29.6.21. The land borders are still closed so I decide to go to Cali airport to leave before my visa expires at the end of July. 345mls done over 10 days riding. Day 1, 30ml to Fredonia. Manuel showed me a quiet route so after goodbyes I head towards Jardín. It’s an unpaved route to Fredonia and all the way to Piedra verde there’s quite a few trucks on route to a quarry there but after that it’s quiet. Nice views and I opt to stay in a cheap hotel at Fredonia in the plaza as it’s a steep climb up to the town and it’s getting late. A good day cycling with great views.
Day 2. 36ml to Hispania. Great route to Bolombolo, then 11ml on R60 to exit for Hispania & Jardín. It’s uphill the 26ml to jardin from here so I stay at the roadside hotel at Hispania next to the garage and nip into the town plaza, it’s a nice little town.
day 3. 22ml. Mostly uphill to Jardín. Raining all morning but the sun appeared at lunchtime. Arrived at the beautiful town plaza of Jardín and a guy came talking to me. He recognised my cycling shirt and asked if I knew Manuel from casa de ciclista. It’s a small world. Well Carlos took me to a cheap hotel and invited me for coffee at his house. A nice guy who runs a cycle touring company. He has mainly clients from Europe. I had a day off to see the town and visit the viewing point up above the town.
day 4. 32ml. This was a tough day to Riosucio. The road turns to gravel 2ml out of Jardín and it’s 11ml up to the top. It was nearly as slow going down due to the bad surface but I was happy when I checked into the Mirador hotel. Had a day off here as it was Sunday and I felt like a rest.
day 5. 50ml to La Virginia. I forgot how easy it was to cycle a full day on asphalt. Great day. 18ml downhill on route and just pulled into a roadside hotel on the main road.
day 6. 25ml to El Jordan. I had a reply this morning from a warm shower host Jaques & Juli. So I make my way to their farm and luckily Jaques is on holiday. It’s a great place, very quiet and eco friendly. Jaques made a tasty meal but Juli was at a birthday party so I didn’t see her until the morning but she was really nice and they invited me to stay another day but I was going to a coffee farm and had arranged to be there that night so I had to leave.
day 7. 40ml to Recuca coffee farm. Well after leaving Jaques & Juli I head to Finlandia, another really nice town. Then on a gravel road to Montenegro, on to Armenia then down towards Barcelona and the coffee farm. Lots of towns have the same name as places in Spain. I arrive at the house of Maurizio. He’s a friend of Nicolos from Bogotá and they rode for 2 yrs together from Argentina back to Colombia. He’s a great guy and the house is next door to the coffee farm and Maurizio lets me take another day off to go on a coffee tasting tour while he’s at work. The coffee tasting was very educational and I took the chance to hand wash my clothes and nip to Barcelona on the bike for some groceries. Great day and enjoyed the coffee tasting. Thanks Maurizio.
day 8. 27ml to Sevilla. Steady day and Sevilla was ok but I rode around for a while trying to find cheap accommodation.
day 9. 50ml to Buga. Another steady day and Buga was a very busy town. Famous for its church and visitors come here to wish for a miracle. I rode around looking for a cheap hotel but it’s expensive here due to having lots of visitors. I eventually talk with a hotel Meson owner about my trip and he gives me a reduced price room in his nice hotel with its own pool out back. It’s euro 2020 final with England v Italy tomorrow so I take a day off to watch. Tonight was Argentina v Brazil final in the Copa south America and I found a nice little shop to watch it with a beer.
day 10. 31ml to Palmira. Flat road all the way and this is to be my base for booking a flight, getting a covid PCR test and finding a bike box. The town is ok and I join a gym for a week to break up the boredom. I find a cheap residencia to stay in the center. I visit Cali on the bus one day but it’s a Sunday and very quiet in the center with lots of shops closed. Well my flight is booked but I’ve been to the clinic for my PCR test and it’s festival time so no testing, it’s closed. This is worrying because I fly Thursday 7am and today is Tuesday. It’s supposed to be 24hrs for the result. The nurse said I can have the test at 6am and get my results at 8pm the same day but I just hope this is true or they won’t let me fly without a negative test result.