Catcha Colombia – Bogota to the Border – Toms Thoughts #5

Colombia. Before I jumped on my bike and before i began to pedal south, I had gathered loose bits and pieces of stuff..ideas.. thoughts on what this country might be like.

My mind could only muster up images of women with curves and bumps pouting with a seductive tone to their talk and images of possessed soccer nuts screaming and running through ramshackle streets of beaten down suburbs. Looting and plundering.

Its a bloody beautiful thing to arrive in place for the first time and only have a pretty thin idea of what it may be like. 

Colombia was a good place. And i know have more stuff..ideas and thoughts

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I had a 5 day layoff in Bogota. Staying with a good friend from my Singapore days, Bogota was a happening city but the road was calling

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My first stop was the Tatacoa Desert. From a chilly altitude in Bogota i dropped through the clouds, through a rainforest and then a desert emerged… i believe diversity is an old old wooden ship….

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A dirt road runs parallel to the Pan American Highway before it takes you into this stuff

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Cool desert nights and cheap dirty packet soup

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I was setting up my tent when a farmer came by for a chat. His farm was off in the distance about 10kms away

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all double dennimed up in the desert heat he was scouring the land for his long lost herd. it was market time for these guys

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People come to this part of Colombia to check out the stars and stare up into the abyss.

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back on the road the next morning and i found myself in a Colombian stand off

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From the desert i took a quiet back road towards the town of San Agustin where i would be resting up for a couple of days

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off the Pan American and up into the mountains again

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Raphael was out for a Sunday ride through the mountains. we spent the morning riding together and then i was treated to a family feast with his extended family.

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He lived next door to Moes Bar

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Morning coffee. or Tinto – a sweet mouthful of columbias finest

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goes perfectly with the morning cheese stuffed bread

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8 eggs 2 tomatoes 1 onion and a chunk of salchichon. one gourmet dinner

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The climb up to San Agustin with Nelson who is checking out his homeland by bike

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I arrived to San Agustin looking forward to some time off the bike. But first some house keeping duties were in order. my hair had started to resemble a home for birds so it was straight to the hair dressers

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I spent a few days here resting and checking out some of the sights

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Back on the road and well rested I entered the southern provinces of Colombia. It seemed the military presence picked up the further south i went. A few years ago these places were pretty unstable with the FARC rebels having a strong hold over the area. It seems a bit more relaxed now

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I was heading for a road that has become a bit of a winner in the cycling world. Its a three day ride with 3 passes over 3000m on a pretty sketchy road.  Directly translated as “The Trampoline of Death”. i had to check it out.

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Road barriers made me feel safe

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the mist would swoop in and then disappear like magicians smoke

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No more barriers and its a long way down

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The road is just wide enough for one vehicle for most parts

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But bikes can just squeeze though

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New digs. every night is a surprise and this one had a bed!

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I made it through “the trampoline of death” and to the town of Pasto, my last big stop as the Ecuadorian border was only 80kms south. an awesome ride

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Plenty of people watching to be done

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and plenty of Goat walking to be done

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My last day in Colombia. And ever so delicately wedged down the crevice of a valley lies a church

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It felt like more of a box ticking exercise but the it was nice way to spend some more time in Colombia

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The stone walls surrounding the church were plastered with trinckets and plaques suggesting miracles and other godly acts

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After 2 and a half months it was time to say goodbye. I reluctantly handed over my passport and crossed the bridge into Ecuador.

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Once again i find myself having the same thoughts as i did before i entered Colombia. I know very little about this next country. But i hear they cook a mean guinea pig

Hello and goodbye

Hello and goodbye

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