Sand, Salt, Rocks and Wind

San Pedro, a oasis in many regards after a week of tough cycling in the South of Bolivia. The famous route of the Lagunes on an average altitude of 4300 meters, without many possibilities of food and water supply, heaps of climbing, lots of strong winds, cold nights, intense sun, dry air and paths covered with sand and rocks. It was definitely the hardest section of my way down south so far. BUT, it was so worth it! Every single day the landscape gave me new energy! But let’s start in Oruro, where I met Sam again to take the train to Uyuni!

It was a beautiful travel trough on the flat altiplano. We saw a thousands of flamencos in the huge lake of Poopo, before the sunset atmosphere encased us with a wonderful play of colours.

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A interesting spot in Uyuni were the old trains whose shapes out of steel rust in the surrounding sand and create an special atmosphere especially during the light of a further sunset.

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We left to the Salar de Uyuni where we camped in the middle of nowhere on this huge white field of salt. It was very windy, so that we had to wait for the sunset again to put up our tents afterwards, when the wind was subsiding.

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We left the middle of the Salar, but camped another time on the salt, this time mixed with clay and therefor easier to mount our tents into the ground. In the night a sandstorm swept across our housings but both tents withstood the force of nature.

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In San Juan Sam decided to go directly to Chile, so I was on my own to proceed towards some days of adventure in the mountains of Bolivia. After some comperative easy kilometers on another plane salt lake I faced the first climb. It was horrible to ride, so that I had to push my bike several times. I first glimpse on what was coming in the next few days. I imagined to arrive at the short section of the main road but I ended up settle down for the night a few kilometers before.

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The second day I arrived at the first lake, Laguna Cañapa, where I observed the birds, flamencos and seagulls, before I cooked myself some mashed potatoes.

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For the night I arrived at the Laguna Hediondo where I asked to camp next to the Ecolodge de Los Flamingos. But instead I was offered to stay inside. They even provided me water and breakfast for free. Very nice people, so that I gave them my beani as a present when I left in the next morning.

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On my further way I saw another cyclist in the distance nd when I got closer I saw that it was Camille, a friend I’ve been hiking with near Cusco. He had a problem with its pedal, but first we cycled together and found a nice shelter to camp in the evening.

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To get out of the tent in the morning some motivation was always needed, cause the temperature at night and in theearly hours wasn’t that comfortable. During the day I passed some rock formations, one of the the árbol de piedras, a rock which looked like a tree.

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The way down to the laguna Colorada was very hard to ride, the destination close but it seemed not to get closer. But finally I was next to the lake, where the national park „Reserva National de Fauna Anadina Eduardo Avaroa“ started. Inbetween the day the Camille had further problems with its pedal, so that he arrived after me with one of the numerous trucks, which drove around the tourists.

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The pedal was fixed, welded by a mechanic and this in the middle of nowhere. After a night in the Refugio we started together, but after 10 kilometers the pedal brake again. So we had a last lunch together, before I went on climbing up the highest section of the Lagune route, while Camille went back to his mechanic.

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After another tough drive I arrived the geyser field. Steam was coming out of the earth and was blown away by a strong wind. Behind an abandoned house I set up my tent, with 4880 meters the highest point I ever camped on.

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The highest point I ever ride my bike followed the next morning, 4926 meters. After I reached the pass it went down to the Lagune de Chalviri, where a thermal bath waited for me. I directly rode my bike next to it and jumped in to relax. Two hours long I enjoyed the comfortable water and the nice view onto the Lagune.

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It was still early and so I decided to go on to the next highlight, the laguna verde and the laguna blanca. After another climb with headwind it went down again. Due to some sandy parts I was more sliding than riding down my bike. And when I arrived I was happy again to have found a nice spot to camp with a beautiful view over the Laguna Blanca.

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The Laguna Verde was just 2 kilometers away from my sleeping spot and at the time I arrived the outlook full of people. Some of them coriously started to ask me questions, below them as well other cyclists. And so again I felt like a wild animal or an mascot with whom you take fotos with. But the people were all friendly and took a foto of me.

