This last stage from Cuenca to Vilcabamba was a lot of fun to ride but it had me in virtual tears for the penultimate day. Not quite the same altitudes as the previous sectors but it certainly passes through pleasant farm valleys / canyons and has the usual very steep dirt sections to challenge one’s calf muscles.
INTO ECUADOR!! Yes I’ve finally left Colombia. During my final three days of my 180 day Colombian visa I managed to climb the awesome Volcano Azufral (4070metres) … Under a bit of time pressure and after a couple of weeks of late night dancing in Cali it felt quite hard!
To enjoy Cali fully, it helps to know a bit of salsa so I cut straight to a few private lessons (scroll down for locations); then each night was spent practicing in the bars. Initially, a few awkward dances took place. This is the same for any new skill, I thought to myself, as I forced myself to approach the Colombian bellezas. We must battle through the small failures; small losses for future large gains. Soon I had enough to get by.
In this episode:
– Destruction of Colombia’s incredibly diverse and beautiful environment for the sake of money that I’m told only a handful of people seem to benefit from;
– Epic scenic winding mountain route with steep drop-offs famous amongst Colombian touring cyclists and the people of the south;
– A poor night’s sleep in an abandoned room with a strong odour of urine and loud trucks passing by all night within 15 feet of my head;
It seems that we are raised in the Western world to believe everything we do should be done as fast as possible. But for what exactly? More is not necessarily better.
I was about to leave and the owner of the camping area mentioned to me the possibility of a three to four day hike to Laguna de Magdalena (the source of Rio Magdalena that runs the whole country). It is situated high up in the páramo. The idea of missing out on this spectacular landscape got to me when I was already 2 kilometers out of town.