Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jan. 29

We are now in Salerno.
The drive from Soacha to Armenia is 190 km. and it took us 7 hours and we had to stop the cool the brakes. Lots of truck traffic, it seems that trucks are restricted during the week but not on weekends so that is when all the trucks are on the road. It sure was a white knuckle day for me. Stopped at a gas station and asked if we could park for the nite, he allowed us to park beside his house, I had a good nite but Manfred and Monika and Norbert were woken up at regular intervals by dog barking and rooster (I do not know how to write crowing) but you get the message. Today was a short drive to Valle de Cocora. Very beautiful alpine setting. We went for a 6 hour hike, refreshing after so many day's sitting in the van and very little walking. The views were stunning and the vegetation new to us. Also lots of birds I have never seen before. 
Thanks for your mail
Hugs to all
Norbert and Greti
This is the rooster Monika wanted to kill.

Internet? always the first question 

Nor quite the Grind but close
Hard to believe we are in Columbia

Will the clouds hold off until we get down?

We made it down before the rain.


We spent. A rest day in Valle de Leyva, did some shopping (grocery) and found a fantastic French cafe where we had the best coffee and pastry, and to top it off french banquets. Had a shower and did a very productive day.
As it was a Hostel there were lots of tourists from Canada Alaska Germany Spain.
So we had good conversations. Lots of questions about our trip, Lee from Alberta almost joined us as this is one of his dreams. We also found a store with good cold cuts and German sausage, so we stocked up. The hardest thing to find is vegetables, lots of fruit everywhere but no vegetables. Stopped for gas and again the attendants asked to see the inside of the Blue Wonder, it was the first time that thy saw a camper from the inside. In the parking of the church a young man came over to take pictures of the Van, he spent 6 months in Manitoba as an exchange student and dreams of going back, his parents were so proud when thy heard him speak english. 
Today we drove to Zipaquira and toured the Cathedral de Sal. It is a salt mine and in the tunnels is a church, it was a 2 hour tour.  We got back on the road quite late so had to look for parking fast as it was getting dark. We are now parked behind a restaurant, nice and private, only payment required is a tour of the Blue Wonder.
We keep marvelling at the beautiful countryside.
Hug to all and thank you for your mail.
Norbert and Greti
all work stops when thy see the Canadian Flag.

we had a nice chat about our travels and questions about Canada

Open house for gas station attendants

no words needed

Lunch Break

Wonderful alpine meadows
The camping fee was a tour of the camper.

Friday, January 24, 2014

January 23

From Medellin we drove to Guatepe and from there to Arceabuco.
Very poor road with lots of rough patches. 100 km. and it took us 6 hours.
The last part with heavy rain and lightening. Amazing waterfalls but also flooding in the valley. It was quite cool so we had a good sleep.
Manfred woke us at 6am. As a car had backed in to his camper, very little damage to his camper but the car was worse off. 
Visited the town of Tunja. Lots of historical buildings in very good condition and we toured some 500 year old churches. The countryside is stunning, of all the countries so far I like Columbia the best, it is also that the people are very friendly. 
We are now in Villa de Leyva were we have WiFi, HOT showers and clean toilets plus we are parked in a nice garden, it is a hotel with camping facilities. There are people here from Alberta, and believe it or not North Vancouver. Small world.
Again we will have a cool nite as we are at 7000 feet.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti
Church in Arceabuco

Blue Wonder parked for the nite

shoeshine in Tunja

Private Church from 1650 in Tunja

you can always spot the Blue Wonder

For once I felt tall

church in Tunja
This is one of the better roads

Lots of farms but no vegetables in the store

Our campsite in Valle De Leyva with all amenities

Add captionSunrise in Arceabuco

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Jan. 20

Left Santa Fe and drove to Medellin as we did not want to skip this city.
Our GPS wanted to send us in all directions except where we wanted to go. We asked a young man at the bus stop for directions to the centre, and he offered to ride with us to show us the way. He asked what we wanted to see and after we told him he offered to  be our guide as he still was on holiday and would love to show us his town. Well we had the best tour. Went to the Mirador, the top of the mountain in the city. On the way down he told us to lock our doors and close the windows as we were going through a rough part of town. Parked in the centre and took the Metro to the Gondola and had a 45 minutes ride over the city. The metro was spotless, not a pice of garbage anywhere. The price for Metro and Gondola was one dollar per person. We are constantly surprised how friendly people are, and how curious and full of questions about our travels, and always will say welcome to columbia. The Botero museum is also very nice. We had a very good dinner at a traditional columbian restaurant then did some grocery shopping and after that our new friend and guide Arnaldo rode with us to the edge of town where we said goodby to him. How fortunate we are.
We are now camped in El Pinon and tomorrow will travel towards Bogota. We are in the mountains so a nice cool night.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti
Santa Fe 

Pointa Occidental

Blue Wonder would not fit.

Me above Medellin
Norbert with our guide Arnaldo

Metro and Gondola ride $1.00

picture taken from gondola Medelliun
wonderful fruit

restaurant Hacienda

Carne Asado very good
Parque Boteo

Add caption

fish market

Jan 18 to 20

We left Cartagena at 8:30 am. After we had breakfast at the hotel. Had a little of a turnaround due to construction and morning rush hour. It was already very hot in the morning and did not get cooler during the day.
Lots of military, and the custom here is to give them the thumbs up. So lots of thumbs up. At noon we had lunch on the side of the road  at what we figured was a deserted place, but before coffee was ready we had 5 visitors. Everyone is very curious about our camper and want to know about Canada and how far we have traveled and so forth. It is fun to see people look in amazement when thy see the Canadian flag, even children look and point and wave. Motorbikes will scoot ahead of us and give us the thumbs up. So far we have not encountered any negative  reaction.
Found a nice restaurant and asked  if we could park in their yard, there was a pond and very little breeze and the temperature did not go down much so a hot night. Today we only did 200 km. first we had an oil change done on the Blue Wonder and the road was very windy   and over the mountains with dense fog and lots of truck traffic, add to that road repair and crazy drivers, so it was white knuckles and prayers for Greti.
We are now parked at a Finka (milk farm) at 9000 feet, it is nice and cool and a light rain so will make for a good night.  Got woken up by first roosters and then the cows and then the farm hand looking in our window again with lots of questions. Had coffee and toast and back down the very rocky path to the highway. Again heavy traffic and road repair. Could not find the exit to highway 65 and asked a taxi to guide us in the right direction. Made it to Santa Fe De Antiqua, 500 year old colonial town, very nice. The scenery today was breathtaking, well worth the extra kilometres. When we parked at the town square we were surrounded by people wanting to see the Blue Wonder inside and again lots of questions about our travels and Canada. So much for the theory to get an inconspicuous camper, we seem to stick out like a red flag. Even in the store I got asked if I was the lady of the Canadian camper that crossed the bridge. Tomorrow we will visit Medellin.
Hugs to all.
Norbert and Greti.

here are the forms , but this is not all.

planning the route

no need for the bus

Oil change and Norbert's new friend
Blue Wonder gets a bath

and Norbert as well

Fog over the mountains
milk delivery

Our first wake up call

our second wakeup call
Leaving Cartagena