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The last day in the south of Bolivia, heading to Chile and San Pedro de Atacama was less easy to ride. The wind already woke up in the morning and my imagination about the last pass was much more relaxed. On top my legs were quite tired after the last 6 days. The border was no problem again and finally I was on a paved street again. 2000 meters downhill sounded on tarmac sounded like a dream, but another strong head wind significantly prolonged the time to arrive in the Oasis of San Pedro de Atacama!

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Finally I arrived back in the civilisation, with all culinary amenities and a hot shower. It was a great ride and great motivation to do similar treks, apart from the main roads with significant sceneries around!

La bonita ciuadad de Cusco y las ruinas de Machu Picchu

After 5 days in Cusco, including the trip to Machu Picchu, I spent my last hours hours in the vegan Restaurant „Green Point“ to write. The restaurant does not just provide healthy, ecological and vegan food, but offers an pleasant atmosphere. But the best is the lunch offer for just 12 Soles,  which does include a salad from a buffet, a soup, a main course, a dessert and a frech juice. For the main course there are two options, between you can choose. Currently I’m just having a coffee while listening to the music of Vintage Reggae Café.

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Cusco entered the charts of my top cities in Latino America on number one. Cuenca y Cartagena had a great atmosphere as well, but Cusco had its special charme with numerous culinary and culture offers. The nice market of San Pedro, the neighborhood of San Blas, the narrow streets and the colonial buildings. Additionally there are several treks around to walk in the mountains or to discover the ruins of the Inkas. Cusco in pictures:

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I spent a full day in Cusco, walked around a lot, visited the museum Coricancha, gave away my camera to let it clean, visited the market and bought a new gas cartridge as well as some care products. So I was prepared to go to Machu Picchu the next day. There are several options to visit the city of the Inkas. You can take the service of one of the hundreds tour offices, which is maybe the most expensive possibility. Then you can follow the Inka trail or other treks, which will take several days. Another economical way and that’s what I have done, is the public transport, which I will sum up shortly.

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The map shows how to get from Cusco to Machu Picchu. At first you can take a bus for 15 Soles into direction Qillabamba and leave the bus at Santa Maria. To get there, the bus needs around 6 hours. Arrived in Santa Maria further taxis and small buses will wait for you to go go to Santa Teresa (10 soles, 1 hour) or Hidroeléctrica  (15 Soles,  1 1/2 hour). From Hidroeléctrica there is the possibility to take the train (38 $, 15 minutes) or to walk along the rails (2 hours). In Aqua Calientes there are many hostels in all price categories, so no need to reserve in advance. Also restaurants are numerous. If you want to avoid the touristic prices, go to the small market, which is near the Plaza de armas. There you get a meal for 6 soles. Usually  you stay one night in Aqua Caliente after a one day journey to arrive there. In the next morning you can take the bus (12 $, starts from 5:30) or walk (bridge opens at 5:00) up to the entrance of Machu Picchu pueblo (opens at 6:00). It’s a steep walk, but if you hurry up, you will arrive before the first buses.
For the tickets for Machu Picchu you have three possibilities. Machu Picchu Pueblo (128 soles), Machu Picchu Pueblo + Machu Picchu Mountain  (148 soles) and Machu Picchu Pueblo + Wayna Picchu Mountain. The tickets can be purchased in Cusco or near the Plaza de Armas in Aqua Calientes.

So, back to my experiences: I got up early in Aqua Calientes to walk up and arrive for the big mass of tourists and indeed I did it and after I entered the entrance I got to see the ruins without people while the llamas were running over the green areas inside the village. It was an awesome experience when I catched the first glimpse. It’s impressive that human beings were able to construct these houses and walls during that time, considering that it’s high up in the mountain and the stones are quite big and heavy. After I walked to the Inka bridge and walked around a bit, I went up to the mountain of Machu Picchu. I was still exhausted from the first climb and didn’t expect that another 500 meters steep walk up to the top waited for me. The weather at that morning also wasn’t the best, foggy, cold and during my way up I even went into the clouds. On the top I was surrounded by a big white soup of clouds and it took over an hour before I could look down. But after the torture of the climb and the amazing view over the ruins, which finally appeared, it was totally worth to wait for a while.

