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(122) Time off in Taganga

October 31, 2015

Having had such a great few weeks and time to check out Manizales was incredible and I was slowly getting closer to the Caribbean. Looking at the map I was getting into flatter and open countryside allowing me to get the miles done. Before I could do that I had to ride to Medellin which was one of the most dangerous city’s in Columbia and possibly the world. Luckily for them and for me a lot of work had gone into making the hard life of many a little easier and safer but then I’ll just have to see. All I could think was if the people of the city was as nice the rest of the country I would be fine.

Saturday 12th Sept

Even with the intention of getting up early and waking up early I still had to drag my backside out of bed. I knew I wouldn’t make it to Medellin but I wanted to get as close as possible to give me chance to see if it was worth staying a day to look around. By the time I’d had breakfast, said goodbye to the owner and out on the street it was 8.30am which I was pleased with.

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Looking back into Manizales

I climbed the short hill through the streets to the highway and dropped the ten miles back down to the road north. The views were amazing but it was hot. There was hardly a cloud in the sky raising the temperature and as I steadily dropped further so the temperature rose.P1020886

A welcome break riding through a tunnel before the intense sun 

Although I had rested I wasn’t feeling on top form and more in a plodding mood which was good as I continued to slowly drop broken by the odd climb to break up the monotony.

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Looking across the Columbian countryside

After covering around 50 miles I stopped for lunch at a nice restaurant with lovely owners. They offered me to camp but being mid day it was far to early. I ordered fish and rice and it tasted incredible, along with the extra protein it was just what I needed.
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Starting to climb above the valley

I was told I had another 15-20 miles of undulating road and then it would climb. Still not really feeling on top form and the sweat constantly dropping off my chin like a bad tap I was getting tired. As the sun started to get lower I crossed the bridge and started to climb.P1020900

Climbing through the trees and enjoying the view across the valley

At first the road went over a ridge and with the evening sun lighting up the green fields and the valley below it looked stunning. As I climbed I saw something move and recognised it as a Corel snake or the twenty minute snake because that’s how long you have to live if bitten. Luckily it’s taste hadn’t reached to english food and was more concerned with climbing the bank.

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Looking up to Santa Barbara way up on the ridge as the sun set

I set off again and rounded a corner to see lights way up on a ridge which judging by the map must be the town of Santa Barbara and it was going to take a long time to reach it. As I climbed the sun dropped below the mountain giving me a nice view over the mountains but as it slowly set I knew it would be dark within half an hour. Seeing so many other motorbikes with no lights I climbed in the dark for a while before putting on my front light. With my rear light buried in one of my panniers I relied on my super bright orange pannier covers which even in the pitch black can be seen from space. I could tell I was getting higher judging by the silhouettes of the mountains around me but didn’t feel like I was getting any closer. Sticking at it and stopping for five minutes to grab a drink I finally reached the town and rode into the centre at around 8pm. With it being Saturday night the streets were filled with locals out on the town and my next challenge was finding a hotel that was quiet. I passed one with a club opposite then another with one in it, then another and finally returned to the first one as it was less noisy. Although the end of the day had been slow I had managed 90 miles and almost 2,200 metres which left me with a good chance of reaching Medallin early tomorrow. Needing something to eat I headed out into the busy town centre and grabbed some food. Everyone was out from groups in the pubs to family in the square and everyone smiling. I had been told it was a safe town but it took on more then that. It felt warm and welcoming which I liked.

Sunday  13th Sept

I was tired but I had slept so deeply and I wanted to get up early to reach the city to give me a chance to see if I wanted to stay or not. I headed to the cafe next door to have breakfast which judging by the numbers in there was pretty much half the town before heading back to load my bike.

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The amazing bustling town centre

The town was alive with people and noisy street sellers and felt warm and welcoming from the hustle and bustle. I climbed out of town and before I joined the highway passed the car park.

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Passing the horse park

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Some of these old trucks were pristine

Well when I say car park it was actually a horse park with all the horses from the people who had ridden in to do their shopping. People waved and smiled with numerous cyclists passing me like there was some cycle event on but it was just people out enjoying their Sunday.

