For our final leg the choices were, an 8 hour bus ride through twisty Andean mountain roads or a 40 minute flight. Choosing the flight we are now sat in Chapeniro, Bogota’s LBGT area where it all began 8 weeks ago having a cup of tea and scratching our heads as to where the time has gone.
Before we sign off there is time for a quick update and a few photos as we managed to fit in a couple more trips of interest.
The first was Barrio Moravia, a neighbourhood that started life as Medellin’s garbage dump. It is now covered in grass, has beautiful gardens and even a greenhouse to help the locals grow and sell plants. It would be hard to tell that underneath the mounds of green the rubbish is still smouldering releasing methane. The locals say it is a couple of degrees hotter living here than other areas of the city. The population swelled as displaced farmers came to the city seeking refuge from FARC to become the most densely populated community in Colombia, 40 thousand people in 40 hectares.
Despite the Government throwing in resources with offers of rehousing due to the overcrowding issues, lack of proper housing, sanitation and the risk of chemical poisoning, only 4,000 people took up the offer. These people are now housed in soulless high rise blocks of flats in the San Cristobal suburb and some are reportedly regretting their move. The remaining residents are so sceptical of politicians they would rather stay put on a toxic dump than trust or believe a word they say, (actually that sounds familiar) and are staying put. The City had to eventually acknowledge the area as a metropolitan settlement in 1993 and provide a degree of services, a community centre, access to education and health care and social enterprise cooperatives. An incredible place.
Next up Sally spotted ‘Mountain Biking Colombia’s Death Road’. Just under 40 kilometres descending through 2,000 metres of sweeping downhill single track all on superb 2017 Giant Trance bikes. The most challenging and hardest riding we have ever experienced, both going over the handlebars, in fact Sally went over twice. Bruised, busted and cut to bits but still smiling. I was going to leave it there but something happened that may amuse some of you.
So, after trashing all the young bucks on the downhill single track, including a double black diamond, the only thing left for me to take a clean sweep was a 3.7 km climb. Got this in the bag, do they not know who I am? Off I went flying into the lead, at about the 3 km mark Carla obviously had no idea who I was and overtook me!!!!!!!!! Has she no understanding of male pride? How is this happening I am already in the red zone. The bugles sounded in my head and with every Royal Marine screaming at me that this situation was unacceptable I stamped on the pedals for all I was worth to reel her back in. Now she was half my age cycling in the Californian hills every day and I had 5 pumpkin soup sick burps from dinner, sound like excuses? Yup I could not catch her and was beaten by a girl.
Colombia is an amazing country with even more amazing people and we have learned so much.
Thank you everyone for following and keeping us company as we travel. More travels planned with next year looking epic but for now it is back to sea level for a warm Xmas.
I have been wearing New Balance Women’s Minimus 40 Cross Trainers for mountain biking and the gym https://amzn.to/2ZKV6u6. They have been great and very sturdy. They have a strong outer mesh that takes a bit of getting used to but is does keep your feet secure.
And on that bombshell it is time to end the show.