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On the road . August 2009 . Colombia and Ecuador

map route Colombia and Ecuador

Iguana Guesth. [website ] Cali, Columbia, 15-08-09
Ibagué to Santiago de Cali
(5 cycle days; 1 rest days; 369km; 5100m)

Ibagué to Cajamarca (38km; 1099m)
Cajamarca to Armenia (72km; 1580m)
Armenia to Buga (109km; 595m)
Buga to Lago Calima (51km; 1018m)
Lago Calima to Cali (99km; 808m)

Green spikey caterpillars...
You can't describe today any other way than another day of Colombian climbing. As soon as we have manoeuvred a path through the chaos of Ibagué traffic and one way streets we are sliding out via the back door slums. Homeless clutching grubby white sacks, wade through rubbish in the hope of finding something useful to pop in one of them. What they find of value in there, I do not really know. It all looks like muck to me, but the activity is fervent and by the sound of the delighted whoop as I cycle by, collection is definitely taking place.

A couple of colourfully painted wall murals cheer up the scene a little as we further our way out of town and then what I see around me takes second precedence...

read on

enamel platesTip of the month: the benefit of enamel plates
Okay, metal plates are going to weigh a little more plastic ones, but they do have their advantages...

Not only are they cheap and robust, but they can keep your food warm too. Firstly, in combination with a tea towel-wrapped cooking pot, you can save from two thirds to half the cooking time of pasta and rice. Secondly, used as a base and lid, when making something elaborate like homemade chips or a pile of pancakes, the plates can keep one batch hot while cooking another: especially if you cover them with a tea towel. Furthermore, set next to an open fire they have similar benefits for keeping your tucker at the temperature you like it.


Ibagué (Colombia) - Quito (Ecuador)
Kilometres: 1126 kilometres and 810 metres
Riding days: 17
Alti meters: 18,803 (new record!)
Weather: generally more overcast and cooler (because of the altitude)
Best accommodation: Hotel Pasviveros in Ipiales. Everything Colombia is about: friendliness, hospitality and warmth all under one roof in the centre of Ipiales.

Special thanks to:
Luigi, Alba, Valentina and Donatella for letting us stay at their place, for the food, the great conversations and the tour to Salento • Hermes for offering us a place to stay in Tuluá (although we declined) • José Oscar, his family and Baptiste Roux for showing such generous hospitality on several occasions and taking us on tour around recycling Cali. And for arranging the interview with the El País newspaper • Jonathan and his girlfriend for the pineapple gift • The motorcycle 'gang' for inviting us to have a drink in El Pedregal • Karsten for accompanying us on the road • All the drivers that have given us the 'thumbs up'.

09: flat tyre (Son)
16: flat tyre (Son)

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