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Tue Dec 10 2013: Run to the Hills (Run for your Life)

It's with great reluctance that I'm leaving the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The weather was perfect - hot, no humidity and no mosquitoes. I have a fear that where we're going may not be as nice a place to relax as where we're coming from.

With our bikes heavily-laden with all our worldly possessions once again piled on top (and the sides, and the back), we watched the beaches of Taganga shrink in our mirrors. The plan is to head further south into the Cordillera Oriental, otherwise known as the East Andes mountain range of Colombia.

On the road again! Neda is a happy traveler.

Terrain turns mountainous, weather gets cooler and wetter

As if to confirm my dread of leaving, we encounter early afternoon showers - something that we had escaped on the northern coast. It reminded us that rainy season was not over in this part of the world. I miss Taganga already...

Bikes are relaxing in Aguachica

We took a very leisurely ride south, stopping overnight in the small towns of Aguachica and Bucaramanga on the way. After a month in Taganga, we wanted to ease back into riding again.

Neda is relaxing as well

And then back on the road again!

We're deep in the mountainous Cordillera range and the roads get super-twisty. Me gusta!

Neda planned an amazing route that turned twisty as we got closer to Bucaramanga. We were now deep in the heart of the mountains of the eastern Andes. It was a great way to get back into riding again, and as long as we got our riding done before the early afternoon, the weather held up perfectly!

Smooth pavement and twists and turns that don't end! We can't stop grinning under our helmets

One of the things we wanted to see along this route was the Parque Nacional del Chicamocha. It's located at the steep canyon carved by the Chicamocha River, 6500 feet from peak to valley. The government has built a cablecar that travels over the canyon, as well as a huge tourist attraction complex that offers rides, concession stands and adventure sports like kayaking, mountain climbing, etc.

We get to Chicamocha Park and we are the only vehicles in the parking lot...

So we arrived here on a Monday, which turns out to be the only day of the week that it's closed. Fahhhhh....! We had a mini-huddle: do we want to go on further to the next town, stay the night and then backtrack to take the cablecar the day after? We're not really going to raft, or kayak or mountain climb, so it's only the view that we'd be coming back for.

Chicamocha Canyon

After walking around the area and seeing where the cablecar went to, we decided we didn't have to revisit the park again. All the amusement park stuff was closed, but we hopped the fence and walked around anyway. There was a huge Christmas tree that we spent some time fooling around with the camera:

We're having a ball!

Viewpoint from the Chicamocha amusement park. Shortly after this picture was taken,
a security guard kicked us out for hopping the fence... :(

Some of the Chicamocha activities were still open

Because everything was closed, we became the new attraction

We don't feel too bad about mistiming our visit. This family also showed up and was similarly disappointed. They were very curious about us and wanted to know everything about our trip. I got the sense they were more interested in me, but because I can't communicate very well, they had to talk to Neda, "Where is he from?", "Does he understand any Spanish?", "Why is his bike bigger than yours when he is shorter...?"

There was a little boy that couldn't stop staring at me! :)

Everyone wanted a picture of us!

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