Tolu– Rincon del Mar: Heat and dirty roads

Dusty road

Sunday 12, January 2020 55km Total so far: 1078,8 km

I didn’t sleep very well. There was loud music coming out of every door here – amazing. I woke up already at 5 am and at 6:15 I started pedaling.

I reached the main road and after 5km I took a turn onto a secondary road. There was a sign saying no vehicles allowed because the road was under construction but I asked a worker and he said “for bikes it’s ok”. So I went. The road was dirty with sometimes  brand new pavement.There was very little traffic. Mostly motorbikes and of course the trucks working for the construction. When they passed me very fast they always gave me a nice shower of dust…..The landscape was mainly meadows and pastures for cattle. 

After about 19km I got back to the main road N°90 . After 8km I reached San Ofre. I had a small break there and meanwhile I left my bike standing in the hot sun. Temperature on my tachometer showed 56°C in just some minutes. Summer heat !! Well, I talked to guy there a little bit and he told me that El Rincon del Mar was much nicer then Berrugas so I decided to go there instead of Berrugas. From San Ofre the road went on also dirty and in bad condition so I could ride only slowly. 

On the way I met a Brasilian guy also touring with his bike. He was travelling for 8 months now but he was going the other direction. We chatted a little bit, said good-bye each one following his own destination. I arrived in the village of El  Rincon at 11:30 and started to look for a place to stay. I went all the way ’til the end of the village. One option I already had checked out in google before but they told me they wanted 70€/night. Wow! I almost fell off my saddle! Thank you very much, I suggest you wait for the next stupid one. I went back and could find a nice tiny room with ocean view and a terrace with an own hamock. I was very happy because the area here is not very developped for tourism – very basic everything.

I took a shower, washed my bicycle uniform and was ready for a nap.

Later I was fighting hard to upload some images. The internet really is fucking slowly here. No place for digital nomades…..In the end I used my data – that was much faster.

At 7pm I went to a normal house that is made up like a restaurant. I ate my usual plate: chicken, rice and beans.

I came back, had a beer and enjoyed the warm air watching the ocean.

I am planning to stay here until the 15th of January.

Merkava ready to go
Merkava ready to go
Very fogy
Very fogy
New road
New road
Very nice no traffic at all
Very nice no traffic at all
Dirty dusty road
Dirty dusty road
Small break
Small break
 Southern crested caracara (Caracara plancus)
Southern crested caracara (Caracara plancus)
Road under construction
Road under construction
Cattle on the road
Cattle on the road
Paved road
Paved road
Arriving at San Ofre
Arriving at San Onofre
Need a drink
Need a drink
Really hot!
Really hot!
Some shadows in the road
Some shadows in the road
 Beautiful tree
Beautiful tree
 A colleague
A colleague
A heron
A heron
Arriving at El Rincon del Mar
Arriving at El Rincon del Mar
 I have to pass this pier to get to my hotel
I have to pass this pier to get to my hotel
My tinny room
My tinny room
 My own hammock
My own hammock

Tolu: Letting time pass

Sunset

Saturday 11, January 2020 – Total so far: 1023,8 km

It felt good to sleep a little bit longer. I woke up at 9:30 and went to the bakery just in front of my hotel. There I got me a coffee and some sweet stuff for breakfast. I wrote the blog and edited images. This always takes some time because the internet is not very fast here.

I took another nap later on and then explored the village a little bit. Just strolling along,  taking it very easy. I stopped somewhere to enjoy a maracuya-mango juice while I was watching the beautiful sunset.

In the evening I went to eat a pizza and then watched some TV. Feels like holiday.

Tomorrow will be an easy ride I think. I am going to Berrugas which is not very far from here. Only 50km to go.

Tolu promenade
Tolu promenade
Tolu promenade under construction
Tolu promenade under construction
Tolu beach
Tolu beach
Tourist boats
Tourist boats
Nice vehicle
Nice vehicle
Tolu ritschka
Tolu ritschka
Tourist ride around on this vehicles
Tourist ride around on this vehicles
Main church
Main church
Typical house
Typical house
Beach bar
Beach bar
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Dinner at home
Dinner at home

Monteria – Tolu: 99,99 flat!

Shadow dispenser

Friday 10, January 2020 113km – Total so far: 1023,8 km

I got up very early today – already at 5 o’clock. I wanted to have breakfast already at 6. But: surprise, surprise! When I came down to the lobby the guy there told me s simple “no”. Breakfast starts at 6:30 only. “La p… m…”

I thought “no way,  I am not waiting”. Without breakfast I packed the bike and I left. I was able to buy some fruits – pineapple and bananas. A lady cut them for me and put them in a plastic glas.