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I loved all these cool buses

I climbed steadily along the ridge which in places was as wide as the highway with the ground dropping away to the valley below. The scenery was incredible and although constantly climbing was slow, hot and tiring, I was rewarded ten times over with the view. I was joined by a guy who was 74 years old on his road bike and he chatted as we climbed. The cars and trucks were incredible how they would overtake on blind bends and yet no one crashed. Everyone expected the unexpected which in the case here was the expected and people didn’t seem to batter an eyelid. If someone was in a rush people just got out their way. We reached the top where I took a photo of the summit and my companion disappeared off down the other side. Now it was my chance to overtake all who had overtaken me on the climb. Having so much weight I was flying and the guys on their road bikes struggled to keep up. It was brilliant fun and I made the most of overtaking the road bikes. As the road levelled I spotted a cycle tourist coming the other way. His name was James and was from Oxford in the UK. He was a really nice guy travelling with Enrique from Mexico and had ridden down from Alaska. We chatted for ages and was so good to talk to him. After about an hour we set off again wishing each other luck and I continued towards Medallin. Seeing a climb ahead I plodded to the top of the short climb them down to the next. As I crossed the bridge a truck passed me really slowly so I grabbed the back and let it pull me the half a mile to the top. Just as I was about 100 metres from the summit I approached two guys on mountain bikes so let go passing them with a look from them saying how on earth can you ride that fast with all that weight. I descended the other side with them trying to stick to my wheel and hit the next short climb. It was now down to me to give it everything to stay ahead and pretend I was that strong. By the time I reached the top I’d had it but it was fun. Leaving them behind with them never really knowing how I could be so fast I headed into the outskirts and for a hostel I liked the look of. Turning off I was joined by a Colombian mountain biker call Daniel who was so friendly.

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Great to meet Daniel and was so kind of him to help me

He helped me find a hostel and having another in mind I thought I would compare the two. I thanked him and exchanged details and set off to check the second one out to see if it was better. Arriving at the door with the first thing I noticed was the smell of stale sweat, I turned around headed to the first one which was amazing and so clean. Being Sunday I found out nothing was open so I spent the rest of the day relaxing and eating ready for a day of sightseeing tomorrow. sometimes putting in big days would leave me tired but it had worked out perfect leaving me with the rest of the day to rest and relax.

Monday 14th Sept

Wanting to make the most of my day I got up and was out the door by 9am which for me is making the most of my day. I reached the metro and headed north through the city to the cable cars which would take me up the mountainside over one of the most dangerous and renown places in Columbia. Before the cable car was built no one could leave their neighbourhoods for fear of crossing through gang areas and drug cartels. Many were prisoners in their own homes often being shot at and most were dealing or taking drugs. With a new bridge crossing the river, schools and a cable car linking the most dangerous areas to the city allowed people to leave and get an education and plan for their future. It was incredible to look down on kids playing and what looked peaceful and yet underneath held a long and very dark history.

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High above the city

With the cable cars being part of the metro system I was making my way through the building and was soon looking down over the crammed city. It was incredible looking down on such a densely populated area with most having tin roofs being held down by blocks or bits of wood.

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Finally the sun was starting to light the future of the people of this city

It took around half an hour to reach the top of the first one and with the second closed to the park on the ridge due to wind I headed back down to check out the centre. I had heard a lot of good things about the city and so when I arrived at the centre I asked what was to see. The lady pointed to a cultural building which looked impressive then said there are some paintings there pointing the other side of the road then said that’s it really. To be honest I was a bit gutted and found out later that there had been a decision years ago that the historical centre weren’t that great so they knocked all the buildings down to make room for high rise buildings.

