that came would disperse in either of these mountain ranges. We explored the red rippling hills and the narrow passageways of the Cusco valley, walking over and between the strange formations of the land.
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We then cycled towards El Penol de Constantino along a winding dirt trail through the open desert. There were only rough shrubs until the horizon, many miles away, where those jungle clad mountains criss crossed the land once again. El Penol de Constantino was a bar, restaurant and camping area with a natural fountain of water in the middle of the desert that had been made into a very pleasant swimming pool – in the shape of a guitar, the owner
informed me! The day ended star gazing outside our tent in the middle of the desert night. From volcanos to the desert, from the jungle to the valleys, Colombia’s landscape was always changing, always spectacular.

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Bogota: Carerra Seven.

The main road heading into Bogota from the north was full of trucks and traffic, with absolutely no room for cyclists. We escaped down a muddy track to a quieter side road where we found an old woman frying up potatoes and corn in a hut on the roadside. After lunch we headed further into the city. At first the houses were dirty, old and rough, covering the hillside to our left. Buses were flying everywhere, making unexpected stops and startling manoeuvres. Soon there was a mad rush of traffic, beggars, round abouts, street vendors and businessmen. On a busy round about with 5 lanes in 6 directions we took a break and I bought a hand full of sweets from a man with a wooden cart.

Some 20km later, through the urban maze of northern Bogota, we arrived at Plaza Bolivar and it felt great to be in our first south american capital city. At our hotel, we were given a map of the city. The woman told us we could walk as far as calle 7 and definitely not past carrera 6. There were some places, she said rather ominously, tourists should not go. She reassured us that there were no urban guerillas about or kidnappings going on, but plenty of thieves. She then added, well actually sometimes they do kidnap tourists. Rather alarmed by this, and looking over our shoulder a few times, we headed out to explore the city.

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On Saturday morning we visited the excellent Gold museum and the Botero art gallery. While in  the afternoon we took a stroll down carrera 7 in the centre of the city. The street was closed to traffic but full of life, street vendors, artists and performers. An old man in a white suit danced salsa while his friend sang into a microphone. Wooden carts were piled high with grapes, mangos, coconuts or melons. Many random items were on sale like staplers, knee braces, plastic world cups, potted plants, banana crisps  and lines of colorful watches. A man stood on a street corner with mobile phones for hire, 100 pesos per minute. The phones were attached to his jacket with chains. People were taking bets on guinea pig races, A man was walking on glass, another man danced like Michel Jackson. There were hip hop dancers, guitars, a man balancing his bike on his chin in front of the traffic lights while a woman juggled knives. There was pasta and squid for 1 pound or waffles and blackberry jam for 75pence. Families, couples and friends walked slowly up and down the street. Never have I seen anything like it in the city of a major city.
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On Sunday morning we packed up our bags to leave but firstly we would participate in the Ciclovia. Every Sunday, selected streets in the city centre are closed between 7am and 2pm for cyclists. This creates an amazing traffic free zone where all citizens of the city can ride their bikes in peace. There are also free aerobic sessions, stalls to buy fresh juice and fruit, and roadside bike work shops.

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We left the city city at 11am, heading west. And as soon as we left the touristy centre we entered some of the roughest neighborhoods I’ve ever seen. The atmosphere completely changed. The buildings were black and the streets were empty of people but full of rubbish. There was however, the ocasional battered figure prowling the street or a line of sleeping bodies in an abandoned shop doorway. And the next moment we passed through a bustling, messy market full of cheap merchandise and other stuff I do not know as I cycled through too quick. These were those places where tourists aren’t meant to go.

Bogota sits at 2600m altitude and when we finally escaped the clutches of the traffic ridden streets, we began a 2000m descent towards the Rio Magdalena, through a narrow river canyon in the pouring rain. I was freezing cold in minutes but happy to be back on the open road.

To the Andes.

