Week 14 - Bogota Re-visited, the loop is complete!
Updated: Feb 23, 2020
We headed North on a three day back-road trip to Bogota, which was filled with great views, hostels with swimming pools, lots of animals and some yummy food. We then had a great, long-weekend stay with my step-sister's friend Rory in the North of Bogota and got to have a great cup of English Breakfast tea, spaghetti bolognese and peanut butter!
Melgar and Cumaca
The trip away from Tatacoa took us on lots of nice back roads as well as lots of nice twisty tarmac roads towards the end. We were met with loads of cows, goats, sheep and sand...my favourite...NOT. Sand and mud I still struggle with. That day, even Kelvin did as he ended up on his side with his ankle pinned after going through a patch of deep sand he wasn't expecting... good job we had gone for soft panniers or it could have been worse. Fortunately, no serious injuries, just reinforcement of the fact that he has far too much weight on his bike.
It was a lovely day and to top it all off we found a lovely little hotel called Hotel Casa Quinta Marbella, in a town called Melgar. It also had a pool that was the perfect temperature! We got there, showered, swam, showered again...it was the best feeling ever after the hot and dusty desert! We even found a little pizzeria around the corner, so the day finished well.
The next day we also got treated to some great roads and more dirt roads, which is always a bonus because it means I get lots more practice in. We were lucky enough to find an amazing Finca hostel called Finca Las Mercedes in the countryside near a small village called Cumaca. The best part about it was that our one night stay cost us a grand total of £2.50!!! I'm not sure if Booking.com messed up but they didn't contest it. It had a huge, beautiful, and clean pool. Despite our measly fee to stay, the manageress brought us some fruit and coffee. Later we walked into the little village, and it really was little, but like all villages/towns/cities in Colombia it still had a huge, nicely painted church in the centre. As per usual, being a very small place we were the focus of many locals attention, which was pure intrigue rather than anything else.
On Thursday 20th July we started the final leg to Bogota, which was mainly tarmac but no long straights, so it was quite enjoyable...until we hit the Bogota traffic that was! We stopped for lunch just outside of Bogota at amazing place with amazing slabs of meat hanging up and cooking in a huge, big-arse BBQ. The pork was amazing, and so tender...it was a good choice.
It took absolutely ages to get through Bogota, and we had to do a tonne of filtering. Our clutches got super hot and at one point we had to give the bikes a time-out as Kelvin's bike especially was becoming quite problematic to ride. We had to make our way from South Bogota into the North part of the city as my step-sisters' friend Rory had offered us to stay for the weekend, which was super nice of him especially as we had only met him for a couple of beers at the start of the trip back in April. Luckily, we did manage to find Rory's place reasonably easily and we parked in a nice secure garage. Happy days. Despite being a thursday it was yet another bank holiday in Colombia (their Independence Day), so Rory was in when we arrived. We all sat on the rooftop of the apartment block with a beer, looked at the city-scape and talked about the trip so far. It was amazing how much we had actually done in the past three and a half months since we last saw Rory. One of the best parts of the evening for me was having a good cup of English breakfast tea...heaven!!! Also, Rory cooked us an awesome spaghetti Bolognese, so no complaints from us!
Rory had to go back to work the next day so we went off shopping for lots of stuff. The priority was finding Kelvin a new, lighter and more comfortable helmet. We found a nice Bell helmet for Kelvin in PowerShop (KTM) on advice from a Colombian guy called Carlos. He had recently opened an overland adventure shop called 'Don't Stop Adventure', in Bogota. We also found another shop that did bar-raisers and Rok-straps, so I got a set of each. Kelvin and I both got new sunglasses to protect our eyes better, we found spray on air filter oil, got a new cargo net as mine had it, and we arranged for my back wheel to be trued...as home visit! Well, I tell a lie, I got the recommendation and Rory arranged it as his Spanish was far superior to mine. He also arranged for them to look at his Jeep at the same time.
That evening we went for a meal at an Italian place with fellow overland traveller Philippe (Motophil) for his 40th birthday. We also met Edwin, a guy from Bogota who was about to embark on a journey to Ushuaia on his 250cc Yamaha Tenere, and Dinna who is an adventure motorcyclist and recently bought a finca near Bogota. Rory came along after work as well, and later we discovered that Philippe was friends with his brother from 10 years previously when they were both paragliding in New Zealand!!! Small world!
The following day a chap called Carlos (another one) came to Rory's place, took my back wheel off, took Rory's battery and returned a couple of hours later with a nicely balanced wheel and a well-charged battery for Rory, although we and he still weren't sure it would hold it's charge. As a test we all clambered in the Jeep, drove around for forty-five minutes via Edwin's place to donate him Kelvin's old helmet, and stopped outside of Carlos' little shop. Rory switched off the engine and started it again...and yes it did start. Excelente! Two problems sorted in a day.
We were made an awesome Curry for dinner and, as usual when people are making curries, I made some chapattis. I am just a bread-fiend! We went to bed very full and very happy!
On our final day in Bogota we went in Rory's Jeep to Mesitas, just west of Bogota. We stopped on the way down the hill to Mesitas for strawberries and cream, which didn't disappoint. We also saw a huge waterfall (Tequendama Falls) at San Antonio del Tequendama. Sadly it is full of untreated, waste water from the city, so not the nicest colour and the river above was full of foam, however it was still quite spectacular to watch.
We chilled in Mesitas while Rory spent three hours cycling up the 26km hill and back down again. What a challenge! Again we had some amazing views and once Rory completed his mission we had an Asada chicken to share with potatoes and fried Yucca.
Once back we re-packed ready for our trip Northwards the following day, on route to El Cocuy.