Colombia hospitality

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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. Over 100 Kilometers and about 4200 feet of climbing.

In Armenia, a wonderful mountain-biker took us under his wing and set us up at his aunt's finca, a banana plantation. Gonzalo Gomez took us mountain biking to the beautiful colonial town of Salento, introduced us to his wife, monther, and aunt. We had a blast and were treated like kings.

Finally, in Popayán we stayed with Santiago and Marta, a tremendously talented couple. Santiago is a professional man and a mountain biker who has a real itch to bike tour. He was about to take a tour to Ecuador this past March right when the difficulties broke out between Colombia and Ecuador and the border was closed for awhile. Santiago and Marta took incredible care of us, fed us wonderful meals, and went way beyond the call of duty. They also kept our bikes and the bulk of our stuff while we took the bus to San Agustín.

Thanks to all of you!

Gonzalo and Randy on the road to Salento
Gonzalo and Randy on the road to Salento (View on flickr)

Nancy and Nelcy
Nancy and Nelcy (View on flickr)

Santiago and Randy in Popayan
Santiago and Randy in Popayan (View on flickr)