Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 38 - Puerto Berrio to Medellin, Colombia

RobT:  Slept on a bed that was as hard as a rock!!  Had aches and pains in every joint it seemed.  Spent some time attempting to fix the bike this morning.  Had some damage to the panniers and the right fog light.  The town was full of life at 7:30 in the morning!  Got ready, had breakfast and we were on the road once again.

Locals in Puerto Berrio fixing bikes on the sidewalk.  This guy had a portable bike repair shop with a complete tool box, etc.

More twisty mountain roads after riding through some very peculiar land formations composed of small hills (perhaps 10 to 20 meters (30 to 60 feet) high), covered with tall green grasses.  Almost like the Irish country side, but without the waist-high stone walls.  We saw many minor landslides along the way, but we have become strangely comfortable with them.  At one point we were sitting on a depression in the road with a large crack running from the edge in front of us to and along the center line and returning to the cliff edge behind us.  We were waiting on big trucks to pass so we could circumnavigate the piece where the road actually fell away.

3 hours later we were in Medellin, fumbling our way around town, trying to find a hotel.

Typical local dish, called "bandeja paisa" consists of avocado, rice, French fries, whole navy beans, sausage, finely shopped meat topped with a fried egg, sausage and chicharón (deep fried pork), sliced green tomatoes and fried plantain to complete the feast.

Hare Krishnas doing their thing in the plaza amidst all the Botero sculptures.  Fernando Botero is a Colombian figurative artist who now lives in Italy.  He works in paintings, sculptures and drawings ans his style depicts these figures as proportionally exaggerated or "fat" figures.

Little girl sitting on a Botero sculpture while watching the Hare Krishnas sing.

A sphynx a là Botero

RobC: Medellin is a sprawling city surrounded by mountains, with housing crawling ever higher on the hills, with a concrete-encased river running from north to south and boasting the only (above-ground) Metro system in Colombia. We didn't have much time to see the sights, but we at least stayed in an older but stately hotel, the Nutibara, right in the center of the city. It was great fun to watch the bustling traffic with pedestrians, cars, buses and hundreds of motorcycles and scooters all vying for the same roads. The hotel was located right at the Plaza Botero, which is more like a park peppered with at least 2 dozen large Botero sculptures. I put them in the category of grotesque art and found them quite fascinating. (I think that RobT was more fascinated by the dancing and chanting Hare Krishnas.) (Edit RobT: was trying to figure out what they were doing ... RobC has told me on a number of occasions that if you look at something long enough, the solution will come.  Well, in this case it didn't ... or maybe I didn't stare long enough)

So, let me post a few more of the Botero sculptures and perhaps someone can do some research and enlighten us about the deeper meaning of the bulging human and animal figures.


 Reclining woman.

 " Pensamiento"  (A thought).

Woman with fruit.

Tomorrow we drive down the mountains into the Cauca Valley to Cali. We're going South, yeah!!


  1. Again, so many memories. I was born in Medellin and at that time my mom's family was living in barrio Nutibara.Very old, traditional part of the city. The bandeja paisa looks fabulous.I have only been once in Cali but I know it is a gorgeous city. However I think you guys will enjoy Pasto on your way south. Take a look at the Galeras Volcanoe. It has been scaring people for quite a while!!

  2. Hola Adriana and Jim,

    Unfortunately we did not see enough of Cali, got there after dark and left fairly early, but what we saw of it on the motorcycle was very nice. The riding in the south of Colombia is absolutely stunning, beautiful winding roads and green mountains and valleys.

    We are in Pasto now (you will read about it later) and the pastuzos are very friendly and curious about our bikes and our trip. We will have a look at the volcano, but it is raining hard at the moment.