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a good run from Cartagena - Medellín - Cali - Popayán - Laguna de la Cocha - Las Lajas

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Cartagena has been my favorite city on this trip so far - hanging out and partying with the crew from the boat that got us there from Panama followed by 3 interesting days of getting to know the port, half the people that work there, customs, and pretty much every other institution that could have remotely anything to do with the port, celebrating finally reunification with la bestia negra - my black pet -the jeep- which also made it well across the Darien gap on its cargo ship. Interestingly the process of getting it out of the port included getting a 3-day life insurance, a hard hat, a reflective vest (I thought at one point that they wanted me to work there) and dreams about the correct order of port procedures (which I have now down by heart) - an all-encompassing experience.
A beautiful but rather long drive of 13 hours up into the Colombian Andes to Medellin - to roam the streets where Pablo Escobar's Medellin cartel used to rule and celebrate the 30s birthday of Mirko - my Swiss sailing companion, whose friends put on a good celebration there. Then on to Cali - Salsa capital (I tried...)!
Mita from NY joined as my co-pilot and photographer on the road for the stretch from Cali to Quito and we made our way through beautiful landscapes to the white painted town of Popayán, the Laguna de la Cocha (a respite from the cities, where we were the only guests in a Swiss Chalet style hotel and stuffed ourselves with trout), and on to the border with Ecuador to "El Santuario de Nuestra Señora de las Lajas" (Our Lady of Las Lajas) - an impressive basilica built inside the canyon of the Guáitara River.
The photos are here

Posted by freddop 07:34 Archived in Colombia

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