Zu alt zum Arbeiten, zu jung zum Sterben, gerade richtig zum Reisen. ...........................................................................Too old to work, too young to die, just right to travel.
Today we stayed at the campground «Finca Sommerwind» near Ibarra. We organized the next steps of our travel. And we took our bicycles down and biked to the next village to buy some food (2 km). We didn't do this since Puerto Peñasco in Mexico. The bicycles are now quite dirty and rusty but they still work. In the evening Hans cooked us a Currywurst. Then we sat together with George from Switzerland and a couple from Germany. We exchanged a lot of travel experiences and tips. The picture is taken on our bicycle trip. We had to bike around the Laguna de Yahuarcocha where the campground lays.
Today we first went to visit the Sanctuary of La Lajas. I read that some people said that this is the most beautiful church in South America. We drove to the aerial ropeway and with this down into the valley (9 km). The picture shows the church seen from the cable car. Then we drove to the border to Ecuador (13 km). Even there were hundreds of Venezuelans. We passed the border in about 1.5 hours. From here we drove another 2 hours into Ecuador where we installed our RV on a campground led by Hans a German guy (131 km). He cooked us some German food and we had a German beer. We met here other travelers from Germany, France, and Switzerland. At the border crossing, we just found out that we were 1.5 months in Colombia. Besides the traveling, the two repairs at our vehicle needed some time. We had a great time here. It is a nice country to travel.
Today we traveled from El Bordo to Ipiales (238 km). The way led up and down and around hills and mountains. We had very nice views up mountains and down to valleys (see picture). Unfortunately, it rained again in the second half of our trip. Then we crossed the town of Pasto. I was amazed of how big and modern this town far up in the mountains is. I always ask myself what all these people do at such places to earn their living? Then we reached Ipiales which is the border town to Ecuador. It lays on an elevation of 2900 meters. We found here a hotel with secure parking.
Today we traveled from outside Cali to El Bordo (189 km). It was raining in the morning. Around 11 am the rain stopped. We decided to move on and to travel in direction to Ecuador. The first 1.5 hours the weather was quite good as the picture shows and the road was strait and we could drive quite fast. Then the road led up and down of hills and was very winding. And it started to rain for the rest of the trip. This means our speed had to be reduced to about 40 km/h for about 3 hours. To overnight we used the camping facility of a hotel.
Today we traveled from Palmira to Fabian mother's farm house south of Cali (55 km). Here we met Fabian and his mother. They offered us lunch and then took us with them to Cali (44 km). Fabian and his cousin showed us around in Cali and the cousin brought us back to the farm. We had the farm for us for the night. Fabian offered us to stay here as long as we like. We will see how long we will stay. The picture shows an overview over Cali. The statue in the foreground shows Sebastián de Belalcázar a Spanish conquistador who founded Cali in 1536.
Today we traveled first to Salento and then to Palmira (211 km). Salento is another well-known place in this region. It lays on a hill. At the campground last night we met a Swiss-Colombian Lady. She travels now already some three years mostly in Colombia. She recommended not to drive up to Salento, but let the RV down in the valley. We found there secure parking and took a bus up to Salento. This town is not much nicer as others. But the place up on the hill and the view into the Andes is very nice. To see that we had to climb a hill which is seen in my picture. After we had seen it we took a bus back to the RV and then we drove to Palmira. On the way, we saw a lot of banana and sugar cane but no coffee plantations. The road was very good and we could drive mostly at 90 - 100 km/h. We came to Palmira because here is a sugar cane museum. But we arrived too late to visit it. And tomorrow we want to leave Palmira as early as possible.
Today we explored the coffee region of Colombia (101 km). In the little place we stayed overnight mostly truck drivers use the hotels and restaurants. Therefore the restaurants serve the same food for breakfast as for dinner. Since we didn't like this we started our trip without breakfast. We drove to Pereira. On the way we got a nice breakfast. In Pereira was not much to see. Therefore we drove to Filandia. This is a little city on a hill. The main place looks very nice. We visited an outlook tower on an adjacent hill. Form here we had a nice view to Filandia and the landscape around it. The picture shows Filandia seen from this outlook tower. Since the last night was short we wanted to be early on the campground in Cirasia. And we didn't see any coffee plants or plantations today!
