A Travellerspoint blog

Wasn’t that a ride?

Taking the alternate route

sunny 25 °C

It started with an announcement by Carolina, our ever chipper leader. “Guys, there’s some bad news. We were supposed to take the 6 hour public bus from Chinchina to Medellin but there’s a bridge out so it’s not running but there is an alternate route through the mountains but it’s 10 hours long. Intrepid has rented us a private coach.” Ten hours didn’t sound too good but a private coach did and since there wasn’t much of an option that’s the way it was.

So sad to leave the coffee farm. It’s an idyllic setting with lovely hosts, despite our lack of Spanish. At 8 a.m. we jumped in the waiting coach, ready for the adventure. The 2 lane road started to climb up through coffee plantations on impossibly steep slopes. Chinchina is at 1,360 meters (4,462 ft). Before too long we were traveling along a ridge with slopes dropping off on both sides of the road. The signs indicating curves started to look like the Gaviscon ad. The double lines on the road were apparently just suggestions but fortunately our driver and the many semi and bus drivers on the road seemed to be quite accommodating to one another.

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We climbed through small towns and coffee and banana plantations along the ridge until about 7200 metres. The scenery was spectacular. This was way better than taking the public bus on the main road. The distance from Chinchina to Medellin is about 250 km which at home might take 4 hours. Here we were going up hill, behind a variety of trucks, and often were moving below 20 kph. Oh and there was construction too.

After only 8 hours we reached Medellin, a city of 3.8 million people. Traffic was 3 lanes wide, plus the 2 lanes of motorcycles, and moving at snail’s pace. Alternating lanes doesn’t seem to happen but somehow everybody seems to get to where they are going with not honking or crunches By now it was over 80 degrees and our initial good humour was fading. Eventually we arrived at our very comfortable hotel in less than 9 hours, happy to be out of the van after a wonderful journey.

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Our hotel is in a hip part of Medellin with clubs, restaurants and young people crowding the space. We ended up at a Colombian food fusion place for dinner where Fred had a huge avocado stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon with a lemon/orange type sauce, it was really good. Gail had an unusual salad that she couldn't finish. Over fed, we headed off to bed.

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Posted by Fredricgail2017 19:49 Archived in Colombia

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