Colombia: Notes along the way

Tagged:  •  
Randy getting a lift on a passing truck
Randy getting a lift on a passing truck (View on flickr)

Some notes from our 1000 miles (1600+ kilometers) so far in Colombia:

It's very common here for cyclists to grab the back of a slow-moving truck for a ride up to the top of a hill. It's loads of fun. Don't slap my hand too hard...  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

We're Sponsored! (Sort of)

Tagged:  •  
Randy and Nancy leaving the Casa de Ciclistas in Cali
Randy and Nancy leaving the Casa de Ciclistas in Cali (View on flickr)

We met some very nice people in Cali. One of them was Jose Lopez (and his whole family), an excellent and active cyclist who has ridden the entire country on his mountain bike. Jose belongs to a group called Colombia Nuestra Meta (Colombia Our Goal), which does major country-crossing rides and raises money to get bikes for kids in remote villages.

Last year, Colombia Nuestra Meta rode the entire route that we're riding (impressive!) and this year they're doing a route that's even harder, crossing all three mountain ranges that define this country, crossing it from east to west.

Jose met us and gave us a grand tour of Cali, and then gave us two absolutely beautiful cycling jackets (shown in the picture) - the nicest we've ever had. Our job is to take a picture of ourselves in front of famous South American sites with these beautiful jackets. It gives us a good excuse to get more pictures of us together.

Thanks, Jose!

The Casa de Ciclistas in Cali, Colombia

Tagged:  •    •    •  
Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day
Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day (View on flickr)

We stayed at our first "Casa de Ciclistas" (House of Cyclists) in Cali, and it was an incredible experience.

Casas de Ciclistas are a special Latin American institution, probably started by a gentleman in Trujillo, Peru named Lucho. He opened his home to travelers on bicycle years ago and has now hosted hundreds. He has a very humble home, but always makes it available for cyclists, and is one of the best known resources for touring cyclists in Latin America.

Well, other people think it´s a good idea too, and our new friend Miller Hernan in Cali. Miller is interested in touring, and decided to follow Lucho´s example, and what a delightful Casa de Ciclistas he has created. Hernan's family has a very simple house in a calm "tranquilo" neighborhood in southern Cali, and they just invited us in. We put up our tent in their very nice patio and were more comfortable than we've been in 90% of the hotels we've ever stayed in.

But it even went further. We were there for Mother's Day, and Miller invited Nancy to join his mother for the dinner festivities. And they shopped together for the ajiaco soup, then prepared it together and it was a delight.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

San Agustín: Archaeology Side-trip

Tagged:  •  
San Agustin Image
San Agustin Image (View on flickr)

Randy and I have made a priority of visiting many pre-Columbian archeology sites during our bike trip from the north pole to the south pole. After a month of riding the beautiful country of Colombia we decided to go off-route and take a bus 6 hours from Popayán to San Agustín, a magical place full of thousands of pre-Columbian sculptures and burial sites. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, San Agustín is a place of natural beauty and important universal culture. Some artifacts have been carbon dated as early as 3300 B.C., and aparently it was one continuous culture from that period to the date it mysteriously disappeared in the 8th century A.D.

Who built these and why are both total mysteries. Some theorize it was all a city for the dead - since humans live a short time on this earth but a long time in the after life, the burials require their own city. This spiritual place is a burial place to honor those in the after life. The hundreds of burial sites found throughout the 50,000 hectare area are full of treasures, potteries and huge sculptures guarding the tombs of the dead. Standing erect are mystical megalithic sculptures representing gods, and mystical animals. Almost all the sculptures have mammoth heads two or three times large than the body, either short legs or none and also human and animal features intermixed. The majority have jaguar or eagle features carved into the huge free standing carefully sculptured rocks. Some are realistic and others are rather abstract.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Colombia hospitality

Tagged:  •    •  
Ivo cutting up fruit in Manizales
Ivo cutting up fruit in Manizales (View on flickr)

We have been very blessed to be invited to the homes of new friends in Colombia. We contacted 4 different people in four different parts of Colombia that offer hospitality through the website. All four answered us and offered us the warmest welcome to stay with them.

We've now visited the four wonderful hosts on our route in Colombia. The first one was in Manizales, up a huge climb, huger then huge but worth every inch of the climb. We stayed with Jon Olson and his new wife, Ivo. Jon is orginally from Minnisota and currently lives in Manizales teaching math in a bilingual school. Ivo, a native of Bogotá, is a speech therapist by professional who until she got married 3 months ago worked at a university in her home town. (She is currently looking for work in Manizales.)

The two of them gave us a great view of Colombia, educated us to proper etiquette and answered so many questions we had. It was a wanderful to stay with them in their fourth-floor penthouse and kick back for a day off. Ivo is a master of making juices from exotic fruit and an excellent cook. I even went to the store with them and bought every different kind of fruit I had never tasted. Some I liked and some I did not, and some I did not have chance to taste because we were just too busy to cut it all up and give it a try. Watermelon was the favorite by everyone.

We left Manizales and cycled to Armenia in one day.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Photos of Colombia and Sailing from Panama

Tagged:  •  

There are new pictures posted of our Trip through Colombia so far and of the boat trip from Panama.

And you can always see all our pictures on the photos page. (We did add some more to the Panama pictures announced them.)

Which of the following are truly exaggerations about Colombia?

Tagged:  •  
  • In Colombia they raise cows with one leg longer than the other in order to have cows that can graze on the steep slopes.
  • They grow tomato trees on the mountain hillsides.
  • The clouds are so thick with moisture you need a snorkel to breath the air while cycling the high country.
  • Cyclists have the right of way.
  • There are military checkpoints every 10 miles on the major roadways.
  • Motorcycles outnumber cars and the drivers are required to wear a vest and a helmet with the license plate number visible on both vest and helmet.
  • Thousands of motorcycles are also taxis.

Colombia: Llegamos a Medellín

Climbing in the morning, high in the Colombian Andes
Climbing in the morning, high in the Colombian Andes (View on flickr)

Hola de Randy y Nancy ( en Medellín, Colombia

¡Saludos a todos desde Medellín, Colombia! Nos estamos disfrutando mucho de este país tan bello, amigable, y hospitalario.

Aquí es una actualización sobre lo que nos ha pasado en el último mes.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Syndicate content