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Cultural centre in the city centre

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This was a shopping centre that was one of the other nice buildings in the city

Disappointed with the city I grabbed some food before heading back to find a bike shop and decided to catch a taxi to speed things up. With the bike shop now set on my google maps we set off and soon realised he was taking me the wrong way. After some debate he finally got me to where I wanted to be but at a higher cost and slower then if I had walked. Deciding to walk back to the hostel I reached it after 40 minutes and spent the rest of the day pottering. It was good to check my bike over watch some All Creatures on my laptop and relax. This is what I needed and realised although I had seen a lot of amazing city’s it was the small towns and villages that held the true secret to the country and the many little gems which are so often lost in amongst the mayhem of tower blocks and streets. It’s hard to research ahead and the things I have found to be the most enjoyable would never be mentioned in a guide book. It was however nice to stop again but I was looking forward to getting my head down and heading north for the Coast

Tuesday 15th Sept

I had enjoyed having a day and a half off in the city but city life didn’t suit me. I think if I was backpacking then more nights out would be easier to cope with but travelling by bike and being a bit behind I didn’t want to feel rubbish the next day. Medallin does have a lot going for it ie nice shops, cafes, restaurants and a few landmarks and all feeling safe but for me I wanted something else that often big city’s hide like the welcome you get from small towns and their there little quirks that are often lost in the depths of big city’s and rarely showing their face. I got up early (for me) to have breakfast and having a nice cup of coffee made for me by the nice girl looking after the place.P1020939

This lady was lovely and very kind in making me a nice cupper

By the time I was ready it was well past 9.30am and dropped down to the highway. Although it was busy it felt safe with a nice hard shoulder and the breeze given off by the big trucks. Where things did get tricky was where there were completed intersections crossing over each other not only making it difficult to navigate but timing was everything. Judging traffic speed and direction with a loaded bike isn’t easy but clarity in my actions to others along with confidence was key.

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Thought this structure was interesting

Everyone was kind, gave me space and often waved. I liked it here even if I was on a busy highway. It took 15 miles before I reached the outskirts and the hillsides turned green once more. The scenery was lovely although the smell of detergent and raw sewage in the river wasn’t so great. P1020946

Making my way through the busy traffic

Passing a sign for the Atlantic I continued north west to see my GPS was starting to have a fit. It said I was on the wrong road and could see one up on the hillside to my left. I rode on another half a mile to check my position only to find I was on the wrong road. I stopped at a small cafe to check and were very kind in telling me where I had gone wrong and gave me a drink to cool down. I set off again back down the highway with the humidity topping the scales which was making me pour with sweat making my eyes sting. I soon rode the two miles back to the junction and started the long climb. At this point I had to stop as my back was getting more painful. It had been sore all morning but I had to stretch it off. It did help but I could still feel it slowing me down. I was however surprised how fast I gained height and was soon way above the valley below.

IMGP8746Climbing high above the road below

The views were amazing with sheer drops to the right that dropped away to the valley floor. As I gained height it started to cool and even though it had past 1pm I wanted to get higher. After some time I cleared the first high point dropped then over the next. By the time I dropped to the bottom of the next climb it had gone 3pm and I was hungry. Spotting a restaurant I stopped for lunch which was the usual soup followed by chicken and chips with beans. It tasted amazing and just what I needed to get me going. Once full I started up the next climb and made my way to Santa Rosa.

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I had wanted to get further and although I had covered 50 miles by 5.30pm having climbed most of the day I felt disappointed which really I knew I shouldn’t. It was the long days I had done that made me feel that way but I had to be realistic and if I can’t do more then it doesn’t matter. As I passed the last climb I was surprised at how many kids were holding onto trucks and at the speed they were going. Knowing I didn’t have many climbs left in South America I wanted into enjoy them and that’s what I did. With a short climb into town with the sun starting to set I stopped to find a hotel. P1020953

On reaching the town I saw this amazing grill

With a lovely lady showing me one that was open I was soon in unloaded showered and changed and sat down in a truckers cafe eating another nice meal. I was pleased I had stopped here and planned for a really early start tomorrow. Yeh right 🙂

Wednesday 16th Sept

Although I woke early I felt shattered and my back was still sore. I did some stretches to try and help and took my things up the narrow stairs followed by my bike which was the hardest thing as it was narrower then my handle bars. Having had breakfast I got on my  bike and left town heading North. Having been told about a pass ahead I knew I had some climbing to do but already being up at 2,500 metres it was cool enough not to be to tough. I reached the first summit from where it continued to undulate though the green craggy landscape.
It was incredible how the road gently rose and fell switching sides of the mountains as it found the smoothest route. Once over the height point I dropped towards Yaruma and being close to 1pm and still not over the last pass I pushed on. I stopped for a cold drink and was told I would climb for another ten minutes. I was hot and the sweat was pouring off me.

