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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The church at night.
Chilling with the llamas.
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…