Waiting for the bridge to open.

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The view, when I arrived on the top of Machu Picchu.

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A part of the ruins were visible.

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And finally the clouds were gone.

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The street from Aqua Calientes to the entrance of Machu Picchu pueblo.

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Machu Picchu on our way back to Hydroeléctrica

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I left Cusco to Quiquijana, a small village 70 kilometers in the south of the city. There it finally worked, what I tried from time to time during my travel. What it is will be found on my blog in the next few days.

From Lima to the national park of Paracas

The desert and the beaches of Perus Coast, the Islands of Ballestas, the National Park of Pacaras, the Oasis of Huacachina, the Wine and Pisco of Ica, the archeological places of Nasca, the Colonial City of Cusco, the ruins of the Inkas at Machu Picchu and of course all the people along the way made my last weeks to an awesome adventure.
At the moment I’m sitting in the so called Green Point in the neighborhood of San Blas, enjoying my last day in this beautiful town of Cusco and looking back of what have happened since the day I left Lima.
Two weeks ago I left Lima and while I had a look on the fotos I realized again that there is a lot to write, so I guess this will be the first part. Here an overview of the places I stayed during last days (the whole mal can be found here):

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The coast in the south of Lima is full of little villages where the people of the Peruvian capital have houses for their holidays in summer. So while the houses were currently all empty, I camped on a green space next to the beach.

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On my way to Pisco I saw again a lot of little uninhabited houses. Also in the north of Lima there were hundreds of them, all basic, most of the time in a row. It seems like a support of the government to provide housing for poor people.

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Before the town Chincha big chicken farms dominate the landscape next to the sea. I guess thousands of chickens are produced here. „Produce“ cause they are caged in tiny boxes and don’t really have a lot of space.

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In Chincha itself the entrance was seamed by shops for wine and Pisco, the national drink of Peru. Still I had to go some more kilometers to reach Pisco, where the name of the drink comes from.

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Before the sunset I arrived Pisco.

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Paracas a small town, 15 kilometers from Pisco is a touristic place, where the main attraction is a boat trip to the so called „Islas Ballestas“. For 30 soles you can take a boat to the islands, where sea lions, penguins and a lot of birds can be seen. A very nice tour. But notice, on top of the price for the tour, you have to pay the entrance for the national park as well as a fee to enter the harbour.

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El candelabro de Pacaras  (the candlestick of Pacaras)

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The islas Ballestas

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The Panamericana provided the short and paved way to Ica, but I decided to go deeper into the national park of Pacaras, which is basically sand and water. Some formations of the dunes were amazing and a lagune with flamencos was a nice spot to have a break.

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I arrived at the „Laguna Grande“, where do exist two little fisher villages, where live the only people in that park.
I was very sad about the pollution of the beach in the middle of a protected zone. Plastic next to dead birds, penguins and fish along the coast. The reason for the death of the animals were obvious.

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Well, I didn’t waned to stay at that cemetery, so I found a place to stay a few kilometers further with a beautiful view to the sea. Sunset, sunrise.

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The last 70 kilometers to Ica were very lonesome, but more on that after lunch. 🙂

Ecuadors South

Descansar – Relax, nothing can be better at the end of a cycling day to calm down. Today I stay in the courtyard of a restaurant/beer garden and I hover in the sound of pleasant latin music. I wanted to feet my blog more often, but didn’t happen. So, let’s summarize the highlights.
Cuenca to Loya: Three days, three big mountains. It’s strange, cause back at home 1500 meters of going up with my bicycle would have been a hard day after what my muscles would be aching for some days. In the Andes of Ecuador it became normal. Sure, it is not a piece of cake, but I feel to get used to it. And the outlook into the valleys rewarded myself for the up and downs of the streets. On the last stage to Loja, I followed the suggestion of my navigation system komoot and took after the village San Lucas the road along the identically named river. Although it was dirt road, the shortcut was worth it.