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Looking back at a  truck working its way along the road that twists and turns around the mountainous landscape 

After about an hour of climbing with a few short descents I reached the last summit known as windows which seemed a good name as it’s always cloudy or raining due to warm humid air being forced up from the deep valley below and condensing as it gets higher but often leaving glimpses of the valley below. I started to descend and soon came out from under the cloud to see a big valley below open out before me.

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It was incredible how green it was

It was great having so much down hill but being in the tropics it also got hotter and more humid. The air was almost hard to breath it was that thick and I was pouring with sweat. Spotting a restaurant I stopped for lunch and to take a short break feeling good that by this point I had done 50 miles and knowing I still had a bit to drop I wanted to cover another 40. I set off again and finally reached a bridge where the road levelled off and followed the river.

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Reaching the river that heads north to the Caribean

The noise of the insects was incredible and everyone seemed to wave a lot more. I plugged away at the peddles following the river with the odd short climb and descent. There were hosepipes everywhere ready to wash the many trucks that passed with many already being done and shining like new.

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It was incredible to see these two rivers meet

With the town of Taraza at the right distance away that I wanted to stop I knew I had time for an ice lolly but could I find a place that sold them. Everyone seemed to sell food but no ice creams but after a bit of searching and a few more miles I spotted a freezer and went in. It tasted amazing with it being so hot and was so refreshing.

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As I followed the river the scenery was pretty much like this all the way to town

After a short break and with time running out I pushed on towards town that was now getting ever closer. After a few short climbs and another hour and a half of riding I reached the town with about 20 minutes of light left.

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Reaching the town of Taraza

I found a hotel that looked nice and checked in. It was nice place but having problems connecting to wifi and ants in the room I became a little disappointed. Once the ants had been dealt with I headed out to have dinner only to find I had been locked in. This wasn’t the first time I had been locked in to a hotel and wondered how safe that was in case of a fire.Once the lady had returned I headed out and looked around town. There was a huge electric storm going on around me which was incredible to watch. As I wondered the streets I passed clubs and pubs one after another all with their music at full blast and with the speakers totally distorted with the owners looking bored with not having any customers and I was amazed anyone could bear it. Maybe on its own it was fine but with five other competing music systems all playing different music it was unbearable. I found a quiet spot to have dinner before heading back for an early night. Staying up late never helps me get up early I just hope I can sleep. With another 90 miler done I was pleased at how far I had covered and with the road looking flat again tomorrow hoped to do the same.

Thursday 17th Sept

Getting up early and out the door by 8am was great but by the time I had breakfast it was nearer to 8.30am before I rode out of town. I was still surrounded by hills but they were tiny in comparison to what lay behind me and we’re getting smaller all the time. As the road undulated I took in the countryside around me that was so green with cows grazing or cooling off in large pools of water as the sun got ever hotter.

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Cooling off in the heat of the day

I followed the river to Caucaisa passing many guys washing the many large trucks that travel the road and would often get waves or cheers from the many people I passed.

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As the land around levelled off the wetlands increased in size

I stopped in the town for some lunch and to rest before my last push for the day to Planeta rica. From Caucaisa  the road left the river and became flattish with undulations just so it wasn’t to easy for me. The scenery wasn’t that interesting once I left the river as I was now leaving the mountains behind and the view from the road became monotonous.

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Making good progress I reached the town and headed into the centre to find a hostel. After a little bit of searching I found one in the centre where I could put my bike in the room. Planeta rica was a nondescript town that seemed to have nothing worth looking at. I asked for a restaurant and I was directed back to the highway where I found many truckers cafes and fast food places. Although It wasn’t an interesting town it was good to eat and have somewhere stay before another long day on the road tomorrow. With a good day behind me and a good amount of miles done it felt like I was making good progress and looked forward to another big day.

