Monthly Archives: April 2014

CENTRAL COLOMBIA

Heading south, we stopped in San Juan del Cesar. We knew that our friend, Johnny (who we met on the Stahlratte), was staying in that town, but we did not know where. When we arrived, we pulled over to try to find a hotel and this nice man (Edward) came over to ask us if we needed help. (This is a common occurrence in just about every country that we have been in.) We told him we were looking for a budget hotel, so he gets on his bicycle and says; follow me.  He takes us to a hotel and who comes walking out, Johnny.  It was amazing that out of all the hotels, he takes us to that one!

One of my favorite things from this town is realizing that in Colombia it is very common to have soup with your breakfast.  I happen to really love soup. We ordered a breakfast of eggs and she brought out two big bowls of lovely soup.  At first I thought, did I say Huevos wrong….then shortly after, she brings out our eggs with yucca. (another very common food here)

We typically get surrounded when we stop by curious onlookers. Here we are buying gas from a road side vendor.

I love this moment. We are at a station getting gas and this sweet man comes over and wants to know where we are from, curious about Bentley, and if we like Colombia. As we were getting ready to leave, I handed a “Bentleys Big Adventure” sticker to both him and the attendant.  That sweet man smiled ear to ear and was so grateful that before I knew it, he had me in his arms giving me the biggest hug ever! Then we are hugging the gas station attendant too! FANTASTIC!!! Life is so great.

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Barichara, Colombia. A sleepy little village nestled atop a plateau. No one is in a hurry here. Lovely little shops of local artisans and a beautiful church at the top of the hill. Once again, we stop to try to figure out where we are going to find a place to stay and the nicest man came up to talk to us.  He spoke perfect English, his name is Oscar. He pointed us in the direction for hotels and we were soon to become friends.  The very next day, Oscar and his lovely wife and two children took us on a walking tour of the town. and on the second day, Oscar took us on a hike on the “historic” path to a small village called, Guane. He said that we must go early in the morning because by afternoon it is too hot.  In the early morning hours, he said; that is when it is “delicious”. I just love that! He was right, it WAS delicious.

Our final stop before the big city of Bogotá was Villa de Leyva. Oh, how I loved this little town. First of all, we had been traveling in 90-100 degree weather since El Salvador.  Long time! We got to within 40 miles of the town and it started to rain.  First time since Guatemala.  We arrive at the most beautiful place to stay up on the hill above the town called Colombian Heights/Hostel Renacer. We camped for the first time since the beach in Mexico. It felt so good to put on warm clothes for the first time in months.  We also met back up with our friends from the Stahlratte, David and Nina.

This little gem of a town was where we really got to taste the amazing “traditional” foods of Colombia. Lot´s of beautiful soups, wonderful little rolls made of corn and cheese and the most exhotic fruits in the world. Of course, I can´t forget to mention the best coffee in the world.

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STAHLRATTE: ARRIVAL TO COLOMBIA

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NORTHERN COLOMBIA

Okay, we are now in Medellin.  Behind on our blogging again and with some prompting from our really great new friend, Salvador in Bogota to get busy, I am at work. This our route up to date.

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Cartagena is the first city we arrived to in Colombia.  COOL, cool, super cool city! So interesting from the Cities history to the buildings to the wall that surrounds it. I won’t go into the history of why the wall was built, but it is a quick read in Lonely Planet and very interesting.

We stayed outside the walled city in Bocagrande.  A good long walk or a quick taxi.  Due to the intensity of the heat, we did a bit of both! We stayed in a great old (budget friendly) hotel above a mall called Hotel Pueblito Playa.

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The owner, Brian was so accommodating and helped us with anything we needed. Before we even got checked in, Brian brought Bentley a big ol bowl of water.  The hotel was a work in progress, but clean and we had a great breakfast every morning.

 After a few days we moved out of the busy city to the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Paso del Mango. The road to get there was a bit hairy the last 100 meters. In Colombia, they have “moto taxis”, which is a little motorcycle that you get on the back of and they take you on all the roads that a vehicle can´t go on. It´s pretty genius! It turns out that they have them in many towns and cities in Colombia. We arrived at  a  wonderful, most peaceful, most relaxing place called Ecolodge La Bonita. This is where we had the BEST food of our trip so far. The owners were gourmet chefs and we were graced with their great food, delicious wine and fresh colombian coffee delivered outside our door every morning.  It was so hard to leave!

  We had one more stop in the Northern part of colombia before heading South. We needed to get to the beach, one more time! We were told about Finca Escondido. It was not a farm but a hostel on the beach. They offered camping and for the first time since Belize, we set up our tent. It was a pretty nice place until the second night they had a band play from 10pm until 3am. That was a rough night!  Needless to say, we left the next day. 

We now head to Bogota with a few stops along the way……..to be continued………

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CARTI, PANAMA TO SAN BLAS

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OUR LAST DAYS IN PANAMA

I know that it has been so long since our last post and most are wondering where the heck we are! (we are still in Colombia). I have had a hard time getting good enough internet to upload this video, finally today with help from our new friends here in Bogota, we have success. The video shows our last day or two in Panama and the ride to Carti, where we met the ship.   We have certainly bonded with some of the people we had met during our 4 days on the Stahlratte and have reunited at certain times since then along the way. This truly has been an incredible adventure so far in many, many ways.

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