We decided on an early start which meant getting up at 5am to be at the bakery for breakfast at 6am. As we were packing up the bikes, a crowd of kids on their way to school gathered around us, watching our every move with intense curiosity. We saw some of the same kids from the previous day and said goodbye as we left.
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From that tiny remote village of Gambita we had to cycle nearly 5 hours along a dirt road, climbing 600metres, before we reached the main road. The rough track climbed through farmland and a gorge before crossing a wide and empty valley surrounded by steep, inaccessible mountains. We then began the final climb up to the main highway. Between clouds and rain, I had the feeling that all of a sudden I was in the Andes. The road passed over the remains of old landslides on one side and to the other side lay a massive drop as the cliffs fell away towards the valley floor. Mist circled around the bulky tree covered peaks across the valley with only a lone waterfall interrupting the green. We were alone except for the ocassional passing truck that hooted encouragement. In pouring rain we arrived at the top and descended to the village of Arcabuco. Old, grey buildings surrounded a market square full of random piles of vegetables. A chaotic covered sitting area had old women cutting up blood red sausages and serving up sloppy plates of rice and meat. Everybody was wearing at least a poncho or a wide rimmed felt hat. We found a restaurant on the highway for another almuerzo corriente. To the left the highway disappeared between high Andean peaks whose tops were covered in cloud.
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We began our descent towards Villa de Leiva and the climate and scenery changed again. We cycled through pleasant countryside, dotted with smartly painted farmhouses. The rain stopped and the air warmed up. Just before arriving in Villa de Leiva we met an English brother and sister on their bikes, out for a day trip. These were the first tourists we had seen in nearly three weeks.

Villa de Leiva is a picturesque little village with a steady flow of Colombian tourists coming from the capital. Its known for having the largest cobbled plaza in the country, and surrounded by traditional white houses and bare Andean hills, it really is the most peaceful and beautiful place to relax in.
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We rented a room in Jaime’s house, an old man we met outside the bank. His house, behind a green wooden gate close to the main square, was stylishly decorated with lanterns, sculptures, paintings and colorful furniture. We left our bikes in the garden, surrounded by plant pots. Later Jaime showed me photos of Europe from his travels there in the sixties. He seemed to have been everywhere. He had photos of a Beefeater and a policeman in London, and of the Olympic park in Munich. He spoke good English and told me that he had left Colombia at the age of 17 to go and work in the USA. He had spent 36 years living and working in New York. After various factory or restaurant jobs, he had owned his own dry cleaning business. We spoke about Colombia’s history of guerillas and drugs. He told us how Pablo Escobar, the Medellin drug lord of the nineties, was crazy as he once blew up a plane in mid air or hotels in down town Medellin.

The following day we cycled on to Raquira. Another pretty place with murals of abstract faces or musical instruments painted over every house in shades of red, orange and yellow. From here it was a steep climb up to 3000metres, on an old mining road, but it was the last major hill before Bogota. Near the top it started raining and the land became bare and bleak. It was very cold. A family waved us over to take shelter in their little road side hut. There were about 5 or 6 family members hanging about inside, most of them wearing wellies and ponchos. They seemed very surprised to see us but offered us coffee and a warm welcome. I went into the little bedroom to change. There were 2 double beds and a wide screen tv squeezed into the room, and shelves, full of their posessions, filled every wall. We put on our water proofs, said goodbye, and headed off down the mountains, towards Bogota.
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Lost in the Jungle

From the doorway of the temple I could see dark figures moving through the jungle. I knew that if I wanted to escape I would have to move quickly. But then the girl in the white robes came to take me to the morning rituals.

Less then 24hours previously I had been eating a delicious breakfast of hot empanadas with Stefan in the cheerful town square of Charala. We had decided to take different roads over the mountains towards the village of Gambita, where we would meet up again later that same day. I had opted out of the high pass to take the supposedly easy option.

However things did not turn out as expected. I said goodbye to Stefan and headed off on my route which gradually turned into a narrow dirt road full of rocks. It was impossible to cycle up this, so I resorted to pushing for some 3 hours. The trail flattened out and continued through a deserted village until a bridge that had crumbled. I waded through the river, dragging my heavily laden bike over the large boulders. Overhead a thunderstorm was forming. I started on the last climb to the pass and then I heard some strange sounds coming from the jungle. I turned a corner to find many wooden huts nestled between the trees. Then a little village emerged. There was a huge sign with a painting of some saintly figure dressed in white. Many people, who looked like hippies, were wandering about. I was so shocked to find such a place on a remote mountain side – and so tired – that I nearly fell of my bike. A friendly woman dressed in white came to my rescue. She told me there were shops there and she ended up inviting me to a blackberry milkshake and some biscuits. She was from Bogota but had been living there for 7 years. She told me that this place was a spiritual community. They were all strict vegetarians. Near the shop there was a massive wooden construction in the form of an ark, covered in colorful banners. The girl took me inside the ark where I received a “spiritual cleansing”. 3 men with white tea towels on their heads, playing various musical instruments, sang me a random song while I had to stand in a rain drop painted on the floor.

