Thursday, February 24, 2011

Colombian Caribbean

We left Tunja and rode to Bucaramanga. It was a 7 hour ride of twists and turns, ups and downs. We rode through San Gil, popular for rock climbing, rafting and advenure sports and  past Canyon del Chicamocha, which has a cable car going up to the top of the mountain with a theme park perched on the top, straight after this were tight switchbacks that dropped from the top of the mountain sharply down to the valley bottom which gave Sammy's brakes a good workout.


Got into Bucaramanga in the late afternoon, and a kind local biker, Jonathan  helped us find our hotel. There was a lot of one ways and no left turns allowed, so it was quite a challenge in the rush hour traffic. We could feel the heat as the elevation dropped to 1000 m. It was 25C.

The next day, was a very long day. We estimated that it was a 10 hour ride to Santa Marta. We were on the road by 7:30 am, and could already feel the heat. As we dropped further in elevation down to 100m within the first hour the thermometer climbed steadily to 45C! and stayed there nearly all day - rather toasty!

It proved to be one of the longest riding days of the trip, it took 2 and a half  hours to do the first 95 kms - slow going with traffic and tight back to back bends, road works from some large landslides - some over 2 km's down valleys and a bridge had been replaced with a single lane temporary 'Bailey bridge' causing traffic line ups of several km's on each side - thank heavens for being on Sammy as we were able to ride up the outside or inside of the line ups and jump to the front - there has to be some perks to make up for not having air conditioning, comfy seats, a stereo or cup holders....

After 545 kms and 9 hours of being cooked we probably didn't look or smell too good as we walked into the rather posh Tamaca Beach Resort Hotel just South of Santa Marta, to see if we could blag a deal on a room for a few days. After some work we were in, as suspected the pretty Colombian reception clerk avoided touching Grifs sweaty BMW jacket and wrist as she put the hotel wrist band on him like he had the plague!!!

Our resort
After a  free Rum cocktail and a dip in the swimmng pool with a beautiful sunset, things were looking (and smelling) rosier, a rather nice supper followed and after unpacking the bike and covering the entire hotel  room with our gear and the nice prospect of not having to go anywhere the next day, apart from to the pool/bar  it was time for some sleep.

Sunset dip

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