RobT: Another day in Colombia and it has really become one of our favorite countries so far! Beautiful green countryside, amazing views of deep valleys while riding another 200 km of some of the best twisty roads a motorcyclist can imagine. We were trying to reach Medellin but we both had our doubts, as it would be about 750 km (475 miles) in one day. Several people had stated that it would be a 9-hour ride. Nevertheless, we were on the road at 7 am. The first part of the road was secondary country road with the usual potholes, sand and broken up asphalt, but the countryside was spectacular! We stopped in a small town for some typical local breakfast cuisine .... hot raw sugar water with crumbled country cheese in it. Sounds unappealing, but was actually very tasty. The owner said its a favorite local dish packed with calories to keep warm in the cold climate.
RobC: Allow me to elaborate a little on this. I asked the lady at the store for coffee, upon which she adamantly stated that they don't drink coffee in this town. For breakfast they drink "agua de panela" (molasses tea). In fact, she rattled off the entire typical breakfast menu so rapidly (plus the handicap of some missing teeth), that I had to ask her to repeat it several times. Finally I got it: Molasses tea with salted cheese and fresh bread rolls. Fine - we'll take two.
When she brought in the large bowl with the steaming sugary tea and the other items I was going to eat them separately, whereupon the lady marched right up to our table and proceeded to show us how to eat this stuff. She told me to crumble the cheese and let it melt in the tea and then crumble the bread and add that to the tea as well. Amazing, the sweetness of the tea was cut by they saltiness of the cheese and the addition of the bread made it into a complete breakfast. Excellent, I could live on this stuff.
RobT: We had hoped to reach Bucaramanga by noon but with all the picture taking we didn't make it there until 1:30 pm.
RobC: Okay, since you asked for it. The large tortilla is called "arepa." We'll see down the road, but it seems that all of Colombia enjoys "arepas" in many varieties.
As for RobT's vision, he is veeeery perturbed by the fact that my progressive reading glasses helped him greatly as he was trying to read the fine print on a map. So, guess who will be going to the ophthalmologist upon returning to Canada? He is rather insulted by the whole thing, so please don't bring up the subject.
After passing through the large city of Bucaramanga,we turned south and ended up on the other side of the mountain range in the valley on a fairly straight road, but it was getting late by then We crossed a very large river (the Magdalena river) and called it a day in Puerto Berrio, another frontier type town that was very lively with lots of outdoor patios, people bustling about doing their thing from just hanging around to fixing motorcycles on the sidewalk to doing chores. Most popular form of transportation ... the scooter. A ton of 100cc and 125cc bikes and most of them were riding two up.
RobC: Our hotel in Puerto Berrio was most picturesque. Our room was situated right above a noisy bar that advertised : "70 y 80's Rock and Twis." The hotel management was a little apologetic, but said that the music would stop at 3 am. Actually, I didn't mind, since the music was actually quite pleasant and memorable.
The hotel did have Internet of sorts and secure parking down the street at 3.00 USD a night for two bikes. The mattresses were like wooden boards and the bathroom was of the "drive in and back out" variety. But somehow the place was so pleasant and the people were so nice (and the price was only 12 USD per person a night) that we put up with it. No problem!
Tomorrow Medellin - and then we should finally be heading SOUTH!