Cycling out of the city was ok. There even was a bike path going parallel to the main road for about 15km. As there was a lot of fog in the morning I told myself “ok, I’ll take advantage of it”.  No sun! So I was going very fast – about 27km/h.

The road was wide. Four lanes and a nice shoulder to cycle on but also a lot of traffic. After Ceretes I took road N°21. It turned into a small road and there were no more shoulders. But I have to say most of the cars and trucks they respected me.

I saw many dead animals on the road. They just didn’t make it to the other side when they crossed the street and got hit by the cars. Very sad.

At least I must say that this time the road was flat. Just in the end there were some small hills.

In between I stopped to have a coconut and I had a nice chat with the seller. He told me all of his life. He was a simple man but smart enough to know how hard it is to make a living without education. He was the father of seven kids and he said that every day he keeps on telling them they should learn or study something. He himself struggled hard to get by. He told me that during the times when he is not selling fruit he is working as a “machetero”. Hard work from 6 in the morning till late in the afternoon for very little money. About 5€ only for the whole day. I liked him and I hope his children will make him happy one day….

Originally I had planned to stay in Covenias today. I got there very early, maybe 2pm and while I was riding around I got that feeling that I didn’t like it at all. This village was really very crowded and the beach was nothing special. So I stopped in the shadow,  checked google maps and I decided to go another 20km to try my luck in another place.

After 45 min I arrived in Tolu. I liked it much better. Quiet and not so many tourists. I found a nice room. Nothing special but clean and with AC. I took a shower and I did my laundry. I really had to.

Later I went to the main plaza for dinner. I had some fish. It was ok but not super tasty. 

On my way back I passed by a supermarket to get myself some drinks.

Back in my room I watched some TV and just relaxed.

Nos vamos!
Nos vamos!
A lot of fog
A lot of fog
A lot of fog
A lot of fog
Main road
Main road
Highway
Highway
R.I.P
R.I.P
Passing a small village
Passing a small village
Small breake
Small break
Always straight
Always straight
Arriving  at Covenia
Arriving at Covenias
Tolu
Tolu
Dinner
Dinner

Caucasia – Monteria : Easy ride almost flat

Just smile

Thursday 09, January 2020 122km – Total so far: 907,2 km

At 6:15 I started to bring all my stuff downstairs and loaded the bike. I was on my way out of the city at 8:30. Temperature was already 26°C degrees and there was a lot of humidity in the air. It felt like a sauna.

The road was quite average-nothing special. Cycling was kind of boring.The landscape was meadow. A lot of cattle everywhere. You could see those big farms with huge farmhouses. This region is famous for its cattle breeding.

I thought for sure the road would be flat today but that turned out to be a nice dream….I mean there were definitely flat stretches in between but always with a lot of small hills going up and down. In the end I made 500m of altitude difference. While I was riding I saw people selling parrots and tucans and I felt for the poor birds. To me a bird inside a cage seems to be a  torture for this animal who’s nature is to fly.

At 8 am I stopped for breakfast. Same procedure as every morning: eggs and rice. I still thought about the birds. Crazy. 

Also in this part of the country the roadside looked a little bit more dirty than the days before. Sometimes I cannot understand why peole are so dirty. They stop, enjoy the tree’s shadow for a break and after they leave all their garbage. Plastic bottles, dipers etc. Disgusting. Another thing that impressed me very much today was a guy who’s way to travel was hanging on to the back of a container truck. Crazy!

I pedaled on and temperature was rising high. At 1 pm it was real hot. I was lucky that in the middle of nowhere suddenly appeared a “restaurant”. At that time my water inside the cycling  bottle was already to cook tea with and I was so thirsty. The “restaurant” saved me. I stopped, enioyed a cold drink and besides had some chicken with rice.

Regain of energy! I kept going as fast as I could but then for about 15km no possibility to get myself something to drink. Again I was thirsty like hell and again the water of my cycling bottle was cooking.This time no restaurant. I had to keep going until I reached the city about 3:30pm. That’s life.

Thanks god I found a good hotel with AC. I first took a shower and then a well deserved power nap.

In the evening I went to an Italian restaurant and had a real big pizza. I felt so hungry like I could eat a “family size” one.

With stomach full I came back to my hotel did some blog work and about 10pm I went to sleep.

