T – We set our sights on Zapatoca this morning. It was a tad over 200kms away, and a big chunk of it would be off road. We figured we might make it but if we didn’t there was another town along the way where we could find a hotel.
But first we wanted, nay we needed, some more of that damn Colombian coffee! There was a little place just across the street from our hotel and soon we had a cup of steaming hot cafe con leche sitting in front of us. It was divine! Todays coffee came with sweetened condensed milk, so with the sugar and the caffeine there was enough power there to make my hair stand straight up.
C – Oh seriously, that coffee. How will I leave here?
T – We were on the road soon after and we made great time down the highway. In fact we made such good time that we decided we should stop and have some food. We ordered the breakfast meal deal which came with a bowl of soup with chunks of beef in it, plus then a huge serve of fried eggs, bread and a thick tortilla type thing. Both of us were stuffed after just the soup. Our breakfast came to about $4 each. And we were stuffed full to burst.
We had to slog out a little more highway to get to where we were going. But then as we scooted along I spied a sign for the town of San Vincente. That was a town near to Zapatoca. So ignoring the pitiful beepings of the GPS we peeled off and took this back road instead. And boy am I glad we did! The bitumen soon deteriorated into crates and broken bits of tarmac before it finally gave up the pretense of being a road altogether and ruse became a rock strewn track. We loved it!
Our pace was reduced to a crawl, with 30 kph being about the fastest we could get to before we had to slow down and crash through another set of ruts. We twisted and climbed, ducked and weaved and then we found ourselves on some immaculate concrete roading. This led us into the very pretty but insanely confusing streets of San Vincente.
C – The ride was stunningly beautiful, passing through mostly agricultural lands with many cows, sheep and horses to be admired. We also saw many cowboys, going about their farming work and it was all so peaceful and so lovely. It was so lovely to finally be off of the highways and be able to enjoy the countryside instead. The road was sensational as well and it felt so good to be tackling the slow speed control riding again, rather than just slogging along a fast paced highway full of trucks.
T – There was a heap of one way roads and lanes here, but none of them were signed or marked in any such way as to tell us which direction was the right one. Locals kept waving us over and pointing us in the right direction. In the end a very kind man led us up a million streets, all one ways, and then pointed us the right way towards Zapatoca.
C – It was so lovely of this random gentlemen to help us out. The town of San Vincente appeared on our GPS maps as a one road town which saw us sticking to that road in and out of the town. But in reality, it is a big town with many, many roads. GPS fail!
T – We zoomed along another smooth concreted road that zipped around bends and left us wanting for more! Then we had to turn off the smooth road and onto a small nondescript track.
The track ran along the side of a mountain and climbed and climbed. It was as rough as all buggery but it was so much fun. We certainly have been missing these types of roads for some time.
We laughed and giggled over the headset as we bounced and bumped in and out of ruts and over rocks. There was mud, sand, gravel and clay. And the scenery was simply mind blowing! The mountains rolled off in all directions with the bigger ones in the background covered in a blue haze. So beautiful. Colombia is just incredible!
C – The scenery changed as we climbed through the elevations. Slowly, the agricultural vegetation turned to vibrant green tropical plants with their massive leaves and brilliant colours. As we reached over 1500mtrs, this gave way to pine trees and more alpine style vegetation. The road continued to bump and grind us along and we soaked up every bum bouncing moment.
T – We stopped for a lot of photos! Chantelle even managed to throw Rosie on the ground such was her excitement! I didn’t want this ride to end. But the kilometers slowly but surely ticked down and soon we were high up on a hill and on the other side of the valley we could see Zapatoca.
C – I should clarify, that I jumped off of Rosie to check out the view on the other side of the road. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I didn’t realise we were actually on quite a hill and Rosie promptly rolled forward off her stand to have a little lie down. Of course, this all happened just as a bus full of passengers leering out of the windows went past. Oh well!
T – A short while later we pulled up out the front of a hostal called Hostal de la Prada. For 50 000 COP we ended up with a huge room, and hot showers! They even made space out in the back courtyard for our little bikes.
C – HOT showers! I should explain here that since we left America, hot showers have become a luxury. We only get them every now and then, and much less than now and then since we left Guatemala. In Mexico we learnt that toilet seats are superfluous and since El Salvador we have learnt that shower heads are also superfluous to life. But this shower has hot, hot water – I even had to put some cold water in it. It also has fantastic pressure and a shower head. Talk about winning at life!!!! How I love a hot shower and it actually broke my heart a little bit when I had to turn it off and surrender the blissfulness to Todd.
T – We showered and wandered off in search of some cold beers to wash down the dust of todays travels. This town is damn gorgeous and we have already decided to stay here at least another night. Chantelle was over the moon when we found food as she managed to get some meat on a stick!
C – Now, I am a foodie. I love good fresh food, cooked with quality ingredients. But still, there seriously is no better invention than meat, on a stick, cooked over a fire. This one had carne (beef), pollo (chicken) and salchicha (pork sausage).
Today I was in heaven, from that first coffee, to the off road riding, to the beautiful scenery, to the many locals who smiled and waved to us and all the way to the beer and meat on a stick!
T – Tomorrow we are going to visit the Don Quixote museum and wander around the steep streets of this town.