San Gil

Amigos!

After some problems with the website everything should be working again. You probably have missed our last post crossing the Darien because the emailservice didn’t work.
Anyway, still going strong in Colombia. After we left Cartagena we went to Taganga, a small fishing village at the Caribean coast where most people come to dive. We spent two nights in this relaxing but very hot place and worked on Roels new image.

Ron

After Taganga  we went to Parque Nacional Tayrona on thursday 20th. We were the only ones at the campsite so we had all the monkeys for ourselves (to watch ofcourse)

Tayrona

In the morning we went for a sweaty morning hike.

morning walk

In the afternoon we had a jungle walk to the beaches of Arrecife,

jungle walk

and at night we made a campfire and roasted sausages.

The Grillmeister

Nice. It was quite hot and humid, so we didn’t need the tent.

Wake up....smell the coffee

On saturday we left the jungle campsite and headed to Mompos, a long ride. The first part was quite boring, but the last 100km very fantastic with a rivercrossing (this time using a boat)…

Rivercrossing

…and a few hours of unpaved roads.

Road to Mompos

Mompos is a colonial village with a fantastic atmosphere. Music on every corner and the absence of tourists made us really believe that this is an authentic place.

Mompos from the Hostels roofterrace

Mompos

We spent two nights here in the nice Hostel Casa Amarilla. We left on monday heading south. The first few hours were again very beautiful with green fields, rivers and unpaved roads.

River

The few pieces of tarmac we had to enjoy properly….

A guy we met who looked like Steve

After that we had straight roads again and stopped in a place called Aguachica. Next morning (tuesday 25th) we continued further south and wanted to reach Baricharra, a small colonial village. We crossed some great mountains and had to stop for the rain again.

Colombian mountains

When we also got problems with two of the bikes it was a good moment to stop in San Gil and find a hostel. We got help from Carlos, who we met along the way. So far, the Colombian people are some of the most friendly and helpful people we have met. Really unbeleivable. After some beers and a good night of sleep we got the bikes repaired and took Carlos’ scooter for a spin.

El gordo driving the scooter

We stay some nights here in the very nice Sam’s VIP hostel. We might do a daytrip to Baricharra. We’ll keep you posted.

Ciao.

PS. After playing months of “klaverjas” with the three of us, it was time to make it more challenging at the campsite. The one who lost (“nat”), had to do the challenge. The challenge got worse and worse….starting with wearing the helmet, wearing ones dirty undies, wearing some found clothing…..to…see for yourself. We blame the homemade cuba libres.

The helmetUndiesThe TjollerIn the nudeIn the nude with toiletseat

🙂

Cartagena – Panama to Colombia part 2

Friday may 7, we got on board of Fritz-the-cat and met captain Fritz. Quite a character this man, with his Fritz vision of the world. We were a bit shocked in the beginning of this Austrian man when we looked at the flag,

Kuna flag

but we soon found out that this was a Kuna flag (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuna_Yala).

Next morning we caught a shark, our food for the day.

sharky

food

In the afternoon the other passengers arrived and we set sail to some San Blas Islands. There we spent three days of snorkeling, sunbathing

sunbathing

drinking, playing volleyball,

volleyball

reading,

reading

sleeping and shark hunting.

Shark huntingshark hunting

The shark-curry meal tasted like more.

The first three days were quite okay, although 14 persons sleeping in the boat was a lot. Time to motor-sail the open seas to Cartagena. Very soon the sea got quite rough and also very soon three (former) navy officers on board got seasick (as first of the group). Nice…… Besides all this, the boat also lost an engine and a rudder, and the second engine and rudder were already broken. Tieraps and Macgyver tape made it all working again. It could be worse, but not a lot (one of Fritz’ oneliners)

Ofcourse we don’t have any pictures of these rough days, because the last thing we thought of was taking pictures. The hatches were closed because of the rough sea, so temperature got really high inside the cat. Not a recommendable 48hrs, sweating allnight while feeling like a teatowel already.

Our bikes also suffered from the seas. Two bikes got damaged and all bikes were covered in a layer of salt and rust.

cartagenathe group

Wednesday may 12 we arrived in colonial city Cartagena where we all checked in to a hostel. The day after we could pick-up  the bikes. But because of the damage, we could not ride two of them and had to get them picked-up to a garage. The needed to be serviced anyway.

damaged bikes

bike pick-up

In the end we spent three days of getting the bikes from the boat, repairing and doing all paperwork. Saturday afternoon may 15 we could finally look after ourselves  and have a beer with our new best friends (the guy from australia and the guy with the dark hair from england…..Roel has problems remembering names)

new best friends

We stayed another few days in Cartagena, drank a beer on the citywalls and left tuesday (18th).

citywalls

Time to ride again and avoid saltwater.

