Riding around a volcano and up to 4300 metres
No alarms needed the next morning as we were woken to the blissful chorus of Howler monkeys outside the door and for such a small animal make a fair old noise !!
We also noticed it was very hot again! Time to find the hills and cooler climates!
On the road and we sped along some pretty good toll roads; why pay for toll roads I hear you ask, well we didn’t as they are FREE to motorcycles in Columbia and you merrily zip past all the traffic which you’ve been tying to overtake for the past few kms down a little side shute no wider than a wheel barrow whilst shouting at the top of your voice AMF YO YO (see if you can figure out this delightful term by a boss of ours from a while back for people he didn’t deam worthy of a return to work!!)
Scenery again was ever changing as we climbed in elevation. we stopped in the town of Libano for some empanadas, our lunch staple since arriving in South America.
We then started to really climb as we passed through the little town of Murillo and beyond.
Riding through little streams from waterfalls.
and passing by the very special Frailejones plants that grow only 1cm each year and are incredibly rare and protected.
We were amazed to find a small cafe near the top.
No sign of the volcano though ...he was staying hidden in the clouds today!
The effect of the thin air was really pronounced.
In a glider you are required to use oxygen when ever you fly over 3900 metres and here we were riding 300 metres above that!
It was actually Bec that suffered more than Nick, finding herself gasping for a breath and her eyes feeling like they were prickling from the back as well a headache and nausea.
Soon we were defending again and heading for the very busy and crazy town (480,000 people) of Manizales that is built in the mountains with most house on steep hills ...even the blocks of flats!
We had booked a hostel the night before so followed the GPS there. It took us through these back town roads where they were breaking down trucks next to the side of the road.
We were not expecting the best of the accomodation! But is was getting dark and we couldn't change now! Then in a matter of 100 metres or so we reached the brow of the mountain and ducked down the other side into this tranquil paradise. It was amazing!
The hostel was beautiful too, and so peaceful.
The hostel owner ordered some food in for us and we sat on the deck with a beer and local food watching the sun set and listening to the neighbourhood dogs around the valleys bark out a distant song.
The following days we made our way south, heading through the coffee country of Armenia, It was impressive to see the steep sides that the coffee is grown on and you know that all this is farmed by hand ...no machines, just a lot of hard physical work.
so much respect for these guys ...we will never ever moan about the price of coffee again, these guys deserve ever penny they can get!
We stopped at a little cafe over looking the valley and had a delicious "Plato del dia" and a bowl of local coffee.