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01.05.10 Colombia
Do we leave??? Not too sure. Yesterday when we wanted to pack our gear I heard Bhinti saying: What is there to pack? Having our stuff all over the place. Then he moved himself into the bed. Okay, today is the day where we leave Cali. Packing took over one hour. Finally we left at 11am, good bye beautiful Cali. People asked us questions while we were riding. Often I heard Bhinti behind me saying: Canada, California, Argentina, 17 months.. repeating himself. Funny. After riding 13 km we got out of the city, and then we heard a pffffffff..... Bhinti's rear tire was flat. We changed the tube on the side of the road and wanted to keep going. Then after 3 seconds we heard it again: pffffffff....... it was the same tire. We changed the tube again realizing that the tire had blown out. We put on our spare tire and the same happened again: pffffffffff....... I was patching the broken tubes while Bhinti was changing them. It happened 2 more times: pffffffffffffffffff.... What is this all about? The new spare tire had now 2 holes, 2 blow outs. We put on another spare tire, having only one more spare tire and one more spare tube left... We started riding.... and..... the new tire was holding up! After over one hour we kept riding. Enjoying the last 15 km of the flats with tail wind. We are spoiled! More long trucks loaded with sugar cane passed us. The clouds around us got darker and darker. 25 km until to the next town. Will we make it? And just in time, in the middle of nowhere, was a gas station showing up with rooms and a restaurant. Lucky us! The clouds were really pitch black and the thunder was really loud. We saw lots of lightning. It didn't take long and it started pouring.
Resume: Cali-Villarica, 43 km, 28-32 degrees, 3500ft (1200m).
LINKS TO FOLLOW

02.05.10 Colombia
It was misty and foggy in the morning. After our porridge ceremony we left at 10am. Actually we wanted to leave but Bhinti had a flat tire, again.... The same tire. The patch didn't hold. And again, off comes the tire, changing the tube and hoping it would hold. It did! We left at 10.30am, the sky was clear by then and we could feel the warm sunrays on our skin. We saw many road cyclists, sometimes groups of 10-15 people. We had a little rest in Santander, at the end of the Cauca Valley. From now on we are back in the hills. Climbed a 1000 feet (300 meter) hill, which took us one hour. At the beginning I could smell rubber from onward coming trucks. That is always a sign of a lot of sweat. We stopped in Mondomo, a mountain village, looking for a room. Again, the sky was black. One hotel was booked out, the other one was upstairs, no room to store our bikes. We asked the police and the police man told us about a man who has rooms for rent. There was no sign in front of his door. When we got there, he came out and we checked the room. The room was upstairs with an amazing view to the mountains. This part of his house didn't have a wall, so it was all open. We also had a group of couches in front of our room. The house was old and the couches were half broken. It was a simple and humble house with chickens and a rooster in his back yard. This house reminded me of the old houses in Ladakh, in Northern India. Nice! The mattress was hard, dusty and damp and the shower and bathroom were downstairs. It was a romantic place. The water in the shower was freezing. My shower I took was not tooo wet, sprinkling some water drops over me.
Resume: Villarica-Mondomo, 33 km, 26-34 degrees, started at 3500ft (1200m), ended at 4800ft (1600m).
LINKS TO FOLLOW

03.05.10 Colombia
It rained all night long and the rooster started his wake up call really early. We had another foggy morning. We really liked staying in his house and the man was a happy fellow. That would have been a good place for a rest day. We left and started again with a one hour uphill. In the distance the clouds were really dark again. It began to rain but we kept riding. We saw a woman who took her cow for a walk. And 2 guys on a motorcycle pulled a wheel barrel behind them. Lots of horses were grazing on the side of the road. And we were back in the coffee land. Coffee, bamboo and bananas. On these uphills I was quite slow but the salsa music that was coming out of houses kept me going. We wanted to make it to Popayan today but it was up and down all the way. After 30 km and another long uphill we arrived in Piendamo and found a nice and quiet hospedaje. The people here were mainly Native Indians with colorful dresses. We called our contact in Popayan. It was another cyclist. We got his email from other cyclists. Tomorrow we are going to catch up with him. We checked in at our room at 4pm and there was hot water from 7pm onwards. I decided to wait and to stay sticky for another 3 hours. It was worth it! We had only 19 degrees in our room. The room was damp and mold has been built up on some parts of the walls.
Resume: Mondomo-Piendamo, 33 km, 20-32 degrees, started at 4800ft (1600m), ended at 6300ft (2100m).
LINKS TO FOLLOW

04.05.10 Colombia
We had 2 blankets and I was almost cold. It was cloudy and 20 degrees when we left. The scenery was so beautiful. 25 km of up and down and then we dropped into the valley of Popayan. We passed a Hare Krishna Center and stopped at the outskirts of Popayan for some food. The people look different here, this area has a different vibe, rougher somehow. A man rode pass on his motorcycle. He carried a whole bicycle on his back... The valley was spread out. It took us a while until we got to the historical center. All houses are white! Popayan is called 'The white city of Colombia'. We rode to the park and gave Pedro, our contact in Popayan, a call. He said he would be there to meet us in 30 min. We ate some fruit and a man made a heart out of old wire for us. That was his business. He makes thinks out of almost nothing and sells it. After 30 min a man came towards us with a big smile in his face. We both thought it was Pedro. He asked lots of questions and then another man showed up saying he is Pedro. We were quite confused. The first man was somebody else and we thought for quite a while that it was Pedro. Funny! Pedro already arranged a room for us in the center. It was a hostel where lots of cyclists stay. He read our website and knew our route, some of our adventures and also that we met in India. I was really impressed. Together we walked to the hostel and parked our bikes in our room. It was a nice big room with a high ceiling, wooden floor and a big window. The bathroom and shower were in the hallway. We had a nice hot shower and a rest. Then we went for a stroll through the white city. The whole sky was dark, there was only one little window. And through that little window the bright sun peaked through and on the other side we could see a big rainbow. The sun was so bright. At 7pm we cought up with Pedro for dinner. It was so nice of him to meet us and to arrange a hostel for us and to spend time with us. And... he already paid for the room for one night. We really didn't want that but there was nothing we could have done about it. We had pizza in the pizzeria across the road, it was pouring. Afterwards he drove us to a shopping center in case we needed something. At the same time he picked up his daughter and altogether they dropped us off at our hostel. Bhinti and I we felt that we were coming up with a cold and were glad to fall into bed. Thank you so much, dear Pedro!!!
Resume: Piendamo-Popayan, 37 km, 20-36 degrees, ended at 6000ft (2000m).
LINKS TO FOLLOW

02.05.10 Colombia
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