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Loja: Cochsurfing or Warmshowers in Ecuador didn’t n seem to be an easy thing, 6 requests and one answer. The couchsurfer offered me to ask a friend, where I could spent the night. I called the friend, as agreed, waited in the park, wrote him again, but he never showed up or answered. On the day I left Loja, I demolished a door out of glas in the cheap hotel I stayed in. Furthermore my heavy bike lost its balance and crashed into the neighbour’s door. After that I felt a bit like a villain, cause they treated me like I did it on purpose. After visiting a nearby workshop I paid 3 times more than the actual stay! On top it rained while leaving Loja. So I guess I won’t come back to this place.

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Vilcabamba: So many travellers, I met on my way, told me to visit this little village in the south of Loja. After a short climb, it was going down until Malacatos to crest another hill. In the valley Vilcabamba appeared and surrounded by a beautiful scenery it was really worth to see it. But principally it were the people who make my stay, what it was. Some kilometers from the village I stayed in the garden of a American woman, who have chosen this quit place, to built up her new life. I was not the only guest, a columbian couple and an awesome guy from the states also spent some time at her place. The next day we went to a traditional sweat in the meditation center. Pouring water on glowing hot stones heated up the air and rose the humidity. The guide who leaded us trough the evening was singing songs and praying in a native language. This experience didn’t just feel good, with the procedure it was definitely a highlight of my stay.

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Vilcabamba to Macará: Instead of going back to my favourite town Loja and taking the Panamericana, I decided to ride my bike over Gonzanamá to the Peruvian border. 90% of the road is dirt road and before heading to the coast in Peru the Andes show again, that it miss the word „flat“ in their dictionary. And on top there doesn’t exist sufficient word to describe the landscape.

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Near the border to Peru, the Ecuadorians produce a lot of bricks of loam to built their houses. Therefor they put mud in mold, dry it and finally heat it up in an oven, which is also made out of loam bricks.

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Besides the bricks they crow corn, which they dry next to their houses.

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I nearly had a flat tyre in Ecuador and was looking forward to write „puncture – free Ecuador“, but on my two last days I had to patch my tube twice. However, it’s way better than at the beginning. 

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Over the low clouds I rode the last part and finally down to the border to Peru.

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To leave the country I had to fill out a sheet of paper with the usual information. A long cue but just one clerk let this procedure take a while. But finally I could cross the bridge to Peru, where the formalities of the entry took place.

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Trough the mountains of Ecuador

At the place of the Casta Restaurant and a beautiful view on the white summit of Chimborazo I will let you know what happened during my first days in Ecuador besides the experience of hiking Cotopaxi.

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After we visited the beautiful church in Las Lajas, we had to cross the border to Ecuador. We were still in a group of 4, Tobias, David and Joanne and me. The last view kilometres in Colombia offered us another breattaking landscape. The border-crossing itself was really easy going and with some loud music playing outside the immigration building, it felt like a celebration.

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The first town in Equador was Tulcán, not the most beautiful place, but still worth a visit due to the cemetery. First of all, all cemeteries in Latin America I’ve seen so far are totally different from the ones we have in Germany. They show a more friendly face and white is the dominant colour. Heaps of fresh flowers express, that the church is a big topic for the latin people. The cemetery in Tulcán is outstanding, because the gardeners change the hedges into art.

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The first night in Ecuador we stayed in a rather expensive hotel in San Gabriel. No hostel was available in the village and due to my birthday Internet connection was demanded. The next day we cycled up and down to the lake of Ibarra. A long part of the street to Ibarra was renewed and closed for transit cars, so we four bikers had it more or less on our own. Most of that part was already done and paved, but downhill we bombed down the gravel road through the road wo works. After we arrived the river, which most of the time indicates the turning point, we had do climb up some hundred meters to arrive at the beautiful lagune, close to Ibarra, where two Germans opened the Finca Sommerwind, a campsite for caravans and tents as well as a german café, which opens during the weekends. Hans and Patricia welcomed us and due to some days with a lot of climbing, we decided to stay one more night at their place. We even got baked a good bread by Patricia, which we enjoyed as well as a barbecue and cooking pasta.

