Bogotá/Colombia – Ipiales/Colombia

2 weeks we spend in Bogotá. More than the physical effort, for me the permanent change is a stress factor, on such a long journey. Every day you pack your stuff, mount the bike and move on. Also in Bogotá we have some things to settle, but relax a good part of the time in the apartment of Elisa and Maik.

Most important is the extension of our tourist Visa. Always again annoying to be dependent on these formalities, especially if the arbitrariness is so apparent. There should have not been a problem for us to get the official 90 days without any payments, but now it can not be changed again we were told. The necessary extension seems to be also a source of extra income, including the little businesses established directly in front of the entrance. Passport photos, several papers and copies – because it needs these forms whatsoever, even if the authorities afterwards take digital photos of us, plus 2 digital fingerprints from each finger of our right hand. I am wondering, if these data, in a sense of good co-operation, will not end up with the US authorities.

A trip to the north out of the city brings us to the beautiful climbing area of Suesca. Not only that Cycling is a popular sport in Colombia, also Freeclimbing found supporters here. It´s a good feeling to hang on a rock again. But due to the lack of training during the last 18 months my form is not at its best. However it is enough, not to feel too bad. And, Climbing is simply better than Sailing ;).

On Sunday, a day for Cyclists and Skaters here in Bogotá, we leave the city accompanied by Elisa and Maik on their bikes. Elisas dad and and later her brother with a friend follow by car. From the 2600m high Sabana of Bogota it goes far down again, down to the hot valley of the Magdalena river, which we follow to the South. Afterwards we have to climb up the central mountain range, then up again and down again and up again,… many succeeding days it goes in average 1400 altitude meters up, up to over 3000m and down again. Hard work, but there is also a constant change of the beautiful landscape, dependent on the altitude. Its geography is one of the reasons, why Colombia is considered as one of the countries with the highest biodiversity.

We reach San Augustin. A German couple of cycling enthusiasts, Paola and Igel (, have there a very nice Finca, the Casa de Ciclistas, where other bicycle travelers are very welcome, even if the two are not there. They are still on tour, right now in Argentina, after 7 years in total since they left Germany.

Here we meet 3 other cyclists – Andrew from the USA on tour with a Mountain bike and a trailer ( and Stefan and Pius from Switzerland, also two recumbent cyclists (

I am very happy to meet them. Since tour start in October 2006 there are the first long distance tourers on recumbents, I meet. Recumbent cyclists still remain a rarity. There were rumours already some time ago, that there are two other recumbents in Colombia, a few weeks ahead of us. It’s like the game ”whispering post”, where you mostly just get bits of information, who else is around, traveling. After a talkative night with Swiss Röstli, the 3 mount a bus the next day, to pass the stretch to Popayan on 4 wheels, while we spend another day in San Augustin. We hope to meet them again in Quito/Ecuador.

San Augustin is an important archaeological site, with some funny stone sculptures, left from ancient precolombian cultures. The next stretch to Popayan is tough. It goes up to nearly 3200m and the road is unpaved to a large extent. It becomes even more unpleasant with the heavy rains. The stones become slippery, the road muddy. Waterfalls pour water directly onto the road. Some smaller landslides. One blocks the road completely. While the few motor traffic has to halt, I take the bicycles under my arm, including the luggage approx. 50kg, and carry them through the landslide. I am sinking up to my knees into the mud and advance only with some effort. Then it is done. After a bit more then 2 days this stretch lays behind us. We reach the historically beautiful town of Popayan.

Stages like this one and the infinite ascents strain Denises motivation occasionally. The
wonderful scenery then only is of limited help. Courageously she keeps on riding, although there are things, which she would prefer to do instead. For sure my former tour experiences are of some help for me. I think: well, it could be worse and well, it´s not too bad.

After 2 months in Colombia we reach the border to Ecuador. For our „Good Bye“ we almost miss the sound of the Colombian national anthem, as we were hearing it often at 6 pm in the radio, or as the “kick out song” in the supermarkets.

A Special thanks again to Elisa, Maik y Elisas dad for their support on our entire tour through Colombia, with information, accommodations, company and much more…


translated by Maik

pictures for this article: Bogota/Kolumbien – Ipiales/Kolumbien : Fotos

8. Juni 2008 - Tom & Maik | english texts | Kommentare :: comments :: comentarios | Inhalt drucken

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