Leaving
Leaving
Nice shoulder
Nice shoulder
 Sea ​​route
Sea ​​route
New state
New state
Up and down
Up and down
 This is a bull
This is a bull
 So that it is not so boring, a curve now
So that it is not so boring, a curve now
 I need a little rest
I need a little rest
Wild huge lemon
Wild huge lemon
Colombian cowboys
Colombian cowboys
Straight
Straight
Really hot!
Really hot!
Hot, hot!
Hot, hot!
Respect the cyclist
Respect the cyclist
 Definitely arriving at destination
Definitely arriving at destination

Caucasia: Recovering day & laundry

Times goes slowly


Wednesday 07, January 2020 – Total so far: 785,2 km

I woke up at 9 and  went to have breakfast at 10 o’clock.

After I washed all my clothes which was urgent already.

I walked downtown trying to get me some new headphones, because mine are broken. No way. On my way home I passed by a supermarket to get some grocerys and when I came back to my room I did the blog.

The rest of the day I was just hanging out doing nothing!

Breakfast
Breakfast
Caucasia street life
Caucasia street life
Caucasia street life
Caucasia street life
Market
Market
Market
Market
I ordered a extra portion rice
Dinner with an extra rice

Valdivia – Caucasia: Keep going down

Straight road

Tuesday 07, January 2020 129km – Total so far: 785,2 km

Today I wanted to start early to avoid the  heat and so at 6:30 I was back in the saddle again.

I was just pedaling a few minutes when I saw a guy obviously going to the market with a lot of fruit. Lucky me! I could buy my bananas right there from him! I felt happy because it is not like in Asia here where you can buy stuff everywhere – here you always have to look for everything.

The expected big downhill started as soon as I was pedaling and you could call it a real downhill for about 20km.Though I love to let go and speed up when I bike downwards I could not go as fast as I would have liked to.The road was not in very good conditions. I needed to be very careful. One thing were the bad road conditions but the other thing was that there was a lot of traffic, too.

When some parts of of the road were really bad there were guys with shuffles just adding sand to the potholes. Then they asked the drivers for money. I found it very creative, somehow it made me smile.

By the way, today for the first time I could get a coconut to drink. Man that felt so good,  I just love it.

After the 20km “big downhill” the road was still leading down in general but in between there were a lot of hills. The steady up and down also can make your legs real tired.

There was a stretch when I was riding very chilled and a guy approched to me with a motorbike. He began to ask the usual questions like always… “Where are you from, where are you going to” etc. Then he went on, but after some meters he turned around and waved at me. So I stopped right beside him and before I could really take my feet off the pedals I already held a cold gatorate drink in my hands. Wow! Then he insisted to buy me some food. He was so happy and proud to invite me and wouldn’t let me pay. For me another incredibly nice experience.

Cycling was good. The road often went parallel to the Caucasia river and I crossed many bridges with awesome views.

At 4pm I got to the city of Caucasia and I found me a hotel that looked ok.

I took a shower and I went to eat like always. This time I really was hungry and the food on my plate left my stomach with quite a big hole still. So I went to a supermarket…. I bought some olive crackers and nachos  with salsa. Yummi

So back in my room I continued my dinner and watched some TV till late at night – tomorrow is a day off!!!

Lets go!
Lets go!
Main street in Valdivia
Main street in Valdivia
Caucasea river
Caucasia river
Bridge over Caucasea river
Bridge over Caucasia river
View from above
View from above
View from above
View from above
Cemetery
Cemetery
 Leaving behind the mountains
Leaving behind the mountains
Another bridge
Another bridge
Caucasia river
Caucasia river
Waste of water,normally they use it for wash the trucks
Waste of water, normally they use it for wash the trucks
Straight
Straight
Really hot
Really hot
Nice shadows
Nice shadows
The buddy who invited me for lunch
The buddy who invited me for lunch
Still nice road
Still nice road
Finally arriving
Finally arriving
Free ride
Free ride
Dinner
Dinner
Extra dinner
Extra dinner

Santa Rosas de Osos – Valdivia : The downhill starts

Amazing landscape

Monday 06 , January 2020 88,3 km – Total so far: 656,2 km

I woke up at 05:45 and at 06:45 I already had breakfast.The usual menu: scrambles eggs, some arepas and coffee.
I started pedaling at a temperature of 12°C. It was 7:30 in the morning and the new day was dawning.The road went up and down and the landscape once again looked like Switzerland.

Later on the sun came out and it felt so good to feel the warm sunbeams on my body and skin. Temperature rose up to 24°C and it was fun to cycle. Very nice. I enjoyed.

