Tripstagram pt. 2: Colombia – Medellin to the border

My journey, on Instagram, part 2: Medellin to the border of Colombia & Ecuador.

Find part 1 here.


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Thursday started off as a highlight of the trip. After a long climb out of Salento, I crested the pass and entered a remote valley filled with fields of wax palm trees. The trees only grow in certain parts of the Andes and can be up to 60 metres tall. Here, they were in abundance, standing majestically on steep farm slopes. As I enjoyed the long descent down to Toche, things went sideways when the pannier carrying my camping gear bounced off my bike and I somehow didn't notice for several kilometres. It was picked up by a tour guide who I'd spoken to while in Salento and I had told him about my plans. Thankfully, I got it back, but not until after a long return trip back to Salento. I ended the day camping next to some hot springs, counting my blessings and wondering how many lives I have left.

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I met another bike tourer in San Augustin the other day. William, from Bogota, is biking to southern Brazil, heading in the same general direction as me. He left the hostel in San Augustin yesterday before I even woke up but despite a 2.5 hour had start, I caught up to him on the way into San Juan De Villalobos, my destination for the night. We found a cheap place to sleep, grabbed dinner and headed out together the next morning. I found it odd sharing the road with someone, being so used to the solitary lifestyle. I also realized why I caught up with him – we travel at different paces and his photo stops were much longer than mine. We didn't ride together long but we exchanged contacts and I'm sure I'll see him again along the way. Meanwhile, my laptop won't charge and I'm unable to transfer more than one photo from my camera to my phone at a time, so I won't be updating my blog until something gets fixed (or I get a new laptop), which probably won't be until I get to Quito in about two weeks.

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When you roll into a small town just on time for a parade…

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Well, it took six weeks and a day, but I finally reached Ecuador. The last few days in Colombia were cold and rainy and rather dull as I pounded out the kilometres on the Pan-American to the border. I stopped for lunch in Ipiales, a few kilometres from the border, and waited for it to stop raining. When it wouldn't, I went for it anyway and had a very easy crossing. Then, as I climbed the bill to Tulcan in Ecuador, the rain stopped. Coincidence? I just paid the most I have for a hotel room all trip, a whole $12 USD, but it was worth it for a true hot shower. Tomorrow I start on the Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route, dirt road edition. Google it if you want to see what I'm getting myself into.

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Part three is here.




Categories: bicycle touring, South America tour, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


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