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On the road again we passed Otavalo and we’re getting closer to the Equador. And finally behind a corner we crossed the line and entered the southern half of the earth. Two monuments line the streets. One earth – shaped stone, which was built first and is not exactly on the right position, and a sundial, where the non-profit organization Quitsato gave us a very interesting introduction about the place, their work and the alignment of the maps of the world, which they consider to align to the east instead of North,  which became common.

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The last few kilometers to the highest capital on earth on about 2800  meters above the sea level, Quito, was our next destination. With KALARI chocolate in my mouth and music in my ear, I climbed the last ascent to the big urban area. Arrived David and I looked for the Cotopaxi Tour.  Due to the weather forecast we decided to shift the tour by one day, which was the right decision. So the next day was free to discover the old part of Quito, including the highest church in South America, the Basilica de sagrado voto.

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After the amazing tour to the Cotopaxi, David and Joanne went to Germany for the wedding of David’s Sister. They took some of my stuff to Germany to reduce the weight of my bike – another blog entry about the topic of redundant equipment will follow.
Tobias and I went down further south, riding on the so called street of the volcanos. Two times we camped in gardens of locals, visited the market in Pujilí before we arrived Ambato. In the park we dried our tents before we took part in a tour through the museum of Juan Montalvo, who wrote the national anthem of Ecuador and became one of the most important writers of the country. His thoughts had and still have a great impact of the development of Ecuador. His corpse is kept in a big hall next to the museum.

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We left our bikes in the inner yard of the restaurant next to the museum, where we met Leo, the owner of the Casa de Ciclistas by accident. He just dropped his daughter at that place and suddenly introduced to us. A real big coincidence! He gave us the direction to his house, where we met again. Leo, who started to offer his place to ciclists some years ago. In 2011 he started a guest book, which was very in testing to have a look at. On top he told us some stories about other cyclists, who stayed at his place. He owns a bike shop, in which we set up our sleeping accomondation. On our departure he gave us a medal as a present, I eternalized in his guest book and schwup, back on the road.

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The path over Píllaro to Patate was just wonderful, small little villages, lots of agriculture areas and a nice valley down to Patate, from where it is possible to see the before mentioned two volcanos. Currently we are still waiting for the rain to stop, but it is a nice place with partly annoying music, we listen to since we had breakfast.

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Today we will head to Baños and then down into the amazonian area next to Puyo.

Lovely Colombia

Colombia is turning to my favourite country so far. Nice people, beautiful nature and some more great moments on my way south. Lying in the grass,  surrounded by a bunch of colombian kids, who explore all of our stuff and bombard us with heaps of questions, I’m trying to remember the last days to write this blog entry – and finally the kids are gone, so here we go.
We left the friends of Tobias after the breakfast and went down to Medellín again, where I forgot my Towel in a hostel. After a terrific 1000 m descent we had to climb the whole day and ended up in a restaurant on the top, where we met two Australian cyclists, Joanne and David, who is originally from Germany, but moved to Melbourne several years ago. After we talked for a while we decided to camp behind the restaurant on a horse meadow.

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The next few days we shared with the two other „viajeros en bici“, which we will meet again in Equador, where I will join David to hike on of the highest mountains in South America. After we left the horses alone on their meadow, we descended another 45 kilometers into the valley of the Rio Cauca, which is the second largest river of Colombia. The view from the mountains were amazing and the speed of our heavy loaded bikes reached their maximum.

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But it took us over and hour to reach La Pintada, the village in the valley, where we enjoyed our daily „Hugo naturales con leche“ (frischer Saft mit Milch). This juices became one of my favourite drinks and now I consume about 4 a day if it’s available. Orange, Guanábana, Banana, Maracuya, Papaya, Strawberry, Lulo, Lemon, Grape, Mango and some more fruits are served ice-cold and give me the necessary power and refreshment during the days. Well, after we enjoyed our drinks we followed the river and tried to make some kilometers, knowing that the next day will be a hard one, climbing up to Manizales. Joanne and David found a super cheap hotel in Irra while Tobias and me drove out the village to camp next to a small tributary river. After a hot day we laid down into the refreshing stream for a while and enjoyed the last sunbeams with a bottle of colombian beer.

