Posts Tagged With: Hawkers

Friday – last day before the ride begins!

Sue and I went for a swim at the beach before breakfast. Even at 7:30 in the morning a swarm of hawkers appeared as soon as we set foot on the sand.

A hawker trying to sell me a necklace

A hawker trying to sell me a necklace (again, photo taken from Sue’s Facebook page)

The water was warm but not too warm, and a relatively safe beach.

Beach by hotel with city in background

Beach by hotel with city in background

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The beach in front of the hotel in Cartagena

After breakfast we had the first riders meeting, got to meet everyone and go over the outline of the trip, what was expected etc. It certainly sounds like it is going to be very challenging, from hot and sticky to cold and windy. Through the Andes the temp is expected to be minus 4 at night. The first three days are relatively flat which means we should not have to spend too much time in the lowest gear. Then a rest day and then we start to climb some pretty gruelling hills. I suspect there will be a fair amount of pushing my bike in the first month or so until I drop some weight and get fitter.

The trucks

The tour trucks

After the riders meeting Sue and I went into the walled city to have a last look around. We had lunch at the square in the middle. I had a very good friend whilst I was eating – a small pregnant dog who stayed until I had shared the last scraps, and then she was off. In the time we were at the table we had about 25 hawkers trying to sell us stuff. I have learnt not to smile or be too nice when saying no or they take that as encouragement.

My friend

My friend at lunch

We had to be back at 5pm as someone from the Colombian government (to do with tourism) wanted to come and wish us well. After that off to the bar for a cold beer then up the road for something to want. Than back to finish packing and sorting stuff into my bags – my daily bag and my rest day bag (we can’t access the stuff in that until the rest days).

The ride starts tomorrow!

5:50 am – bags to the truck
6:15 am – riders meeting
6:30 am – breakfast
7:00 am – leave hotel

We are doing a 90 kilometre ride, with the first 30 in a convoy.

Tomorrow night will be my first night in my new tent.

I am unsure what the internet coverage is going to be so there may well be gaps in the blogs, and then 3 days at once.

I have decided that I am going to be a racer – not because I am expecting to be fast – but if you identify yourself as a racer your time gets clocked in and out of camp each day, and I think it will be interesting to collate how many hours I spend on the bike.

Street in walled city

Street in walled city

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Hats for sale (Editors note: Really Mum? This is the best photo you could do? Check out Sue’s photo where you can actually see the hats!)

Categories: Columbia, Preparations, South American Epic | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Thursday in Cartagena

I ended up staying awake until really late. Bit of a time zone problem still, so was a bit later to breakfast. Met up with some of the riders from yesterday, plus some who had arrived since breakfast yesterday. Traded a few stories about who knew who, what rides people had done etc. Met one rider who did the Trans-Europa last year – this was the one I did in 2012. I caught up with Brett at breakfast who did the Trans-Europa the year I did. Great to see him and catch up with his news. Brett has done 3 more rides since the Trans-Europa, and is on track to be one of the first – if not the first – to complete the “7 Epics” (the company has 7 big rides they call the epics).

At breakfast a small group of us decided to walk along the shore to the old city. The water was warm but not nearly as warm as the hotel pool. I have not gone swimming in the pool as the water is as hot as a bath. Half way to the walled city my new hat decided to unravel and fell apart completely. Sue took some photos as I modelled different ways of wearing an unravelling hat. It disintegrated completely just as I got to the walled city.

My hat unravelling

My hat unravelling (photo copied from Sue’s Facebook)

All the way along the beach there were hawkers trying to sell us fruit, drinks, sunscreen, sun glasses, shady tents to use when on the beach, and ice blocks. Once we got to the walled city, this was replaced by hawkers trying to see t shirts, paintings, hats, sunglasses, and food of every description.

After wandering the outer walls we made for a square, and sat down for a cold drink. We had a constant stream of hawkers. Mostly all very good natured but the occasional one was a bit OTT. One of the young riders Rob (approx 23 year old) said about 10am in the morning he was offered drugs, cigars and prostitutes.

Square at Walled City market where we stopped for a drink

Square at Walled City market where we stopped for a drink

After the cold drink we went to the gold museum and to the Navel Museum then the clock tower. After this we needed to get back to put the bikes back together. It was too hot to walk back again so we hopped into a taxi.

It took a while to put the bike together, so after this it was time to retire to the bar for a cold beer. Afterwards a group of us went up the road and had pizza. Mine was very nice: anchovies, capers, cheese – what’s not to like.

At the Gold Museum - Example of gold works made by 15th century inhabitants of Cartagena

At the Gold Museum – Example of gold works made by 15th century inhabitants of Cartagena

Clock tower in the walled city

Clock tower in the walled city

Categories: Columbia, Preparations, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments