The flight itself from Panama City to Cartagena, Colombia was at noon; it was quick and without any problems. We booked rooms in a hostel together with Adeline and Francoise. The taxi driver was not really amused to drive to the part of Cartagena where our Hostel was – he said it is a dangerous area; they shoot people there, even at day time… We chose that place because they should have safe parking and it is not too far from the port area as well not far to the old town center.
The hostel was a little nice place with a little fenced front yard with an friendly owner and nice employees. We asked about the area, where to get foot and how to walk to the beach. We strolled around and we did not feel unsafe at any time. Of course there were some side streets you which were not really inviting but all people we were talking too were friendly. We received the information that Monday is a bank holiday in Cartagena – they shifted the All Saints’ Day from the last week to Monday. The upcoming weekend they celebrated the Independence Day and the celebration starts already on Thursday. Realizing we chose a bad timing (we all had a check for any upcoming bank holidays but the calendars we looked at were not showing all these days). We worried a bit because in fact we have only 2 days to get the vehicles out and for the third day we have to pay already the storage fee. If not we have to wait until next week Tuesday. Nothing we can do except being prepared as best as possible and so we used the Monday to explore Cartagena.
Tuesday morning we went early to the port. Maybe you know `The Twelve Tasks of Asterix´ so you have a good idea of what we had to go through. We had 21 steps and were running from one place to another, back and forth, waiting getting another paper, walking back and forth, waiting… But the second day we finally had the bill of lading, the TVIP and even the insurance done. And the moment we opened the container we saw our motorcycles as we left them and left happily the port in the afternoon.
First time driving in the Colombian traffic and in the rush hour. For about 5km we needed 40 minutes. Sascha’s horn was not working for longer already and now Kerstin’s was not working anymore as well. Surely we have to work on that ASAP – here a loud horn is really needed to make your way through the traffic. We spend the evening sorting and washing clothes. Early the next morning we drove just 10km north to La Boquilla. There we found a perfect place, parked next to the pool to work on little things and jumping into the pool in-between. Kerstin´s horn was fixed within an minute; it was just not correctly connected to the battery. Great! For Sascha we have to find a new one on the way.
After all these days in the cities in the heat and processes and bureaucracy we ached for mountains and fresh air. Our next destination we chose was about 250km north of Cartagena: Minca. It is a small village at an elevation of 650m in the Sierra Nevada above Santa Marta. On the way we managed to find new horns for Sascha which he fixed as soon as we arrived in this much cooler temperature than the boiling cities. This was a perfect place to plan our further route, to work on the blog, to fix small thinks and to explore the lovely area. We were staying three nights and we relished the spirit of this little village with several beautiful nature spots close by. You can easily hike to the Pozo Azul, a popular swimming hole with two small waterfalls. As it was weekend when we went there the pool was packed with people, 300+, tssss. But when we climbed up we had the cascades at the upper falls just for us. Las Piedra is another river bath place just around the corner. And if you spend more time here you can learn about its organic coffee plantation or explore the bird-watching places.