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Published: June 11th 2014
No babies in this cabbage patch
March (Odyssey Day 123)
We were having a very late start today, planning to leave at 1200 and have lunch on the road. So we had our eggs for breakfast before spending some time catching up on the internet and packing our bags. I have too much stuff at the moment, and really need to do a bit of a clean out of my luggage. No point in carrying things around that I won’t be using any more (or that are broken). I’ll make time for that at the next hotel.
Kelly and Eamon decided to remain in Medellin for another week and meet up with us in Cali, while Joanna and Ann decided to spend one more day in Medellin and get a bus to Guatapé tomorrow to meet up with us there. It’s really odd to get on the truck and find it half empty – there certainly aren’t any arguments over seating anymore!!
Today’s journey wasn’t far, just a couple of hours on some winding roads. We made a stop half way to make lunch
The bar receipt
and it was really nice to have our own food again. They just don’t seem to serve much in the way of vegetables in Colombia. I miss camping mostly for the food!
We then made a quick stop in some little town for the guys to do a bar shop – and they certainly filled it up! The receipt was a mile long and the fridge is chockers. Meanwhile, Hannah and I wandered up the street and found a little bakery which sold delicious donuts and coconut ball things that deserved a second helping. Hannah bought an extra one just before we walked back to the truck – and as we climbed back on, she noticed she had the money for the coconut cake in her hand. She had taken the food and forgotten to give over the money in return. With our laughter trailing behind her, she rushed back up the road to pay. Clearly the woman at the bakery wasn’t too bothered about it.
We arrived at the campsite in Guatapé around 1600, with plenty of time to set up our tents before dark.
First glimpse of Peñon de Guatapé (The Rock of Guatapé)
Apparently here it rains in the evenings and is nice during the day, and sure enough it started drizzling as soon as the tents were set. The campsite is actually a hostel and we had our own indoor kitchen and lounge area just for our group, which was good. The setup the truck has is good, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a proper kitchen.
Of course, it did have a slight problem, where if you locked the door with the key from the outside, you couldn’t unlock it from the inside even with a key since the lock was different. Since you needed the key to get in from outside, one was left out there so people could get in to use the toilets during the night. Unfortunately, one of the guys’ key locked the door after going to the bathroom at midnight, before I had gone to bed. So there I was, stuck inside until someone else needed the bathroom at 0300 the next morning. At least I had my computer with me to keep me entertained. It did make we vaguely wonder what would happen if the place was
The tents are set up just before it rains
struck by lightning and caught fire or something. Those strange windows didn't look like they would be easy to break or get out through...
March (Odyssey Day 124)
Free day today. There was a nearby waterfall that a few people went hiking to (though they never actually made it there as the river was overgrown and they couldn’t find a way through) while others went out on the lake in a boat for a couple hours. A hydro-electric dam was built in the area some 50 or so years ago and the little town of Guatapé sits on the edge of the water. This time of year it is very peaceful since there are few tourists around.
I spent the afternoon wandering around town with Hannah, Mike and Toby. Guatapé is a lovely little town. Very small but very clean and all the houses and shops are nicely painted and have murals and pictures on the walls. It was a project the town did some years ago to improve itself and it looks
AJ walks the brightly coloured streets of the town
Today I’m on cook group again and made sure to be back in time to start. We finally managed to get some wine that was both cheap, as well as decent enough to drink, imported from Chile of course. After dinner we even managed to heat some caramel (or rather, Dulce de Leche) to eat with fried plantain (like bananas but eaten cooked and not as sweet) that needed using up. With the leftover caramel, we toasted some marshmallows to dip in it, though it was a bit odd to toast them on a gas stove instead of on an open fire.
March (Odyssey Day 125)
The plan today was to head off at 0900 to Peñon de Guatapé and climb the 650 or so steps to the top. Unfortunately this morning was a bit dreary weather wise and Simon decided to wait a half hour to see if it cleared a bit. Well, it didn’t really clear – but it stopped drizzling and settled for a misty fog and heavy cloud
Peñon de Guatapé
AJ starts climbing
instead. We piled aboard Ithaca to get a lift to the rock and once there, we paid our entrance fee (COP 10000) and started up the zig-zag staircase. Ellie elected not to come due to her aversion to heights.
I knew it would take me a while to get up to the top so I didn’t stop for coffee on the way and was the first one through the gate. Definitely not the first to the top though as I was overtaken by almost everyone by the half-way point. It was a good climb though, the view was lovely and they had the stair numbers painted on every 25th
stair. This was a great motivator as you could see you were one third of the way up, half way up, almost there…
Then I made it to the top, where there was a café, breathed a sigh of relief, and then turned around and noticed the tower above me… Yes, there was more! There was a little tower on top of the rock and at the very top of the tower, a platform and here was
Peñon de Guatapé
The view of the waterways from half way up
the top – step 740.
Having made it to the top, Wayne organised everyone for a group photo before the flying bugs chased us all back down again. After a well-earned ice cream, we headed back down the stairs. There was a different staircase for going down and just as well as they are pretty narrow in a few spots. Hannah and I made our way down slowly, sometimes overtaking Steve and sometimes being overtaken by him. In the end, I was the second last to get down – something that could have been predicted.
After that though, I wasn’t much up to walking back to town as everyone else was planning. It was only (apparently) about 4.5km, but Hannah and I opted to catch a taxi instead, in the form of an old but very shiny convertible. It was good fun and he had to get a running start down the hill for the engine to turn over.
Having been dropped in town, we stopped for banana splits before heading back across the bridge to relax at camp.
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