What goes up, gets to go down, down, down!
Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
136Trip End Apr 20, 2013
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We hit the road and braced ourselves for the busy city traffic
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
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
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.