Ushuaia to Quebec on Xchallenge

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Kabalung, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    Days 101-102, San Agustín, Colombia, 18.430 km (3)

    The archeological sites near San Agustín are spread over a large area, which is a good excuse to rent a jeep or hire a horse to go see some of the more remote ones. I opted for the horse.

    I haven’t ridden a horse in five years, so for me it was both exciting and painful (the following day). One thing is certain, though: seeing South America’s oldest archeological sites from the horse’s back makes you feel like Indiana Jones. Unbeatable experience!

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    With David, my guide and assisting rider.

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    My horse, Paloma, was exceptionally easy going. Not even once did she get scared. Trucks, buses, motorcycles, or barking dogs made no impression on her whatsoever.

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  2. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    We got to the only place where the statues retained some original coloring...

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    Some more off-road, I just swaped my bike with a horse.

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    Chaquira - a place of spiritual powers...

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    ...and the valley Chaquira is facing. It was raining so the pictures are not that good. Down there is Río Magdalena.



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  3. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    Days 103-104, Cali, Colombia, 18.703 km

    Cali is a nice modern city, but that’s all it is. It has very few historical buildings and tourist attractions, far too few to compete with Bogota or Cartagena.

    However, Cali has something else - something that can’t be easily described, but it makes its people, the Caleños, believe it is the finest city in Colombia. „Cali es Cali. Lo demas es lomo” - they say, which translates as: „Cali is Cali. The rest is mountains.”, but really means something like: „Cali has class, the rest is redneckville.”

    I tried to find out what makes Cali so special, but was not very successful, as I only found a few unique things:

    1. Cimate. Cali is located in a valley at the lowest altitude of all Colombian cities, so it is warmer, and has more subtropical
    climate then the rest of Columbia, excluding the Carribean coast.

    2. Salsa. Apparently Caleños modified salsa; made it faster and more exciting than the original Cuban invension. They also modified the way to dance salsa, with quicker steps and all the action happening with your feet, not so much the upper body. The local salsa band, Grupo Niche, made a song called Cali Pachanguero, which became Colombia’s unofficial anthem and made it to the world’s top 50 pop songs of all times. You can find it on you tube, if you like. It’s very nice, has nostalgic lyrics, but is very lively.

    3. Jovita. A lunatic lady who considered herself the Queen of Cali. She talked to Caleños as if they were her royal subjects. For some reason people loved her. The not-so-rich gave her food and chatted with her every day, the rich gave her expensive designers clothes. She was parading the streets of Cali all dresses up, greeting people. Now, that she’s gone, her legend is still alive. She even has her murals and a monument...

    4. Grafitti. Parts of the city are heavily decorated with grafitti and murals. Not as much as in Valparaiso, Chile, but still a lot. The city hall invited Latin American artists to paint the walls of some buildings along the main streets and the result is very interesting.

    Is it enough to call Cali special? A little excentric, maybe, but special? I don’t know... Perhaps there is more, but it takes living here for some time to notice and appreciate it. For me two days was enough...

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    One of the few historical buildings in Cali: a church with a sugar cane Jesus inside.

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    The juices they offer are sugar bombs! Deliscious, though, with crashed ice, fruits, and syrops...

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    The interactive salsa sculpture. Each trumpet you walk into plays a different instrument section of Cali pachamgero. The last one plays it all combined. Cool!

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  4. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    The monument of Jovita, the Queen of Cali...

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    ...and her mural.

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    „Jodido pero contento” - „Fucked over but happy” - a satirical mural that comments on the Colombian state of mind. I loved it!

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  5. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    Salsa club in Cali

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  6. Sifox

    Sifox Adventurer

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    Oh man, that horse ride looks like a lot of fun. Good call, way better than driving around in a jeep.
    I hope you got to show them how a "gringo" dances Salsa :)
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  7. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    At least with your 4 legged ride, the exhaust comes with lifetime guarantee.
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  8. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    Regrettably, I can’t dance salsa, I don’t even know the basic steps, so I didn’t show them anything. There were many nice ladies waiting to be asked to dance, but I don’t think they were waiting to be asked to teach you to dance :-). Next time.
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  9. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    You got that right! The exhaust worked perfectly, no parts fell apart (other than exhaust fumes and some residue) :-)
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  10. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    Days 105-106, Medellin, Colombia, 19.166 km

    Medellin surprised me and not in a good way: there was absolutely nothing there I would consider worth seeing. It did not take me long to realize I can probably spend my time better if I go some place else. And I did: I took a day’s trip to Guatapé.

    I am very happy I went there. Guatapé is a sweet colorful town where all the buildings are painted in bright colors and have paintings indicating what you can expect to find inside: a bakery, the butcher’s, a coffe shop, even a bike workshop. They give the town the fairy tale look.

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  11. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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  12. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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  13. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Medellín is one of my favorite cities in Colombia. Traffic there can be a little hectic, but easier to get through on a moto than in a car.

    I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t for you. For me, it’s an idyllic setting in a valley with fantastic weather and great mountain views all around, tons of things to do, incredibly varied neighborhoods and world class museums and restaurants. Riding the Metro Cable up the mountain to Santa Elena is a also a nice experience.

    That being said, you can’t go wrong in Guatapé, and that area and most of the area surrounding Medellín is all excellent riding and picturesque little towns, as is pretty much all of Colombia.

    Really enjoying your report and the excellent photos and insights into the local cultures. Looking forward to the Central America portion, which has to be coming soon.
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  14. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    Days 105-106, Medellin, Colombia, 19.166 km (2)

    Guatape has yet another attraction that makes the place spectacular, namely La Piedra, the rock, which sticks out high in the sky and gives you the best view on surrounding lakes and mountains. I have seen many beautiful places, but this one for sure is one of the the best. It doesn’t matter that first you have to climb some 700 steps. It’s worth the effort...

    Take a look!

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  15. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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  16. ShOqUePoT

    ShOqUePoT GS Pot

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    Wow...that's stunning! Great report.
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  17. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

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    That view is awesome! Imagine if that was Lake Tahoe,all those homes would cost a fortune.
    Fantastic journey so far. Keep it up!:super
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  18. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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    Days 107-110, Bogotá, Colombia, 19.630 km (1)

    The thing that surprised me most is that Bogotá was located in the middle of nowhere. Other hispanic cities have strategic location: they are situated near the ocean or a river, in valleys or places with pleasant climate.

    Bogotá is located on high planes, with no rivers or lakes around. Because of that, it has miserable climate - usually between 10-17 C, a lot of clouds and a lot of rain. You would think of Colombia as a tropical country, but in fact in Bogotá it is pretty cold all year round.

    The city is very diverse: it’s northern part is very rich, with uptown neighborhoods, expensive boutiques, fancy restaurants luxurious limousines. It resembles European capitals, feels rich and safe. The southern part on the other hand, is poor and potentially dangerous, especially at night when you see people smoking crack in the street, homeless eating from trashcans, and buskers asking you for money, cigarettes or food every now and then. Having said that, nothing happened to me, although I walked around at night more than I wanted.

    I stayed in the southern part because of its proximity to the old town and the airport. Arranging my bike shipment to Panama took some time, so in fact out of 4 days here I only had a day and a half to do some sightseeing, but still, I must admit I liked it. Maybe because of my super passionate guide, Daniel, who shared millions of anecdotes and historical contexts for every place we saw.

    The things I did not like was the traffic - one of the heaviest I have experienced, and the fact that most stores and food places were closing down as soon as it got dark, i.e. around 6:30.

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  19. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

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