Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 3: COLOMBIA

We left the outskirts of Tulcán Ecuador bright and early at 07:00 this morning. It was pretty cold out being on a motorcycle with an elevation was 2,950 m but we were dressed warm and we crossed into Colombia at Rumichaca with no problems. (Rumichaca is shared by both Ecuador and Colombia.) We would now be using Colombian pesos instead of the US dollar.

Welcome to Colombia

As we rode through Ipiales just over the border, we noticed a Colombian essence. Many were using a different type of horse cart to carry their wares, with 1 man sporting a bright and happy smile as he trotted along in his cart. Woollen ponchos were a very popular covering for warmth and have been used since pre-Hispanic times by peoples of the Andes.

From the high plateau of Ipiales, the Pan-American Highway soon dropped us into a verdant green gorge on a thrilling twisting and turning road. The lush hills and valleys seemed to be sectioned for farming and were quilted in greens and browns - grasses, crops? We also saw so many cascading waterfalls, with 1 falling from the high top of the mountain, flowing under the road that was cut in the steep slopes, and then continuing way down into the valley below us. It was the longest flowing waterfall we have every seen!

This is 1 very long waterfall!

Roadside security checks have been numerous. We were almost always waved through with a smile and a thumbs up. When we were stopped and checked, we were always dealt with in a friendly manner.

We've noticed mega motorcycles in Colombia - individuals as well as groups. We talked to a group of about 15 BMW adventure riders travelling from Alaska to the southern tip of South America. They were from all over - Europe, Canada, US. Tolls are free all throughout Colombia for motorcycle riders. But in some of the mountainous areas, the roads were pretty bad - full of potholes - particularly from Pasto to Popayán but the spectacular scenery more than made up for it, some of the most dramatic we have seen.

We travelled 316 km today and stayed in Popayán which is rich in colonial architecture and has a historic downtown. It is also known as Ciudad Blanco, the white city, as most of its buildings in the old section are white.

No comments: