Notes From Week 4 (Dec. 17-23):
- Colombia: Planeta Rica, Caucasia, Medellin, and Bogota
- Distance traveled: Bike: 73 km / 45 miles, Bus: 729 km / 452 miles
- Spent: $32 / day (includes bus fares and hostels)
Week 4: Colombian Chaos
Due to the dely we suffered due to last week's illnesses, we borded a bus to Medellin--we wanted to spend a few days in the city before we had to be in Bogota for Christmas. It was an amazing bus ride because half way through it, we started to feel really cold... We had had enough of the super hot costal weather and we were exstatic to finally be in the mountains! The landscape was beautiful but terrifying, as we had to put all of our faith in the busdriver not to lose control around the sharp turns and plummet to our deaths. Immediately after our arrival, we found a cheap hotel. We tried to get comfy, but the room was so small that one couldn't even sit properly on the toilet--we had to sit on it sideways.
The most lovely part of being at the hostel was interacting with the always smiling 50-something-year-old custodian. Fittingly, her name was Luz ('light' in English), and she emmitted rays of happiness. Her loving manner touched our hearts and we'll never forget her. The day Adam was really sick, she mothered him by restricting his diet ("Are you crazy? You can't eat yogurt when you have a stomach flu!") and she even made him a special homemade soup meant to remedy the illness. If we would have asked, she would probably have even read us a bedtime story and tucked us in.
Once we felt better, we ventured out into the big city. We met up with Phillip, one of our German friends from our sailboat trip from Panama, and a Brit named Liam. Together went to Parque Arvi via a cable-car that overlooks the entire city of Medellin. We spent the day riding bikes and walking in a National Park.
While getting on buses with our bikes is usually pretty stressfull, boarding our night bus to Bogota went flawlessly. Our bikes were put under the bus, our seats were comfortable, and we were wating for the driver to check our tickets. We were totally relaxed. "Excuse me sirs,' said the driver as he looked at our tickets, 'You're both on the wrong bus..." We FREAKED OUT. Our bus was scheduled to leave 15 minutes ago, so Adam darted through the terminal in search of the correct bus. Luckily, it was still there and waiting for us. "Get on the bus now!" they told us. "But we have bikes too," we informed them, and at the speed of light, we transferred our bikes and gear from the old bus to the new one. The bus staff was not happy with us, because we made the entire bus wait for us. The bus took off from the terminal as we were still finding our seats.
We recommend staying just outside the city center. Most tourists choose to stay in the El Poblado neighborhood, a safe place known for its many bars and clubs. If you're looking for something a little more laid back, we would recommend where we stayed, the Palm Tree Hostal.
We would also recommend taking the MetroCable to the top of Medellin. At the end of the MetroCable there is a National Park where there are shops, and roads for hiking and biking (you can rent a bike for free, as long as you have a form of ID).