Friday 18th Sept

Getting up early I headed next door for breakfast before getting on the road. By this point it was 8.30am and felt good to be on the go so early. By this time it was already hot and getting hotter by the second. I stopped around 11am for a drink but the hardest thing to get was water. It was sold in tiny bags and I was drinking loads of them and just couldn’t get enough. I kept at it and tried to keep hydrated in the increasing humidity, stopping in Sahagun for lunch.

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With the clouds building I didn’t stay long and kept heading north. As I pushed on I seemed to be going through an indigenous area with beautiful traditional homes all with well kept gardens that looked lovely.

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With the sky almost totally black to the east I thought I had missed it as I was now on wet roads but soon the road turned northeast right into the centre of the storm.It wasn’t long until the rain started and got heavier and heavier.

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Taking cover as the rain got heavier

With lightning flashes around me followed very close behind by the thunder I knew I was close to the centre of the storm but I had to get to town. The rain was running off my hat and I was soaked through to the skin but riding into town was the best bit. The roads had turned to rivers and all the garage forecourts were jammed with guys on mopeds trying to stay dry. I laughed as I passed as it looked more like a record attempt to see how many people could fit in a garage forecourt.

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Had to take this picture as the roads turned to rivers

I reached the centre and found pretty much every kid playing in the fountains and running around in the rain all soaked through. Being joined by three kids I was then helped by them to find a hotel. It was so kind of them but I could see the cold was now starting to get to them. I thanked them for their help and found a hotel that was perfect. With everything so wet I managed to order some food that was brought to my room while I dried off and sat watching an incredible lightning display. It had been a hot start and although it was a wet end it wasn’t cold and made a change to boiling my socks off.

Saturday 19th Sept

Waking to a clear day with a few wispy clouds was nice and the fact the it was much cooler and the humidity had dropped considerably was amazing. Having brought breakfast from the supermarket meant I didn’t have to hang around which was great considering I woke late and any later would have meant a really short day. I set off out of town and joined the highway and started the first of many climbs. Although I had been told the road was flat and in relative terms to the Andes it was but as soon as I would drop 50 metres I would then climb 50 steep metres.

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The road rose and fell making the going much harder

I felt drained and tired and after each climb I felt worse. It was as if my brakes were on or someone had put an extra 10 kg on my bike. As the temperature rose this made everything harder, sucking all the energy out of me and making me feel tired. Feeling thirsty I looked for the watermelon drinks often sold in the side of the road and after about an hour I saw one and stopped.

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It was always great to stop and drink fresh cold watermelon form these great guys

With a large bucket of crushed water melon stuffed in ice it was the perfect drink for a hot day. I sat in the shade and drank the ice cold juice and could feel it start to cool me. I knew the effects wouldn’t last long but it was amazing. I set off again in the increasing heat and headed for the town of El Carmen to have lunch. I reached it around 2.30pm which was later then I hoped but stopped to have some food. Not wanting to stop long I set off once I had finished and left town.

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I often passed the milkman and his horse

Not really feeling much stronger I continued to climb and drop and climb again in what felt like a constant headwind. When ever I stopped I noticed it was just a very slight breeze hardly noticeable but with the constant traffic and large trucks coming from the north I was getting battered. As I neared the town of San Jaun I spotted another guy making juice and went to investigate. He had two types, Carrot and Orange. I went for the carrot first which was amazing followed by two cups of orange. I can’t explain how refreshing they were and how they perked me up. Deciding to buy one for the road I set off for the junction 6 miles ahead to find a bed for the night.

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The town was full of people selling chairs that all looked the same 

With the light fading I would make it just in time and with the hills getting further apart and not as steep my speed increased. I reached the junction about 15 minutes before sunset to find there  was no where to stay. It was another 27 km to the next town and now feeling a bit more energetic with the juice and the temperature dropping below boiling point I set off. I felt great and was flying. If I stuck at this speed I would be in town in an hour. As trucks passed me they gave me that welcome push and didn’t seem to be as effected by trucks coming the other way. I reached the outskirts of town in the dark and asked for a hotel. I was shown to one and a lady came out and I asked how much. It was like she knew it was late and I was a tourist and picked an extortionate figure out of her head. She stood looking smug but not willing to give in I set off again to look for a camp spot as the look of smugness changed to disappointment. I felt great out on the road in the cooler air and could have kept riding all night but I knew needed to rest. Once over a huge bridge passing about 20 armed soldiers lining the highway in the pitch black I continued north spotting some concrete ruins on the right. I went in to check it out and found it was perfect. Once I had cleared the floor and the massive lizard I pitched my tent and tried to sleep. It was so hot and I think part of the heat was being radiated from the concrete floor. I just hoped it would cool a bit more. Although it had been a hard slog I had still managed just over 90 miles and was getting close to the sea where I would have some time off and I couldn’t wait 🙂

