Even though we could sleep in I was awake at 5am. It rained heavily again during the night. The hotel is built around a small courtyard, when it rains you can hear it pouring down through the floors.
We had been told that the hotel had organized to get our washing done at special rates but we had to bring it down at 9 pm. When we bought it down the people at reception knew nothing about it and wanted to do it at usual hotel rates which would have cost approximately $100 NZ, so now we have to get it sorted today on a public holiday. It’s national Independence Day today in Colombia. Lesson learnt from this is that unless something can be done right away, don’t count on it.
I went down to breakfast, had cereal and fruit, and strawberry juice – that was a first! Interesting but not a convert.
Last night we went out to eat, I forgot the name of the place but it was Colombian food. I ordered a dish that came with a spicy vegetable soup, beans, rice, a potato cake (which was like a bread cover with potato inside), dried beef (it was like beef dust) and pork crackling, set off with a fried egg and quarter of an avocado (which is three times the size of NZ ones), cooked plantain (which is in the banana family), and a banana. It was interesting but way too much. There were 6 of us and we shared a jug of sangria. The bill was 35 pesos, which is approximately $16 NZ.
Today we had to meet in the lobby at 10am to go to a bike shop. It had been organized in advance for us to stay open today. A number of the riders needed to get various parts. One rider Eric could not get the parts he needed and ended up having to get another bike to be able to continue.
I needed new cleat clips for my new biking shoes, a magnet for my speedo, drink bottle (I bought a spare also), some bike lube and more chamois cream. I also bought a tube which is something you can wear as a hat or as a scarf around your neck or over the bottom half of your face. I figure this will be useful as we go further south. Nothing worse than having a frozen nose.
Ended up doing the washing by hand in the bath. I hung it up on the roof, and no sooner had I done this than it started to rain again. Hopefully the sun will come out again soon.
Medellin is the second biggest city in Colombia. It is located in the Aburra Valley, in the Andes Mountains. Situated 1,500 meters above sea level it is cooler than some other parts of Colombia.
As it is close to the equator it has pretty the same temperature all year round – an average of 22 degrees. The climate is tropical rainforest, so lots of rain and sun. Not great to keep a tent dry but excellent for growing.
The population in the city is 2.44 million, and with the surrounding areas it comes to 3.5 million. I have not seen any stray dogs in the inner city, but have seen some homeless people on the ride in.
The poor people live up high in the hills and there are a number of chair lifts operating so they can get to and from work. Whilst Medellin is considered a safe city it is not considered safe to wander around in the poorest areas.
We spent the rest of the day getting sorted for the next 6 days riding, before the next rest day in Bogota. My clothing is 95% dry. We went out to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner, I had half of a very nice bottle of Cab Sav from Chile – only my second wine on this trip – Colombia does not produce any wine, and some excellent ribs.