Today finely we are able to travel again. The planned destination for today was Ibaqué (203 km). We needed about an hour to cross the city of Bogota (25 km). Then the road manly led downwards. From Bogota at an elevation of 2640 meters we went down to Ibaqué at 1278 meters. We were quite early in Ibaqué and we didn't like the place were the hotel was we did plan to overnight. Therefore we searched for another hotel and couldn't find one. We therefore decided to drive on and see what hotel we will find at the road. But the road let over the La Linea pass of 3300 meters and there were hundreds of trucks on the road. We drove in a truck convoy with a speed of 20 km/h. The first hotel we found was at Calarcá. We needed about 4 hour for the 80 km. Here we had dinner at 11 pm and just fall asleep when we came to the room. The RV was in an enclosed parking lot. The picture shows the last part of the mountains we crossed last night.
Today I went to see a doctor because I have some nasty insect bites. Then we did shopping. In the afternoon we went to Fabian's company. Jeffrey his employee helped us with the repair of our RV. To have a Spanish speaker with us made everything much easier. At 4 pm the RV was ready. The new brakes work now much better, and the shock absorber is mounted. But the alinement is not right. This car workshop can not set it. Therefore we have to do it later on. The picture is taken from Fabian's office over the roofs of a part of Bogota.
Today we brought our RV to the car workshop since yesterday the new shock absorber form Switzerland arrived. The car workshop has to mount it now. And they have to check the brakes and maybe change the brake pads. I hope we can get our RV tomorrow repaired and are able to travel on. Then we needed a place to visit for today's afternoon. Fabian suggested visiting the botanic garden. We did it. We saw a lot of flowers and took many pictures. Here is one of them.
Today we visited Montserrate a hill which overlooks Bogota. We traveled there by bus and funicular. From there we had a very nice view over Bogota which is a city of 8 million inhabitants. The altitude of Bogota is at 2640 meters and Montserrate is at 3200 meters. The picture shows the part of Bogota where all the points are which we visited during the last days.
Today we stayed in Bogota. The weather was gray and cold. We didn't feel like doing something and took a lazy Sunday. We just walked to the next shopping mall (15 minutes). Then we did some work in the hotel room. The picture is from our yesterday's trip to the center of Bogota. It shows the courtyard of the Botero Museum.
Today we visited Plaza Bolivar de Bogota (see picture). Near there are a lot of museums. We visited the Botero Museum. Here are a lot of his paintings exposed. But there are paintings from Picasso, Miro, and other famous painters on display too. Then we walked along some streets were a lot of people were walking and a lot of street dealers tried to sell their stuff. In the end, I was tired again. Maybe it's because of the altitude of Bogota on 2640 meters (8660 feet). Some people even get altitude sickness here. I hope it's not as bad for me.
Today we visited the Gold Museum in Bogota. We traveled there by bus. We needed some time to find out how the bus system here in Bogota works. But in the end, we were successful. The Gold Museum is not only about gold but about the history of Colombia too. We learned a lot there. The picture shows a death mask. During the Inka times important people had such masks in their graves. We were 4 hours in the museum and after this quite tired.
Today we traveled from Cacicazgo to Zipaquirá and then to Bogota (90 km). In Zipaquirá we visited the Cathedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral). It seems that miners are very religious. I was in several mines and everywhere they have churches built in. Here in Zipaquirá was always some chapel in the mines. Later they built a church and from 1991 to 1995 the cathedral. The picture shows the view from the chancel to the main nave of the cathedral. After this visit, we drove to Bogota. Here we checked in to the same hotel we were eight days ago. In the next days, we will visit Bogota and wait for the shock absorber which should arrive here on Monday.
