Paradise on earth or a place to live

Hilly landscapes with fields of coffee, plantains and other plants with honest and warm-hearted people all around

To get out from the side parts of Medellin takes us two hours and it’s not downhill as we hoped. On the way we find the same rack how I have and explain to the mechanic in the shop what we need to drill and how to adjust it to be able to mount it to Jan’s bike (won’t say how precise and centered is the hole).

We come to the crossroad with Panamericana with hope that from here on it will go just downhill, but the reality is that we first need to pedal more than hour slow and steep up. The reward is then 40km looong downhill and beautiful views.

On the way we see demonstration of many miners and also many policemen who watch that they don’t protest too much. On horizon is also a really sharp mountain which looks like a tip of pencil.

After 67km we get to Bolombolo. There are no firemen so we try to ask at defenza civil (something like general rescue). They find us perfect spot in the town, we take shower at their bathroom and the policemen stop by to ensure us, that they will keep an eye on us. We talk with many children and some women in the park and we are like a little attraction.

There is a final soccer match and the team of Medellin wins. Real madness in the village begins – people are celebrating with horns, drums, flags, dresses, dancing and singing, many cars and motorbikes running around, they throw flour (it looks like smoke)… almost like in Slovakia after ice hockey :).

After a good sleep and breakfast in the park we continue and follow the road close to a river – no cars, small climbs, beautiful nature, cool shadow of the trees and sometimes a crowd of cows… cycling paradise!

La Pintada lies on the crossroads with panamericana but we continue to mountains. The pavement disappears and there is just dust road and gravel and every passing car or truck leaves us in a cloud of dust.

We cool down in a river and the road continues just uphill. We struggle on the easiest gear and keeping the balance on the loose big stones under the wheels is difficult. The river was in 600m altitude, we are in 1200 now. 600m climb on 10km bad road… I cannot pedal more! We see a sign “Se vende queso” (selling of cheese), we stop and eat a big piece of 1kg with some bread and we don’t need to continue, because the lady offers us to build the tent behind their house – we accept this immediately.

Shower, dinner, perfect juice from guanabana and nice evening talks with a smart 12-years old son, crazy young girl next door, the lady and her brother. Our plan was to get up early in the morning to go with the children at 6am with bicycles to school but at the end we move at 7.

After 5km uphill we reach the village Arma. On the square the students are marching – today is the day of independence (flags, uniforms, saluting, marching)

There are two small downhills but the rest of 25km is like climbing to heaven. The toughest climb in my life takes us to the town at the top of the hill – Aguadas. It lies in 2400m and it is cold here. We choose on of the cheap restaurants (with most people inside) to eat lunch and then have coffee and cake.

It’s still uphill till the end of the village but after that it goes finally down… the beautiful nature has been around us for longer time but now we can finally enjoy it – coffee, banana and plantain trees, mandarines, oranges and many other different plants growing on the steep slopes.

We are approaching a bridge which is normally announcing another uphill. Here is complex with a pool and waterfall using the water from river and big restaurant building with bamboo architecture. Jan makes pictures and I’m observing the interesting space inside. Then I notice and older man who starts to wave on us and invites us inside.

Gabriel (83) takes care about it here. He slowly walks towards us, opens the gate and let us in with he bicycles. He demonstrates the opening of the pool which creates a waterfall. He shows us the garden and then he opens beer for each of us and says “So you arrived today” (in this moment we don’t think we’ll stay longer but he knows already). He cooks dinner and later his son John with his wife Dani (the owners) arrive. We have second dinner, Gabriel opens a bottle of good whiskey (he saved it for some good opportunity – we are honored) and we sit here and talk till midnight.

Gabriel shows us the room where we’ll sleep. Ceilings and everything here is low and he proposes to shorten me a little – cut something … for example from the neck up. Or the legs from knees down to fit in the bed … funny guy :)

We sleep long in the morning, have two breakfasts (the feed us well here) and go to the town Pacora. In the cultural center we get a lecture about the pre-history, history and present and see works of local artist Botero (not the one with fat sculptures).

Later we have a traditional lunch at finca: soup Sancocho (potatoes, yuca, plantains, chicken and vegetables) and rice, meat, avocado and sweet salad.

The guy from the house of culture makes an interview with us for the local TV station. He’s fast and in 3 hours we can watch ourselves in TV – terrible! And the poor people here will watch it more times a day in next half a year :D. After couple of glasses of Aguardiente (30% of alcohol and a lot of anise – similar like ouzo, sanbuca and the nordic types of alcohol) we go to see Pacora in night. We have hot-dog (perro caliente) and see many horses parked in front of bars (people here still use it for transport).

In the morning we load the gas tanks, get Gabriel (Jan drives an old Land Rover from ’72 to the finca) and let’s go do the business and eat. On the way we sell the tanks and then we catch fish for lunch. Jan and Dani are successful on 1st time, I just feed the fish with first two baits. The food is really delicious and we all smile (just the faces on the fishes on our plates are a little surprised).

We ride in the back of the pick-up truck and enjoy views. We are really thinking about buying some land here (1ha=500USD). Definitely this place got into our hearts and maybe when it won’t work in Slovakia, we’ll come back to this “second home” with great people, beautiful nature, good climate and many possibilities.

In the evening we go to see brother. He’s got a gym at home, we try all machines there and get also massage for free. He also gives us an old innertube and a stick and shows us how we can use it for exercising muscles we don’t use during bicycling.

We traditionally cook harula with meat – and they like is again :). We present them with a Slovak flag and they give us the flag of Pacora. In the morning we say goodbyes, make photos and go to Salamina (our bicycles are loaded in the back of the truck).

We stop many times – for buying a lot of sweets for us, visiting their house with small apartments for rent (20usd/month) and on another finca with nice people. The road is mostly bad, going up-and-down and we are happy we can enjoy it from the car.

Salamina is UNESCO protected because of it’s architecture and typical balconies and it’s really nice to walk it’s streets. We visit the house of culture, try a milk with cookies inside and eat the lunch at John’s friend place.

He’s got incredible view from the terrace and he offers us to stay the night there because it’s late.

Last goodbyes with our great Colombian friends who were like our family here, some motivational words about Slovakia and Europe to give them good reason to visit us and another calm night in this paradise and view onto the hills with the moonlight…


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