Reunited with our bikes and making new friends
As part of the service of picking our bikes up and getting them cleared through Colombian customs we had the help of William who would guide us through getting the permits we needed as well as picking the bikes up from the cargo depot.
We had done our research and knew this process was quick and pain free and took around 2 hours tops …IN NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES!
Once again we had chosen a great day to do this; it was not only the day after a holiday Monday = back logs and delays, but we had also chosen the day when the majority of Colombians return back to work after their extended Christmas and New Year holidays …and they were majorly depressed about being back at work and on an epic “go slow”.
It was a long and tortuous process for us all (William included!)
7.5 hours later we picked up the bikes and unwrapped them.
Bec noticed that her bike weighed a whopping 284kgs with luggage and didn’t feel so bag about dropping it so much when it was stopped and on a lean and felt impossible to hold up (she wasn’t a weakling wimp after all!).
We had planned to move on the following day but once we got a wiff of our protective moto clothing we knew that WE HAD to prioritise washing our gear, so we filled 3 bin bags with clothing (pretty much everything we had that could be washed but we weren’t wearing …including shoes that still stank after the humid jungle of Costa "Packet" Rica) and headed to the best recommended Laundry on the ioverlander app.
Happy Days! Never ever underestimate the joy in clean smelling clothes or access to a washing machine on a trip like this.
We left our luxurious but ridiculously cheap hotel the next day, the stickers that we put on our bikes gives an idea of the “luxe” of the past 5 days. We thourally recommend this place if any of you are ever in Bogota!
Once we were out of the city we were surprise to see quite a few dairy farming areas. The herd size were a lot bigger but it was obvious that this was Dairy country.
They were milking cows in 2 bail milking sheds (using that term loosely!) right next to the road.
And Churns were left at the end of drives and then the milk picked up by trucks with 200 litre barrels. It was like looking back at the pictures my Dad showed me of his dairy farming like before I was born.
We also his our first patch of rain too for a long while …a thunder storm with fork lightening striking everywhere, it certainly livened up the ride!
Our destination was a pretty town called Villa de Leyva, a pretty little colonial town with white washed houses and an enormous central plaza. We had a wander around and found some food (we were very hungry!) and then retreated back to our accomodation for the night which was interestingly the second floor of a shopping centre! Hmm… we had wondered why it was so cheap. There were a few parties going on downstairs and we resigned ourselves to a noisy night of little sleep …actually that’s a lie because we have now reached this stage of our journey where we can pretty much sleep through anything! However at 10pm all the noise and music stopped and everyone went to bed.
Great! We were liking this country more and more everyday!
The following day we headed off on an ambitious route around Lake Tota and then up to a small country town called Chapala. It was only around 240 kms but most of the route was off tar seal on dirt and gravel roads.
We came to a pretty little town called Toca and stopped for an Empanada and a walk around the town square and then we headed towards another rural town called Pesca.
After 20kms we came across a local guy who had broken down and stopped to help with our limited but very effective toolkit.
He didn’t speak a word of English and our Spanish is still very VERY weak but we managed to ascertain that we were all farmers and were soon sharing photos of our farms and stock.
Once we had managed to fix his chain and even added some chain lube (which he found highly amusing!) he showed us his potato fields and a beautiful view point over the town Pesca from a 3500 metre view point.
Another car of locals stopped and we were all soon chatting and receiving advice on the best routes to take and cafe for lunch in the little town of Pesca below.
Many photos and exchanging of WhatsApp numbers later we were heading off with a couple of free mangos and memories of a few hours we will never forget …these people are amazing and funny and generous and friendly and kind!
Pesca was as pretty as Toca, with a beautiful church and plaza surrounded by shops and cafes and we would have loved to stay but were already behind on time.
By the time we reached a place called Punta Larga it was obvious we were not going to make Chapala that night and Nick saw a a sign for a hotel so we shot off a side road to investigate. We found a room …in fact we were the only people in the hotel, and they opened the restaurant so we could eat especially for us!