Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Las Brisas to Popoyan Colombia

Waking up on a cold mountain in hot Colombia!!

After our late night discovery in the little wooden lifeless shack of Hosteria Las Brisas, we found it to be quite the bustling wooden shack full of life in the morning! I would have never imagined this to be a major depot for the mountain!

Early morning warm sun feels so goooood....The owner made us a wonderful large cup of hot chocolate... we are HAPPY!!!!!! 

 Kevin brings out his inner model for this cuppa shot ;-)

So much is happening in such a short space of time!  These mountain bikers show up first on their way down the mountain (already?)  They had camped higher up, freezing, so they are more or less needing to ride early to get warm.


Next came a group of tourists in a car heading up to Parque Los Nevados for a guided hike and they are getting a nice hot cuppa as well.

Then!  The milk man comes in!  


I'm finding this all quite fascinating in this day and age that milk is delivered by horse and donkey..


Then! A big truck pulls up.. Gee whiz!  All these men jump out and start bringing big sacks of potatoes from a storage bin below the house.  I'm guessing both the milk and potatoes are being dispatched from here just like any warehouse distribution on the highways in America.



What a beautiful spot in the world to wake up to... Wow...



Early morning walk includes two VERY happy dogs..! I think most any dog I've ever known is ALWAYS happy to go for a walk with a human.. always!! The stayed with me, but not sure why. They just attacked and played with each other the whole way, but when I turned around and came back, so did they.




Okay, seriously, we better pack up now and get on the road.


Even though the lady at the hostel tells us we can't ride through the park, we still want to go on up and check it out for ourselves.


Yup.. she was right!  The park rangers are no way going to let 2 motorcycles through!  But they were super nice and had us come in and learn about the Parque Nacional Los Nevados.  We told them about our sleepless night due to elevation head aches, and the ranger gave us heaps of information about drinking extra water, etc. It was all in Spanish, but we get it.. then she gave us each another bottle of water.  So nice!  This is a great place for high altitude hiking.  Sounds and looks awesome, but it's not on our list today. ;-)


Some of the animals you can see here are the Condor (would love to see one of those!) and Puma (aka cougar, mountain lion).  I've seen plenty at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center where I volunteer in Indiana, but none in this hemisphere nor in the wild.  Looks like I won't be seeing them today either..


Aww, well.  If it weren't for the fact that the road up here last night was amazing and the views we woke up to also amazing, then I might be disappointed.  But we are happy and decide to head back down the hill.


The dirt track turns into a paved track.



So if we didn't explore the dirt track last night, this is the paved road we could have climbed instead.  I'm more happy with our dirt choice! But this is pretty too and it's always nice to not have to go back the same way we came.


Mud slide!


Eventually made it back to Manizales where we re-configure our route plan.  Kevin loves to get advice from the locals.


Plus a quick stop to get some fuel and take off all our layers of winter gear so we can be back into summer riding at a lower elevation once again.


A very big part of Central America and Colombia is sugar cane.


These super long road trains can be quite fun to pass or quite dangerous if you time it a bit close with oncoming traffic.


Closing in on our destination of Popayan, Colombia with over 400 km riding today.

With our late start from the Park Los Nevados, we arrived Popayan all those kilometers later in the dark. Scoured the town for a place to stay.  Once the bikes were tucked away in a garage with massive dead bolts, we were free to wander the town to find some dinner.  I know it's South America, but we found a 3 table restaurant and a little old lady who made a fantastic Italian pizza and bottle of red.

Kevin is still practicing with the new camera and I must say his following night shots are better than any I've ever taken! 




Hasta manana....  Ciao!

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