Today we traveled from Villa de Leyva to Raquira and then to Cacicazgo (Suesca) (157 km). Raquira is a small but beautiful village. As I understood, it started as a pottery place but today is more a tourist place. I saw at least one pottery production and many pottery shops. But like the picture shows there is not much more than the main street with a lot of shops. Then we drove to Cacicazgo where we stayed overnight on a campground. On the way, we passed the Puente de Boyaca (Bridge of Boyaca). Here was a battle in 1819 which led to the independence of Colombia from Spain. Bolivar was the leader of the battle and the revolution. He has a huge monument on the hill. Therefore this bridge and the place is very important for Colombia.
Today we spent the day in Villa de Leyva. First, we visited the town by daylight. Besides the architecture of the old city, which was founded 1572 by the Spanish, the huge Plaza Mayor (14'000 Square meters) is very impressive. Second, we visited the Casa Terracotta. This is the biggest terracotta work in the world. It is built only with clay. It was burned by the sun. The idea of architect Octavio Mendoza is to build a house with natural materials. It was finished in 2012.
Today we traveled from Barichara to Villa de Leyva (188 km). Since the average speed here on these roads and with the traffic is 40 km/h we needed almost 5 hours to reach Villa de Leyva. We arrived here just at sunset time. The first thing we did was to visit the main square, which is famous and has a very special atmosphere. There were dark clouds over the place and soon after I took this picture a heavy rain started. We are here on a campground, which is within the city.
Today we stayed at the RV Park near Barichara. Katharina did laundry and I did some administrative work. The RV Park has everything we need. It's silent and secure. We don't have to hurry since we have to wait for the part to fix our car. The picture is from our yesterdays walk to Guane. It shows a street of Guane.
Today we walked on the Camino Real (King's way) from the campground to Guane (6 km). This way was used by the Spanish between Bogota and Cartagena. The way is covered with stones and has stone walls on both sides. The stones on the way are not flat. Therefore it is quite difficult to walk on this way. But you are for 2 hours in midst of nature and the only thing you hear are birds and cows. Guane is a little village with the same architecture as Barichara. Form Guane we took a bus back to Barichara where we watched the sunset and went for dinner. Then we took a Tuctuc back to the campground. The picture shows the Camino Real, Guane and the landscape of the region.
Today we traveled from Vado Real to Barichara (105 km). Since we were quite early in Barichara we were able to visit the city. Barichara is one of the most beautiful cities in Colombia. It looks still like it was built in the 18th century (founded 1705). Therefore it is a UNESCO world heritage site. We camp outside the city on a campsite which is owned by a Dutch couple. The picture shows the stone plated streets, the architecture of the buildings, the main church and the landscape around the city.
Today we traveled from Bogota to Valdo Real (249 km). Last night I ordered the part in Switzerland, which we need to fix the alinement. Since I couldn't find a supplier on the internet, which has this part and
has a fast delivery I asked Michael Haenni, who send me already some other parts. He was willing to send me the shock absorber too. Thank you Michael! I think in the best case the shock absorber will be here in six days. We decided therefore to do a trip to
the northeast of Colombia. Today we traveled until Valdo Real. We overnight here on a campground. The picture was made on the road and shows the landscape we drove through today.
Today we traveled from Nocaima to Bogota (80 km). First, we visited Fabian's company. Then Fabian helped me to find a car workshop to see after the alignment problem. We found someone we felt they are experienced and judged the problem right. It is the left front shock absorber which is a bit bent. Since there is no such shock absorber to find in Colombia I have to order it in Europe. Until this shock absorber is here in Bogota we will do some more traveling. The picture shows the town of Nocaima seen form Fabian's farmhouse.
Today is the «Holiday of the Three Kings» in Colombia. We, therefore, stayed at Fabian's house in Nocaima. But I drove together with Fabian to Villeta to see a car workshop to repair the alignment and the handbrake (24 km). The car workshop was able to correct both problems but could not totally repair it. For the alinement, we need some new parts. But we are not sure which ones. And I don't know how the handbrake could be made perfect. Tomorrow we will drive to Bogota and see another car workshop. Maybe then we get these things really repaired. The picture shows the landscape seen from Fabian's house in the direction to Bogota, which lays behind all these mountains. We will have another drive over the mountains tomorrow.
