Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Closing in on Bogata

We have been approaching Bogata from the west, slowly climbing into the mountains and the changing climate and cultures.

It is absolutely necessary to lane split down here, and in some cases the only way to get by is to ride the right curb.  Uli's Hepco Becker panniers are narrower than mine, and I have had my share of bumps.  I took out a 45 gallon barrel today in a construction zone.  It was empty, so it just went flying, and I didn't stop to apologize...

 This was an accident, and the police were doing their measuring thing as we snuck through the traffic...

 Gassing up...
 We stopped for lunch after a great climb into the mountains.  The countryside just keeps getting greener and greener...


 Flowers around the lunch stop...


 Uli's direction indicator stalks were broken on the boat ride, so he is fashioning some stronger stalks from some PVC that we found..

 The pictures don't do the mountains justice, and certainly don't show the fantastic twistys..


 I tried to capture a small piece of the route on the Garmin screen.....



San Gil was yesterday's stop, and a fine place it was.


 Uli recorded the ride to San Gil  here


We arrived in the town square early on Sunday afternoon, and immediately attracted a crown of gawkers.  Parents want their kids to sit on the bikes, and pretty girls want to sit on Blondy. Being an accommodating kind of guy, and always looking to improve Colombian-Canadian relations, I complied...

 Sunday was November 25, which is designated in Latin America as an International Day to Protest Violence against Women.  The local university was putting on a demonstration in the town square.









They then showed the movie "In the Days of Butterflies", which told the story of a woman activist who fought against the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. She and her sisters were murdered on November 25, and today was the focus of the discussions and demonstrations.  It was a very moving movie, and it was very surreal to be sitting in a square in a Colombian city watching the effect of a Latin dictatorship on a country.

We decided to stay another night at the hostal, and explore the city a bit.  One of the major exports of Colombia is flowers. There are greenhouses everywhere in this region, and I understand that Colombian flowers are flown to Moscow...
 San Gil is built along a river, and the city rises up on each side of the river at quite a steep angle.  Some of the streets were easily 25% grades, and while we were looking for a hostal, found some of the hills scary to climb, and even scarier to go down..




I have never seen so many restored Willy's jeeps as I have in the past few days.  They are immaculate, and even though some of them are 65 years old, they are in great shape...


The colonial architecture combined with the brickwork is fascinating for this nail, boards, and concrete guy...


That is all uphill...

 A major river flows through town...

 We looked around at different options for tires.  I have an appointment in Bogata, and the others are not sure when and where they will be changing over...

We went to the local park, where some local symbols somehow seem oddly familiar...



These Cebu trees are huge...

 Here is the same animal eating plant that fascinated me in Antigua...

One scrawny and noisy parrot..
 Drying coffee on the street...
 Full Moon of San Gil..




We stopped in a little town for lunch. More Willys.. and more very old churches...











 We arrived at our destination in the early afternoon.  The town is centered on a very large town square, but interestingly enough it is void of trees, and although it is at least an acre in size, completely open and paved with stones...




The  garden of the hostal we stayed at...

This is not a cigar store Indian, although they billed themselves as the Indian Ice Cream store, and the inside was covered in Edward Curtis   photos of North American tribes.... 


 Cobble stone streets everywhere.  A bit of a pain to walk on, and certainly not any fun for riding on...



A very craftsy section of town...






 Even the dogs have their siestas...



Did I mention the stonework everywhere?





Ex US of A...






The girls are sitting in front of a town square that has been in existence for 450 years. Put that in your history pipe and smoke it...