What goes up, gets to go down, down, down!

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
Trip End Apr 20, 2013

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Flag of Colombia  , Antioquia,
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We had made the most of having a big supermarket near to the hostel and had stocked up. We made a delicious breakfast of oats, with granola, honey and an apple chopped up into it, with a massive smoothie of half a pineapple, 3 bananas and loads of milk and a couple of coffees.  It was satisfying to fill ourselves up with good food before setting off.  For some reason Kory decided to put some sugar all over his breakfast to sweeten it further and borrowed the hostel sugar, which was placed next to the coffee, tea and cups.  The moment that he discovered that it was in fact salt that he had spooned over his granola made my morning!  Thankfully we had plenty for him to start again and make another one, but the picture of his scrunched up face as he realised that it was salt stills makes me grin…if only I had my camera!

We hit the road and braced ourselves for the busy city traffic.  Thankfully as we had set off early the traffic wasn't too bad and it wasn’t long before we were out of the grasp of the main city.  Unfortunately I realised that there was a problem with one of my brakes, it still worked but the lever had become loose.  Kory tried for a while to fix it by the side of the road but wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it, therefore we decided that as it still worked, we would just carry on and try to fix it later, with the help of the internet. 

We stopped for a quick drink after an hour or two and realised that we hadn’t actually spoken any Spanish at all in the past three days.  The hostel staff spoke English, as did most of the backpackers and we hadn’t really needed to speak to anyone else.  It seemed very easy in the tourist city world to get away with pointing and keeping ourselves to ourselves.  Now we were back into the thick of real Colombia and we needed to get our tongues around some Spanish again.  So, we set off again with our language podcasts on our I-pods.

As we crept up a long, winding hill we saw two motorcycle tourists pass us.  We had heard about them from a backpacker in the hostel in Medellin.  They were two English guys, who had travelled from the UK, across Europe and Russia, as far east as they could, then got to Alaska, and were now travelling down to Argentina.  We wondered if it was them who past us on their Suzuki motorbikes.  Five minutes later they came roaring back down the hill and looped around to stop to talk to us.  They were indeed the guys that we had heard about and they had come to tell us that there was a big accident up ahead and that everyone was being turned back.  Hmmm, well it had taken us a couple of hours to get this far up the hill, so we didn’t really fancy turning back, and we also didn’t like the sound of a big diversion.  This is where having motorbikes would be great because the boys didn’t seem to be too fazed about turning back at all.  We thanked them for the information but said that we intended to plod up and stubbornly check it out for ourselves.

As we approached there were countless trucks queuing by the side of the road.  Slightly further up the hill was the remains of a big accident, one truck appeared to have been coming down the hill when his brakes failed and he scraped against numerous cars and trucks until he eventually stopped.  Unfortunately there appeared to have been about 10 vehicles involved in the crash and some of the vehicles were very badly damaged.  The truck seemed to have been relatively unharmed and we presumed the driver was alright, which is more than we can say for the car driver.  The drivers here seem to be quite careful and cautious, compared to in Asia, and even compared to Western countries, but I doubt that they have the same regulations on their vehicle standards.  Some of the tyres on the huge trucks are completely bald and cracked.  I doubt that they have the money to fix them or the incentive, in order to be allowed to use their vehicles on the road and to maintain their business.  Therefore I’m sure that accidents are not rare but it was the only one that we have seen in Colombia so far. 

As we approached we noticed that people were walking along a little path from one side of the pile up to the other, so we just joined them and wheeled our bikes along.  One local even came to help me get back up onto the pavement, as he could see that my bike was heavy.  As we continued up the rest of the hill, which took another hour or two, we were the only people on our side of the road.  The trucks and cars queued for about twenty kilometres on the other side of the road, and the drivers waited patiently without any clue what was ahead of them.  I would randomly call out in English, "you may as well take your seatbelt off mate" or “you could turn that engine off dude” but of course, no one understood. We stopped at one point for water, outside a café, which had about 15 drivers waiting for their time to move.  I managed to tell them about the accident and how many cars were involved, which they of course were dismayed to hear.  However, they loved looking through the photos that Kory had taken and analysing what they thought had happened

We stopped for a lunch stop, which was delicious and big; eggs, sausages, rice, beans, bread and the usual fried banana.  The rest of the day was a long, winding downhill, which took about 40km, and descended about 1500 metres.  Initially, as we crested the ridge we were hit by a raincloud on the other side of the mountain, so we were thankful that we were the only ones on the road, so that we could go slowly and go wide on the corners.  Even the rain wasn’t enough to ruin it though, as we coasted down through the kilometres.  Our landscape changed to neatly terraced rows of coffee plants, and the humidity picked up a notch again.  We could see green trees all around and a floral scent filled the air.  After our long day and steep ascent the downhill was bliss, to finish off our 90km day. 

We arrived in to La Pintada, found a hotel and cooked up our left over dinner from last night; Mexican seasoned vegetables, with beans, in a tortilla wrap; quick, simple and delicious.  Kory also managed, with the aid of a website, to fix my brakes properly, so we are all set to head off again tomorrow.
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Grandma on

Soounds like a day FULL of excitement!!!! Nice to hear from you's again. Keep the blogs coming.....

gemandkory on

Hello Grandma. We're glad to hear that you are enjoying the blogs. We are having a great time here in Colombia so far.

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