Today we stayed at Fabian's house in Nocaima where we have a good time. Fabian made a sightseeing tour with us to the next towns of Vergara and Nimaima (33 km). These towns are high up on hills. The streets are sometimes very steep and unpaved. It's good that Fabian has a 4x4 car to easily drive to all these places. The picture shows the main road of Vergara. This town lays at an altitude of 1550 meters.
Today we traveled from San Luis to Marquetalia (132 km). On the way, we passed Hacienda Napoles near Doradal. This hacienda belonged to Pablo Escobar the big drug baron. He had already a little zoo on this huge piece of land. After his death, the government overtook the land and formed a tourist attraction out of it. Today it is a big Safari Zoo where you can drive through. For us, the costs for the entrance fee was too high. For one ticket we can go to eat together or overnight in a cheap hotel. And we saw such animals in their real habitat in South Africa. Therefore we didn’t enter. The picture shows the entrance gate of the Hacienda Napoles. We stayed overnight at another hacienda. It was an almost romantic spot at a river. But since we are on a low altitude (230 meters) it is very hot here (35 °C). It will be a sweaty night.
Today )we traveled from Guatapé to San Luis (121 km). When we got up this morning we found out that we slept just 100 meters away from the hostels we were searching for yesterday evening. We wonder why the people we spoke with didn't know these places. But we had a good night and saved some money. Then we visited Guatapé. It is a nice and colorful town (see picture). Then we climbed the Piedra del Peñol. This is a 200-meter high monolith. We had to climb 705 steps to the highest point. From there we had a wonderful view over the barrier lake Embalse Peñol-Guatapé. For the 121 km, we drove about 3 hours. The road went up and down on high mountains. And it was winding. There were again many trucks which slowed us down. But the road was in very good condition. We overnight in a nice trucker hotel at the road on a mountain just surrounded by woods.
Today we traveled from Medellin to Guatapé (103 km). But first, we drove down from the mountain to Medellin which is a difference in altitude of 1000 meters. We visited two car workshops because of the alinement problem. But both couldn’t help us. Our RV seems to be too big for the normal alinement measuring devices. Then we went to a place where we wanted to fill our propane tanks. Since they are fixed inside the RV is it difficult to find someone who is willing to fill them. We were lucky that a tank car just arrived when we were there and was willing to fill our tanks. Then we drove to Guatapé. We needed about 2.5 hours for the 40 km. Trucks, an accident and road works slowed us down this much. And in one place about 100 horsemen were in our way. The last ones are shown in my picture. The hotel we wanted to stay had no rooms available. Two other places we wanted to check out were not there where our GPS information said they should be. In the end, we camped wild somewhere where people told us we can do it without problems. The search for a place to stay overnight was difficult since our WIFI device didn’t work. Therefore we were like blind and couldn’t get enough information about places.
Today we walked in the neighborhood of the campground searching for an open restaurant or shop. Everything was closed except for one coffee shop which sold bread too. We bought some bread and had ourselves to cook the New Year's dinner. In order to see down to Medellin, we had to walk about one kilometer. Here I could do the attached picture of the light of Medellin.
20.01 | 23:20
Danke für deinen Kommentar. Ich denke oft an die Zeit mit dir in Lima. Uns geht es gut. Wir wohnen wieder in St. Gallen und können wegen Corona seit einem Jahr nicht mehr reisen. Bis bald
19.01 | 23:43
Hallo Erwin, wie geht es Dir und Katharina, ich hoffe gut. Bin nach langer Zeit in Deine Webseite gegangen und hier habt wirklich eine schöne Zeit als "Nomaden" verbracht. Wir bleiben in Kontakt.
26.09 | 11:47
Danke, dass euch unsere Band TEARS FOR BEERS am St.Gallerfest 2018 gefallen hat und wir es auf eure Homepage geschafft haben.
12.05 | 17:39
Danke für deine immer interessanten Berichte. Ich wünsche gutes Gelingen und einen starken Durchhaltewillen. En Gruess