Thanks again for the nice comments. And no, we don’t delete them (kaatje, sonja, simon), but if yours wasn’t posted the last time, it was because of an error at the server. Please try again 🙂

San Blas – Panama to Colombia part 1

Arrived in Colombia…..the land of coke, silicons and coffee.

Quite an adventure to get there. Our last post was in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica. May 4th we left this Caribean village and had a short ride to the border. This was the best border crossing so far. Very quiet and easy.

border Costa Rica - Panama

Crossing the border

The bridge tells why, not very tempting for a lot of traffic. That day we drove to Chiriqui Grande just in time to avoid getting wet by this tropical shower.

tropical shower

The ride was absolutely breathtaking. Big green hills with clouds hanging between, no traffic and top quality roads.

Beautiful Panama

The next day began the same with a climb over the mountains giving us the nicest views.

Beautiful Panama

When we reached the Panamerican highway the fun was over. Can´t believe that there are bikers only following the panamerican highway. Booooring. We got stopped along the road by a very heavy rainshower and had to hide under our blue tarp.

hiding from the rain

After two hours we continued and spent the night in Santiago. Next day we wanted to reach Panama city in order to arrange a flight or boat trip to Colombia. Again the boring panamerican highway (not much of a choice). We reached our hostel via the most dangerous neighborhood (we later saw a map in the hostel warning to stay away 24/7). In the hostel we heard that there was still room on board of Fritz-the-cat, a catamaran. Even for our motorbikes. The boat would depart on saturday (may 8th), so on friday we went to Carti to get on board.

To get there we had to climb real steep hills and do a rivercrossing.

River crossing to Isla Carti

So first we walked the river to find the best route to cross. And after that one by one driving through…..and the others taking pictures…just in case. But everything got dry on the other side.

Rivercrossing

Rivercrossing

Rivercrossing

In Carti we got our bikes in Kuna Indian boats and they brought our bikes to the catamaran.

Ferry to the catamaran

At Fritz-the-cat they were lifted on board. An adventurous day, for us and the bikes.

getting the bikes on board of the catamaran

We really enjoyed this. So far so good, first part of crossing the Darien gap accomplished. Next day the other passengers came on board and we set sail to the islands. Start of part two….to follow soon

Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo

Chilling at the Caribean coast of Costa Rica is more or less what we’ve done the last few days. Because of the start of the rainy season and the lack of a proper rainsuit we decided to go to Colombia quite soon. We really want to spend most of our time in South America.

The day we entered Costa Rica (april 28) we were forced to stop in Liberia by the rain. We spent the night in a hostel and heard from two other Dutch travelers that there would be a Queensday party the next day organized by the Dutch embassy.  So the next day we were aiming for San Jose. We had a great ride around the lake of Arenal. Curvy roads over the greenest hills,….and we soon found out why these hills were so green. Had to stop for the rain again. But being this close to a (free beer) party made us wanting to go there. So as soon as possible we continued our ride. After a little kiss of Roels bike with Bas’ bike (minor damage) and getting dark, it was really time to find a place to stay. Trying to find a place to sleep, we ended in a garage from an Italian guy we luckily met. The right person at the right moment.

After a quick shower we went to the embassy party. We arrived just in time to miss the speech and to be first in line at the Heineken tap.

Q-day

Free Heinekens

A great night with “bitterballen, haring, Hema worst” and free beers. We ended at the bar of Dutch owned restaurant Finca Bonanza, where we had pollo sate and papas guerra the next day (kip sate met patatje oorlog….oh yes!!)

By the time we were even thinking of hitting the road again next day, it started raining again for the rest of the day. After two nights in Paolos garage we continued our track to South America. We tried to avoid the capital San Jose, but again thanks to the lack of proper signs we got ourselves a free tour through the city. We had to make a detour, because due to a landslide the main road to Limon was closed.

Costa Rica

A great ride….but too bad all the slow trucks also had to divert. Because it didn’t rain that day we could make it to Puerto Viejo, a real Caribean village.

Puerto Viejo

Here we could have a toast on the birth of Xander (Cheers Jasper & Pien)

Toast on Xander

Time to investigate how to get to Colombia, flying or sailing. For those who don’t know yet: there are no roads between Panama and Colombia, the Darien gap. Sailing sounds real nice, passing the San Blas islands, but there are quite some different experiences from travelers. Differing from being dropped alone on a beach by smugglers to the best trip ever.

In both cases a good story for our website.

Adios amigos

PS: After our Q-day party one of us had to “call Ralph on the big white phone”. RAAAAAAALPH…..

Calling Ralph on the big white phone.