Before arriving at Yarumal I stopped in the middle of nowhere to have a coffee. I saw the woman who worked there was doing some handcraft and I asked her about it. She showed me her work then. She was doing all kinds of handcrafts with bottle caps, very nice. She already won a big price in 2014. It was amazing. She e.g. did all of the tricots, balls etc. of Colombian’s national team. Super interesting.

Today I found a machete on the road and I carried it with me. Then I saw a guy working in the fields and asked him if he wanted to have the machete. Yes, and how he wanted! He really was so happy he almost kissed me when I gave it to him.

My plan today was to go to Yarumal but I already arrived there at noon and  I was still feeling fit. After I had some lunch there I decided to keep going on to Valdivia.

Valdivia is just a small village at the side of the road. I was happy that at least they had a hotel there.

After a shower I went to eat. The food was not fresh. Warmed up chicken. Not very tasty.

I went back to my room and did the routine work. Packing my stuff and then going to sleep. It was 9:30pm.

Lets go
Lets go
Happy cows
Happy cows
Mountains
Mountains
More mountains
More mountains
Passing Yarumal
Passing Yarumal
Downhill!
Downhill!
The rock
The rock
Having a break
Having a break
View from Yarumal
View from Yarumal
At the top
At the top
The artist lady
The artist lady
The coffee shop
The coffee shop
Bottle caps art
Bottle caps art
Bottle caps art
Bottle caps art
Epic
Epic
 Vultures orgy
Vultures orgy
Farmer carrying  milk churns
Farmer carrying milk churns
The really downhill begins
The really downhill begins
A lot of fog
A lot of fog
A lot of fog
A lot of fog
Valdivia here I am
Valdivia here I am
View from my room
View from my room
View from my room
View from my room
Lunch
Dinner

Medellin – Santa Rosa de Osos: Riding through poor neighborhoods until I reached the main road

View of Medellin

Sunday 05 , January 2020 76 km – Total so far: 567,9 km

I started to pedal at 7 o’clock. Already after 2 km the hills started and the road was climbing up. I took it easy, everything was fine until google maps recommended to take a short cut.This was the start of a night mare…..

The short cut went through very, very poor neighborhoods. All people had pitbulls, stafford terriers, dogos and rottweilers. I felt like in a movie.

Everybody was watching me and sometimes made some comments – but never agressive thanks god. When I was going up a very steep climb a guy asked me where I was going. He said “are you sure you want to go this way?” “Yes, to Picacho Mountain” I said “why not?” He said the climbs are extremly steep. “This is going to be very though” He thought I’d better had chosen the other way….. ‘Well,  now it’s too late” I said.

The following 12 km took me 3,5 hours then. This guy had been so f…ing right!! It was impossible to pedal. The climb was so steep like 17%. Too hard to cycle. I had to push the bike most of the time. It really killed me.

The landscape at least was epic. Amazing mountain views but I was almost too tired to enjoy them. This 12km really fucked me up and I lost so much time. I went on climbing up and when I reached the higher altitudes the temprature dropped. 10°C at 2800m – I was freezing my ass.

It was getting late. I knew I would have to cycle in the dark. There were no hotels- not even villages. Nothing where you could stop to sleep, so I prepared my lights.

While I was riding through the darkness suddenly a german sheppard jumped out of a fence along the roadside and ran after me. I got off the bike and the dog went to the other side of the road. There he followed me for about 100m. He looked dangerous but I was not scared at all. I could interpretate his behaviour and ‘body language”. I knew he was not willing to attac me, he just protected his territories.  Anyway. My machete was already in my hand.

I kept climbing and climbing. When I got to this small village of Santa Rosa de Osos I already had been cycling for a while in the dark. I could find a hotel, did the check in and took a shower. Thanks god they had hotshower. Felt so good.

After I went to eat. Like always: chicken, rice and beens. When I came back to my room I went to sleep immediately. Tough ride today!

Ready to go
Ready to go
Starting to climb
Starting to climb
Keep climbing
Keep climbing
Keep climbing
Keep climbing
Very steep
Very steep
View of Medellin
View of Medellin
View of Medellin
View of Medellin
Paragliding
Paragliding
Always going up
Always going up
Amazing landscape
Amazing landscape
The road going up and down
The road going up and down
Tropaeolum majus flowers
Tropaeolum majus flowers
 Beautiful lake
Beautiful lake
 I need a break
I need a break
 Beautiful flowers
Beautiful flowers
This region is called the Switzerland
This region is called the Switzerland
My lunch
My lunch

Medellin: Visiting Comuna 13 and Plaza Botero

Graffiti on Comuna 13

Saturday 04 , January 2020 – Total so far: 491,9 km

I woke up early today at 7:30. I went to have breakfast already at 8:15.

