Colombia – The Final Touches

After Cali we continued south to Popayan. A nice white washed city that’s not overrun by tourists. Charles gets a hair cut and the lady then asks me how I’d like mine cut. No thanks, I said, I’m already beautiful. She laughed.

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Leaving Popayan Charles and I ride out on a dirt road towards San Augustin. It was raining and cold but fun.

Charles continues and I decide to turn back and head south more directly. I want to make it to Quito, Ecuador before the weekend in order to get some bike maintenance done. On the way back I’m stopped at a military checkpoint. The kids soldiers just wanted to chat about the trip. Automatic rifles – for my protection!

Popayan 003

The road towards the border is spectacular. The mountains are beautiful and the roads are windy and well kept. A quick stop for lunch on the roadside and I’m back on the bike.

Las Lajas 001

By mid afternoon I arrive at my destination, Santuario de Las Lajas, only about 5 minutes from the Ecuadorian border. This spectacular church spans a deep canyon.

Las Lajas 004 

Prayer tablets.

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Walking down to the Church I ran into Marty who I met in Cali. He’s easy to spot with his giant New Freedomstan sticker on the front and flag on the back.

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Las Lajas 027

The church at night.

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Chilling with the llamas.

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Every country I enter I have to learn a new language. True, they all speak Spanish but the Spanish is very different from country to country. For example, in Colombia people say “A la orden” (At your service)  at the beginning and end of all business transactions instead of saying “buenos dias” (good morning) or “con gusto” (with pleasure). In Spanish a double-l “ll” is pronounced as a “y” sound. However, in Colombia the double-l is pronounced as a “j” instead. Another new word is “clarro” (sure) which is used to show someone that you understand or agree with what they are saying.

A few more things I haven’t yet mentioned about Colombia. There are lots of toll roads but there is a special lane at the far right where motorcycles can pass for free. This is far more convenient than running all the other tolls through Central America. Colombia’s past has also seen lots of motorcycle violence such as robberies and drive by shootings. Because of this all motorcyclists are required to wear a vest with their license plate number on it. The number must also be on the back of the helmet. And in the city it’s illegal for 2 men to ride on one motorcycle because of the fear of drive by shootings. However, one man and one women is acceptable as well is 2 women.

All in all I spent about 3 weeks in Colombia. Before the trip I was warned that Colombia would be very dangerous. Never did I fear for my safety and all the people I met were extremely friendly. Colombia has some of the most spectacular landscape I’ve seen yet and the country has so much to offer. I’ve really enjoyed traveling through Colombia and I hope to make it back someday to explore even more.

For now though, it’s on to Ecuador! Stay tuned…

Categories: Colombia | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Colombia – The Final Touches

  1. Wow – that church is amazing. It makes me wish I could do more travel than sit in one spot.

    And the Spanish variance is indeed fun – I’ve been thrown off because “tu” is so rarely used here, so I have to keep remembering to use “usted” – even with friends! We got “claro” here, though – and it’s usually “con mucho gusto”!

  2. david brundage

    i traveled around colombia a couple years ago and was eagerly warned by everyone who has never been there that the FARC would get me, i’d be turned into a mule for cocaine, pablo escobar’s ghost would come back and kidnap me, etc. ultimately, i couldn’t agree more with your sentiment and found nothing intimidating, dangerous, or anything shy of amazing in the country.

    keep up the entertaining reports.

  3. Great post. Glad to hear you enjoyed Columbia!

  4. Haley

    Glad to hear Colombia isn’t as bad as we hear. When we were in Spain people always asked us how dangerous New York was, if people shoot at you in the streets, if everyone in the U.S. carries a gun, etc. I guess we all have heard too many horror stories about other places without knowing what they’re really like.

    That church is something else! Your pictures are giving me the travel bug.

  5. Russell

    Ah yes, the Dangerous Assault Helmet and Vest Registration Act. It’s for the children.

  6. Jessi

    Love the Llamas. I’m so jealous of all the wildlife you get to spy on. Thanks for keeping us update so we can live through your adventures (although, the dog getting hit and limping away upset me for days 😉

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