December 1st, 2008 is when I crossed the border from Arizona into Mexico, and I haven't been back in the U.S. since. Just a couple of months before that, I had started what I was calling "Adventure #7" at the top of the west coast in Washington State where my plan was just to ride down the coast to the Mexican border and finish Adventure #7. Well, 2 years and 13 countries later....I'm now in my final country on this trip: Colombia. I'd be lying if I said it didn't choke me up a bit the moment I crossed into this country...
Enough with that, and onto this fabulous country that the world does not know enough about.
It needs to be said that, "our impressions of Colombia need to be updated." Absolutely, this was a dangerous country for many of the past 40 or so years. The citizens of Colombia were as afraid of the FARC as anyone else in the world was, and our impressions of Colombia from movies and media were completely justified. But in 2002, they elected Alvaro Uribe as president, and Colombia has been turned around dramatically ever since then. (Uribe is credited with practically removing all guerillas and FARC from the face of the planet.) While there are rumors about small groups still operating high in the mountains, the only semi-monthly news anyone seems to hear these days about the FARC is that "another one of them was eliminated."
I'm sure I'll write more about Colombia sometime, but for now, let's get to the pictures below:
I made my way to Cali, and had the chance to meet with Mikkel Thomsen, a Danish guy that's been living and managing his motorcycle renting/touring business there for a few years now. He also does quad/ATV tours as well, and as the photos show, some friends of his had a farm-type property that was available for our riding pleasure. Just a little mud out there, as his cousin Thomas steams his way through some water in the photo below.
The Cocora Valley hike finishes with the highlight of seeing the Wax Palms, known as the tallest palm trees in the world. In the rolling hillside leading us back down to Salento, this is a fantastic hike that I highly recommend.
I write this now from Medellin, having spent some time here getting to know folks and enjoying the fantastic and fun district called "El Poblado." If you're looking for nightlife...and don't mind seeing the occasional pretty girl.....Medellin is certainly worth a visit.
Off to Cartegena now : )