Today the breakfast was much better than yesterday. Maybe yesterday I went down too late and the best things were finished already. Could be.

My plan was to do the guided sight seeing  tour. I wanted to avoid walking around and wasting time with looking how to get to each sight. In the hotel they offered tours but they were all booked so in the end I went to Comuna 13 on my own and got me a guide there.

Comuna 13, also known as San Javier, has the most tumultuous history of the city. Once even labeled as the most dangerous community due to its astronomical homicide rates and its forced displacement of thousands of residents.

Comuna 13 Medellin is an over-populated and low socio-economic zone that crawls up along the west hills of the city with thousands of brick and cement homes stacked close one to another. It was a pivotal center for paramilitary, guerrilla- and gang activity. The location offers ideal conditions for crime, as it leads directly to the main highway (San Juan Highway), providing easy transportation of guns, drugs, and money.

Today it’s a an absolute tourist attraction. The young ones do a lot of graffity art here, you can see breakdance performers on the street and all kind of things that belong to a so called subcultural area. A must see if you  visit Medellin. You don’t need a guide if you don’t want to. Only if you are interested in the meanings of the graffities it makes sense. I found it interesting, you can learn something and you help the people to make a living, too. It’s not easy here….

From Comuna 13 I took a taxi to Plaza Botero then.

Plaza Botero or Plaza de Las Esculturas (Sculpture Plaza) is 80.729 square feet of public space that occupies the area in front of the Museum of Antioquia and also surrounds the Uribe Palace of Culture . 

In this space exists a perfect mix of art, culture and nature in which 23 of Botero’s bronze sculptures are on permanent display and exhibit. Donated by Medellin’s own Fernando Botero years ago and put into place during 2002, they adorn the surrounding area and create an amazing outdoor exhibit. Among the pieces worth admiring are “The Hand”, “Eve”, “Maternity”, “Man on horseback”, and “Roman Soldier” to name a few.

Visitors of this part of the city need to be alert.  Like in all the big cities there are many junkies, pick-a-pockets and it is very crowded.

I left and went to eat in a Vegetarian vegan restaurant . It was nice because I could enjoy some vegetables that I had missed long time now and I ate some salad.

After I just strolled along a little bit and  about 4pm I decided to go back to the hotel.

In the eveneing I went to eat at an Italian restaurant. I ordered some spagetthis to get carbohydrates for tomorrow.

I want to go to Santa Rosa de Osos tomorrow. It will be a tough ride because I have to climb up to 2600m ….Well, we’ll see.

Comuna 13
Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
Graffiti on Comuna 13
 Mechanical stair to the top
Mechanical stair to the top
View of Medellin  from the top
View of Medellin from the top
View of Medellin  from the top
View of Medellin from the top
View of Medellin  from the top
View of Medellin from the top
Plaza Botero
Plaza Botero
Plaza Botero
Plaza Botero
Botero statue "Hombre caminante"
Botero statue “Hombre caminante”
Botero statue
Botero statue
Botero statue "Esfinge"
Botero statue “Esfinge”
Botero statue
Botero statue
The Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture
The Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture
Time for  lunch
Time for lunch
Small Church
Small Church
Plaza Botero
Plaza Botero

Medellin: Taking it easy today

Iguana

I went to have breakfast at 9:30. Some eggs, cheese and some toast. Nothing special.

After I walked to a mall not far away from the hotel to change some money. I decided to get up early tomorrow and maybe do a guided tour to take me to all the main sights of the city.Today it is definitely too hot to do it. It’s noon time, about 30°C and I don’t feel very much like walking around a lot now. 

I went to the botanic garden to escape from the city’s heat a little bit. Hmm… It was a little bit disappointing – maybe because I had bigger expectationes, but anyway it was ok.

On my way back to the hotel I took a taxi and the driver began to talk to me. Like many people here he talked about the dark days of the past. I think that people maybe still suffer from their individual, partly traumatic experiences back in these days.

I got the impression that here in a big city like Medellin you see more homeless and drug addicted people then in the countryside.But to be honest I think everywhere it’s like this – very sad what the big cities produce.

Finally I enjoyed it very much just to hang out and to watch some UFC on TV. Power chilling.

Friday 03 , January 2020 – Total so far: 491,9 km

 Turtles sunbathing
Turtles taking a sunbath
 Turtles taking a sunbath
Turtles taking a sunbath
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana
Iguana