It was already 4pm and I knew I was massively delayed. I was never going to reach Gambita that night. The girl said I could eat with them and camp under their half finished temple. I agreed but unfortunately had no phone signal to tell Stefan my plans.

It all started getting a bit weird when a girl stopped me in the street to tell me that this was the most powerful place on earth. She said Christ had passed through here as he travelled through South America. She said I should stay longer and call Stefan so he could come too. All I thought in my mind was CRAZY.

In the kitchen I was given a bowel of thin foul tasting black vegetable soup. I looked at it in genuine despair. Is there nothing else?  I asked. Apparently it is unhealthy to eat rice or pasta in the evenings. But I am a cyclist, I thought, I need the calories!

I didn’t even have time to drink it as I was cornered by a Venezuelan couple who were determined to convert me to their weird ways. I spent nearly an hour listening and nodding diplomatically to their crazy religious ramblings. Then a German woman approached me. She had been living in the community for 17 years! And was thrilled to have the chance to speak in English. She said to me, in a very serious way, I think I lived in Manchester 100 years ago, Do you believe in multiple lives? But despite this and her ramblings about the power of sperm and tantric sex, she seemed the most normal of them all and we spoke about the current security and political situation in Colombia.

I slept little that night as massive quantities of rain hammered down hard on the tin roof of the temple. After the strange events of the evening I had been left with a rather uncomfortable feeling and I was keen to leave at first light. But the girl came to find me at 3.30am for the daily song session. I made my excuses, saying I was tired. She came back at 5am when I was hurriedly packing away my tent. I said I had to go and find Gambita and my boyfriend!

As I cycled out of that weird place, a man on his morning run joined me. He told me that eating meat gives you cancer. Oh really? I said mockingly…my patience was running out. As I cycled away he shouted after me….come back with all your friends! I wanted to shout back….you are crazy!!!

I reached the pass and began the descending over rough, rocky terrain. I found the turning to Gambita and followed a dirt road that crossed several rivers and began a steep ascent over small boulders. A man on a horse passed me and I asked him if this was the right direction. He assured me that it was. I had to push the heavy bike up hill for nearly 2 hours. At one point I slipped on a wet rock and cut my knee. The road was so bad and I was getting fed up. Finally I had signal on my phone and I called Stefan. He had stayed in Gambita the previous night and was already on his way to find me. I reached the top of the hill and was greeted with a spectacular view of vast mountain ranges and empty countryside. If I hadnt have been so hungry and tired I would have appreciated it more.
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Finally, at 10am, Stefan appeared on the trail, bringing with him cookies and chocolate for breakfast. I was relieved to say the least. The first thing I said was, “you are never going to guess what happened to me last night!” We continued on to Gambita together and the road conditions drastically improved. But there was still a 500 metre descent and ascent to negotiate. Along our trail there were hills and meadows and woodland, with the occasional landslide or secluded farm. Finally at 12 noon we arrived in the tiny and remote village. As we relaxed at a road side cafe a group of school kids swarmed around us with curiosity and took turns riding Stefan bike. I recounted the epic tale of the last two days to a curious group of locals who had all been very worried after my no show of the previous evening. Apparently Stefan had spoken to everyone in town about me. We had coffee and cake in the local bakery while I spent at least an hour chatting to the owners 9 year old son about the local caves and natural pools. I showed him my map of South America and he was amazed when I pointed to Patagonia as our final destination.

This community could not have been more different to the one of the previous evening. But, really, it’s best not to judge as everyone has the right to choose how they live their life and as I continue to pedal through Colombia I realize that for now I have chosen the open road and all the challenges that come with it…

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