Okay, let’s finish this trip up before for the next one starts.
We left our little resort well rested. Just a few kilometers down the road we passed a guy on a small scooter and stopped beside him at a stoplight. After a quick chat, we gave a thumbs up and continue on. About 10 km down the road the little scooter almost caught up with us again. The light changed, and off we went, with the little scooter following us. A few kilometers further down the road we pulled over for some water. Again the little scooter shows up to fuel up. He’s gesturing at us to stay and saying something in Spanish, which we didn’t understand. The girl in the shop came over and told us he wants us to stay. We’re thinking it’s just another Colombian bike rider wishing to chat. He pops open his top box and pulls out, my shoes! It seems that the carabiner holding my shoes on came loose about 25 km before and he had been chasing us to return them. The kindness of strangers on the road.
Continuing west, we rode to Guatapé. Guatapé is an Andean resort town east of Medellin. It’s a tourist town known for its colorful reliefs painted on the walls. It sits on the edge of a large man-made reservoir that is a busy recreational lake. Just to the south is Piedra del Peñol, a giant rock monolith rising 722 feet out of the ground, to an altitude of 7,011 feet (2,135 meters). There is a staircase that traverses back and forth all the way to the top, consisting of almost 700 steps.
We found a hotel with a hot tub between the two tourist areas. After checking in and a quick soak in the hot tub, we hailed a tuk-tuk into town. Cost was a little over one US dollar. Guatapé is a very touristy village with a beautiful square. The roads are full of colorful trinket and coffee shops, and restaurants with small tables lining the sidewalks, shaded from the sun by umbrellas.
Wandering around we came upon a small entertainment square with second floor balconies overlooking the square. We sat on one of the balconies with our cappuccinos watching people. To our right were a set of steps painted in bright colors, leading to a statue where people would sit. To our left the narrow alley had shade consisting of pastel umbrellas strung over the top of the alley. We would return in the afternoon to find a couple guys playing ukuleles and singing for change.
We moved to a small hostel on the edge of town and spent another day just enjoying the vibe. There were many street vendors serving food in the late afternoon. We grabbed a couple chicken kabobs with roasted potatoes, an excellent choice for just a couple dollars each.
And 10% beer with Cannabis. It took me a bit to down this one.
It was time to be off to Medellin and get the bike into storage. The man whom is storing the motorcycle is a mechanic for one of the tour companies in town. Since Medellin is in a bowl with the mountains surrounding it, our GPS knows very little about the steepness of roads. Managing to get most of the way through town without incident, our GPS took us up a road that was blocked at the top, with no way around to continue on. It was one of those roads so steep that are front brake will not hold you, which I found out after sliding about 3 ft. back before cutting the engine. I needed Melanie to get off the bike but any movement would have possibly had us laying on our sides. Melanie hailed a passerby to help assist her getting off and promptly started walking back down the hill. I very gingerly turned the bike so we could head back the other way, not knowing where to go to next. The steep part of the place we had to get to had no roads on the maps. Heading a different way we finally managed to get close to where the GPS said his house was. The road was sketchy and I told Melanie to wait for me to see what happened. It turned into a washed out road with sections missing and then into a single track and into a goat pasture. Turning around I went back to get Melanie. She hopped on the bike and we went to our hotel in town. I called the guy storing the bike and he said he would come pick it up in a couple days.
We spent the next couple days getting things ready to go and renewing the insurance on the at Columbian registered motorcycle. We met up with Alfred one more time for dinner at a wonderful Argentine steakhouse. He had some wonderful news, which I’ll let him disclose to you at another time.
The bike got picked up the day before we left. Our Uber driver picked us up promptly early the next morning for the trip to the airport and back to the US.
Goodbye Columbia, for now. We will be back in December for our trip through South America.