From big city Bogotá down to El Desierto de Tatacoa and up to San Agustín. Then up through a section of the páramo to Popayan for the World Cup final, and down the Panamerican to the Ecuador border. Hit the 1 year milemark for this trip in this section, Colombian cookies and coffees were an apt celebration. Ecuador bound.
Medellin to Bogotá, via La Ceja, Sonsón, Nariño, Aguas Termales de Espiritu Santo, Florencia, La Dorado.
Into the Cordillera Central. Geographically, Medellin is a sprawling valley trap. You climb to get there, you climb to leave. Better start getting used to the 1000m ascents. Lowest gear spinning gives you plenty of time to appreciate the sky (it’s getting closer!) and work on your Spanish proverb practice. Once in the mountains themselves, settlements become farther apart. Small farms- fincas- dominate the landscape, herding cattle or growing fruits and vegetables. The latter get washed right next to the road, wherever a small stream comes out of the mountainside, then packed into burlap sacks. The farmers are universally friendly, waving or shouting encouragement or inviting you in for aqua de panela, hot sugar cane juice, they claim it’s the secret to the Colombian cyclists’ success. Colombians took 1st and 2nd in the Giro d’Italia this year, did you know? I love this country.
Off the boat at Turbo and rolling. No waiting around, this is the start of South America, continent #2, chapter 3. The Andes are calling mountain promise, but first a few more days biking across banana tree flatlands. Then up over the first cordillera branch to Medellin and the Casa de Ciclistas there. Meet 7 other traveling cyclists resting there. 4 of us leave together, but the other 3 headed straight for Ecuador, me to Bogotá. More on that next. Here the first set of photos from this fantastic country.