Setting foot in South America

Since leaving the mountains of Mexico, our eyes were set on South America. Many backpackers I met in Central America often reminsce of thier time south. Tell them how beautiful Mexico is and they would respond with a blink of an eye “Oh wait ’til you get to Colombia”.  Browse long enough on the internet and you’ll find the beautiful photos of cyclists riding along the clear blue skies of the snowcapped Andes mountain. And so I’m so excited to just be here.

We arrived in Colombia, our first country in South America.  I ramped up my education of Colombia by watching Narcos – that tv show about one Pablo Escobar sneaking drugs from Peru to Colombia and into the new world. Frankly, I was hoping the show reveals which route in the mountains the drug cartel drive their convoy smuggling the contraband from Peru to Colombia. I’m pretty sure the narcos choose the backroads. That would have been an interesting route to retrace and form a backbone of a route in South America.  We arrived in Colombia without any planned route yet.

Our decision to start in Medellin was mainly based on my curiosity on how  it was portrayed in Narcos. Of course the Paisas already long turned its back on those dark days but it obviously left an indelible mark on its collective psyche.

 

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Old school coffee machine. You’ll never find bad coffee in Medellin.

We ended up in the botanical garden as we walk around the city. Medellin boasts the only light rail transit in Colombia making going around easier than say Bogota.

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Highly recommended walking tour of Medellin
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Locals take part. Guy on the right grabed the mic from our guide so he can personally welcome us to Medellin
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Botero Plaza

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Botero sculpture after a bomb explosion in 1997. A reminder of Medellin’s violent past
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Inspiration for future travel. Torontonians hanging out in Medellin. we met Helen and her daughter Cathi in our dorm. Grandma Helen went river rafting in San Gil, paragliding in Medellin and by choice stays in dorms whenever they travel
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We’ve spent too much time in Medellin and was eager to start easily navigating our way our of the city using the bike lanes
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And rested on our first day in the Casa de Ciclistas just outside Medellin
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Where we met frenchman Alan, discovered biketouring at the young age of 50, and never looked back. He spend half a year in France working waiting for retirement, and 6 months travelling on bike “anywhere”.
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We bid goodbye to the daughter of our host, who owns a nifty bike shop, as we start our real ride heading east to San Gil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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