Sunday 20th Sept

Hoping the temperature would drop I lay in my tent feeling so hot. The combination of being in the sun all day and giving off heat along with pitching my tent on a concrete slab which was acting more like a night storage heater wasn’t great. I did get some sleep but felt horrible and sticky.

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This concrete building was my camp for the night

Having limited water I had washed but what ever I did hadn’t made me feel any better. Pleased I wasn’t disturbed I was woken gently by the sun rising which was much earlier then if I was in a hostel. I was up around 7.30am and packed most of my things then sat to have a few biscuits to perk me up. I set off around 8am hoping to grab something for breakfast as not having had any tea would make me not so strong. With nothing for the first ten miles and the heat of the day already zapping my energy I spotted a guy selling water melons. Deciding to buy one I sat on the side of the road and worked my way through a third of it before I was totally full and put the rest in my front pannier. I had forgotten how much a water melon weighs but I wasn’t going to waste it and it tasted amazing. It took me a while to get in to any kind of rhythm and kept stopping to grab a cold drink before riding about 45 minutes before needing another. I knew I had to eat so I decided to get to the turn off before Barranquilla where I would turn east and stop for food there. I reached the junction around 2.30pm having covered 50 miles and stopped at a nice family restaurant. Feeling dehydrated they brought me a cool drink and filled my water bottles with water and ice. It was so refreshing and I couldn’t believe how thirsty I was. My food arrived and I ate it like I hadn’t eaten for a week. I could feel myself filling up and the energy come back into my body. By the time I was finished I was full and relaxed all for £2.

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I set off towards a narrow strip of land that separated the wetlands from the Caribbean but for some reason the wind was now in my face. It was tough going and I was already tired. The sun was hot and there seemed to be more traffic heading in the opposite direction making the wind stronger. After pushing on for another hour I finally reached the sea and realised I had reached the north of Columbia and the Caribbean. I knew I still had a few days riding left along with a few days off but I had ridden the length of three continents and it felt amazing even if it didn’t look amazing. As the clouds built to the east and the wind getting stronger I thought I would stop and eat a little more water melon to lighten my load.

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As I sat with the wind beating against me and watching the waves crash on the shore line under a grey sky a car stopped and I was joined by a lovely couple who were intrigued to what I was doing. I chatted to them for about half an hour before they set off again into the incoming storm. It was lovely to have had that company for a bit but it was also my time to set off into it. Weirdly though while having my melon and chatting the wind had dropped making my progress a little faster.

IMGP8843The sea would disappear from time to time and be replaced with trees and marsh that didn’t smell that great and then by settlements surrounded by tons of rubbish which smelt even worse. As the the rain got heavier I pushed on a little harder so to reach the next town by dark.

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Pushing on through the rain to reach town

I was really pleased with my progress even though I had stopped far to much I had ridden another 90 miler which felt great, leaving me with a short day along the coast hopefully with an ice cream in my hand tomorrow. The rain fell constantly while I rode into town and was kindly shown to a nice hotel out of the centre that was a good price. With a restaurant also in the hotel it left me to shower and relax for the rest of the evening. With a bit of diving planned once I had reached Taganga I wanted to make the most of my last few days in Columbia and the South American continent.

Monday 21st Sept

Waking up knowing I had an easy day was so nice especially after so many long days on the bike. I got up around 10am and went to have breakfast before loading my bike ready to leave. The owners were lovely to chat to and very helpful. I set off just before 11am with clear blue sky’s and of course the heat. It was already in the low thirties and I knew it was only going to get hotter. I left town and joined the road which soon turned into a duel carriageway.

P1030015The  mountains I had seen for a few days

With around 25 miles to go I set a nice pace which slowed as the heat took its toll. After covering ten miles I passed a small shop to buy a few ice lollies and a coke. As I sat enjoying the cool lollies I watched on the TV what was still going on at the border with Columbia and Venezuela. I couldn’t believe that so many Columbians that had settled in Venezuela were being thrown out and was so sad. I set off again and reached Santa Marta and rode through the town. Looking modern it looked like a popular retreat for many Colombians for their holidays but with a hill ahead I didn’t stop and started the climb.

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This was the view of the Caribbean I had imagined

It was so hot and the air so still making it almost impossible to breath. Once over the first hill I dropped to the second part of Santa Marta and on to the next climb to Taganga. As I reached the base of the climb I was joined by a police escort who told me it was to dangerous to ride on my own.

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Looking down on the beautiful town of Taganga

With no other way to get there a police motorcycle followed me to the summit and watched as I descended into the small village. At first it was hard to navigate with many streets unusable but soon got my bearings and headed to a hostel that looked nice. A guy stopped me on a motorbike recognising the South African flag. He was from Johannesburg and had moved to Columbia to run a restaurant in town saying his life there was much better then at home.

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This bike looked cool

I soon reached the hostel which was lovely and immediately relaxed. Having its own pool it was just what I needed to cool down and feel at home. Once I had ordered my steak with pepper sauce I was in the pool and cooling down. It was the first pool I had ever been in which I wished was a little cooler but I was happy. Once I was cool, fed and happy I wondered down to the water front to book a couple dives and take in the scenery.

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It still hadn’t sunk in properly where I was but I knew it would. It was now time to rest and relax. I had a lot of work to do but for now that could wait.

P1030019Watching the sun set over the north of the south american continent

The last week had been long and hard and yet nothing like the lives of the poorest people who lived in Cali or Medellin and all the others mixed up in the drug cartels. It was so good to see that the city hadn’t turned its back on its people and instead united them, gave them a new opportunitys and looked for a better future. I was now at the top of the north American continent having travelled from the antarctic and I also wanted to look forward and try and focus on a new life. I still had a couple weeks left in Columbia and I also had a long way to go but for now I needed the fact I had reached the Caribbean to sink in and I was in a nice place to do that. Over the last  10 days I had averaged 90 miles per day and felt great for it. With a few days off before I set off I planned to relax, it was a good place to regain some energy before my final push west to Cartagena and the end of Columbia and my forth continent. 

Thanks for reading xx

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark Hill permalink
    November 1, 2015 2:35 pm

    Hi Tim, you’ve come sooo far mate, much respect.

  2. Mum and Dad Pitts permalink
    November 4, 2015 8:38 pm

    So glad you met such nice and helpful people and that you felt safe. Enjoy the caribbean coast and have a WELL deserved rest .Take care and keep safe. Lots of love from Martin and WendyXXXXX

  3. Sara permalink
    November 7, 2015 9:19 pm

    You have an incredible eye for capturing the unusual, I love the grill using bike parts and the mobile milkman. Enjoy the rest and well done for making it to the north xx

  4. Mariana permalink
    November 8, 2015 7:51 pm

    Hey! Lovely to hear the experience of an English man riding my country. Thanks for the blog, I’ll keep on reading!:

    Probably out of Colombia now but just thought to tell you that Colombia it’s spelled with an O (not U). Sorry, Colombians.. we’re all fussy about that one.

  5. Rafael permalink
    November 9, 2015 1:47 am

    Great target, the caribbean, from the ice. congratulations
    thank you for showing us those amazing places and people.
    I’m happy to know this new colombia is safer than before
    congratulatios again !!!
    Rafael
    XX

  6. November 17, 2015 3:19 pm

    Antarctica to the Carribean – great cycling and stories! I have to agree with on two things; tea is needed at the start of the day and small towns/villages and their folk are much more interesting than cities! Warren bought a tourer today and got soaked cycling across London . . . I’m planning to get one too, just to see if road cycling and I could get along together!! Wish me luck, R*

  7. December 29, 2015 8:06 pm

    saludos tim de tus amigos del paso sico Chile mina el laco

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