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The next day we had to climb 1600 meters and so we started early to have some hours in the cool morning. The mountain seemed to be endless but half the way we were accompanied by a nice girl riding her road bike. Finally we made it and all four cyclists checked in the same hostel to spent three nights in Manizales, which belongs to the famous coffee region of Colombia. An hour by car, two volcanos with an altitude of over 4000 meters stick out in the horizon. I never had been that high, but after been asked of joining a 2000 meter downhill ride by bike I was breathing in the thin air in he next morning. A Austrian guy, David an me went up to 4150 meters by car and got some coca tea, before we were chasing down our mountainbikes. It was an awesome experience in an intense I never felt before on an offroad downhill track.

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After I had been back on solid ground I relaxed a bit and followed the invitation of the girl on the road bike,  we met before while cycling up the hill. The others stayed at the hostel, so it was only me who where collected at the hostel to attend the dinner at the place of the girl and it’s family. It was another intereting evening with a lot of talking only Spanish and by getting to know a wealthy family.
The next day Joanne, Tobias and I discovered the city with all of its churches and parks.

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During the day the colour yellow became the dominant colour in the streets, because Colombia had to play it’s second game in the Copa America against the favourite Brasil. The mood was growing and reached its top in the evening, where a joyful tension was filling the air. The soccer team of the Colombianos made their dream come true and after 14 years of not beating the big rail, they won 1:0 and Alm the town drowned in cheer.
Tobias and I left Manizales in the next morning, while Joanne and David stayed one night more, but the time will come to see each other again. The first few kilometers we flew down the mountain to go to Pereira, where we stayed at a Warmshowers place behind the down in a calm area. The house of the couple was amazing. Full of Fotos and painting, as well as books, records and heaps of well-chosen decoration. A garden with fruits, vegetables, herbs, chicken and coneys gave this beautiful place a complete character. The couple and their son traveled as well down south to Patagonia some months ago and provided us everything a bicycle heart needs to be pleased and feel comfortable.

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On the descent to Pereira, Tobias fell of his bike, but luckily nothing bad happens. But on the next day he favored his bruise on his upper leg, so that I went to Filandía alone, while he went ahead to our next stay. Filandía is famous for its beautiful and coloured buildings, as well as having some great Coffee Fincas around. So I enjoyed a coffee as well as a Hugo con leche in nice atmosphere in the center, before I went on to the similar but more touristic village Salento.

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Arrived there, I couldn’t believe to see a small snack bar with vegetarian and vegan food, burgers, falafel, hummus, guacamole and of course Hugo naturales- wow. It might be nothing special in Germany anymore, but on a continent, where the nearly just only eat carne and where they will tell you in restaurants, not to have any vegetarian meal, in these places it seems to be like a oasis in the desert. Furthermore, some South Americans don’t even know what it means to be Vegetarian – after telling them not to have any kind of mest/carne, they will offer you some pollo/chicken or they will bring you a meal which includes some kind of meat mixed in chickpeas. Salento seems to became adapted to the demands of tourists and the streets were full of international visitors.

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Anyway, it’s a nice spot as well and it is close to the Valley of Cocora, which descent up to the mountains with a river in its heart and ends in a small village from where you can do several hikes into the mountains. Huge palms adorn the slopes and create a nice view of the surrounding landscape. We camped next to the creek and fell asleep under the lapping of the stream.

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I did a quick hike at 7 in the morning up the hill to gather another view over the valley, before we rode back to Salento. Nearby I attended a coffee tour, where I got to know the whole process of the growing of coffee plants as well as the procedure of gaining high quality coffee, including the picking of coffee cherries and a delicious coffee at the end of the tour.

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On the way back I was given a lift up the steep hill to Salento to meet Tobias again, who relaxed in the park in the meantime. What happened afterwards is to be considered my hardest climb ever. Another 1100 meters, but this time on a gravel road up to 3200 meters over the sea. On top we found abandoned house with a great view, where we stayed over night. The first time I had to wear my winter equipment and the wind was strong as well. At the horizon we could observe a thunderstorm.

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The next day was not much better concerning the up and downs in the road and most of it again on loose ground. On top lonesome cows and horses walked along the path. For the eyes the views were pure joy, but for my knees it became a big challenge.

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We arrived in Ibagué after two physically demanding days and we’re hosted by another warmshower. This time we made Pfannkuchen instead of Spätzle and went together with the father of our host to a short trip into the city center before I fell into a deep sleep.
Today we went on to La espiral and further south to Neiva, the next big town, which is still 120 km away. We asked for a plce to camp along the road at got offered a meadow behind some houses, which we share with cows and goats.

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Besieged by four kids, we couldn’t really enjoy a calm afternoon, but the kids seemed to have fun with running around our tents or overwhelming us with questions.
In front of my little home I lie underneath the starry sky about to fall asleep again. To the friends who will attend the Fusion: Enjoy the time, the atmosphere and dance like nobody is watching!

Medellín and the surroundings

First of all, I can say that I totally recovered from my diarrhea, which was caused by tap water. Some European stomachs might be able to be fine, but mine seems to be special.
After leaving the region Santa Marta, I headed to Barranquilla to take the road down south to Medellín. But due to my infection I stayed some more days on the coast. I was hosted again in Puerto Colombia by the warmshower-girl and her lovely family, I stayed with some days before. During theses days I got to know the city a as well as the family of my host and their guests. The city, which was once the most important colonial harbour in South America, lost most of its glamour. The long pier into the water where used to unload the arriving ships and put the goods directly on a train. Along the coast street artists constructed some sculptures three years ago, which embellish the city as well. With another couchsurfing girl from Czech Republic I strolled around a second time and on my last evening we went out to a nearby bar to inhale the atmosphere of the locals enjoying the weekend.

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Due to the imminent arrival of Tobias and to recover some more days, I took the night bus to Medellín. The climate on the coast was amazingly hot and so I was looking forward to the pleasant temperatures of the mountains. I arrived early in the morning an spotted a road which was closed for cars and which was full of bicycles and a some inline skaters. So I throw myself into the floods and as usual it didn’t take long to be asked the question of my origin and about my path. I was invited for a drink and to stay in a house of colombian cyclist, but some minutes later another guy accompanied me, showed me around the town the whole day and finally offered me as well to stay in his small apartment in the center of the town, a part which I was warned of to be the most dangerous part of the city. The next day I discovered the city a bit more, went to the market and climbed up a little mountain in the center to enjoy the outlook at the metropolis, which is surrounded by hills covered by houses.

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Tobi arrived around noon in Medellín and after a stop in a nice Café in the south, where we met a nice guy from the Staates, we climbed up 1000 meters to Las Palmas, where we were hosted by a former workmate of Tobias and his family. The house where on an altitude of around 2500 meters and for the first time I felt cold on my travel.

We left most of our luggage in Las Palmas and pedaled to Guatapé, where we found a big rock in the middle of a beautiful landscape. Also the way there was worth the excursion, a region shaped by agriculture with their local food, which we tried on our way back: Arepa de Chocolo con Queso. Guatapé itself is situated next to a region dominated by many little islands in a storage reservoir – muy lindo.

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On our way back, we met a lady in Rionegro, who took us on a discovery tour through the city and introduced as to half of the town. She rode a bicycle, supported by a combustion engine and was jealous about our trip across South America. She loved to accompany ourselfes, but finally she went back to her shared flat to prepare the birthday party of a friend.

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I already went further down to the south of Colombia, but before telling some more stories about climbing up more mountains, Mountainbike from volcanos, I will leave you with a foto I took in Medellín. A message on a bike which is the counterpart to mine: una bici más – un carro menos! (one more bike – one car less)

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