Wednesday, 3 April 2013


We left Salento at 8 am on Monday morning and glad to say the small road back to the highway was empty, remember this is the road that took over an hour to do two miles on Friday, we had good directions from Edward from the Plantation hostel (well recommended if you are in the area) and turned of Eastwards just before Armenia towards Calcara, a short stop for fuel and then over the Andes again to Ibague, the road twists and turns over the mountains, hairpin after hairpin, roadworks after roadworks and nose to tail with diesel belching trucks, fantastic scenery but to be honest you need to keep your eyes on the road and your wits about you all the time so little time to watch the scenery. At some of the hairpins the road has been widened to let the huge trucks pass in opposite directions without touching but of course the locals see it as an extra lane so they end up 3 or 4 abreast on these corners, complete madness! We reached Ibague and the road got better, it was then Dual carriageway most of the way towards Bogota, approaching the city from around 20 miles away it got busier and busier as you would expect from a city of 8 million people, into the city on very congested and mental roads before turning North towards the airport, I think we were all glad to see the hotel!
Tuesday we arrived at Girag's office before 8am where we were met by the very helpful Paola who guided us through the paperwork and various offices we needed to visit to get more paperwork issued and signed (if you are doing this trip Barcelona Pat has got a very detailed and accurate description of the procedure on his site, cheers Pat!!) By Noon we were almost done, then the Police, they told us it would be 2pm when they could come to inspect the bikes, it turned out to be 4pm before we started!! By this time as you can imagine we were very weary! Then Mr policeman asked us to strip the bikes, all the luggage , tent, sleeping bags, dirty washing had to be laid out for his inspection, I can understand why I suppose. By this time even the ever helpful and smiling Paola was getting fed up, by 5.15 we were done, over 9 hours!!
The Girag staff were very helpful and like I say most of this time was down to waiting for the police, some further hassle from a jobsworth security guard ensured I left the compound in a bad state of mind, two bottles of red in the restaurant later sorted that though.
In theory our bikes fly to Panama City tomorrow morning, we fly in the afternoon and then hopefully we can extricate them from customs Friday morning, the adventure continues!
The Plantation house hostel, well recommended

Sunset in Salento

Stop for a fluid break after Ibague

Relieved after the very busy ride through Bogota!

Outside the Girag office

The beginning of the process, first the bikes into the warehouse up a very steep wooden ramp, stunt riding!

Waiting, waiting , waiting, boring, boring, boring,
So tomorrow we will leave South America, we will both be sad about that, it is a fantastic Continent with fantastic people and we have been lucky enough to meet many of them, Colombia has been one of my favourites, the people are so friendly and helpful and I'm sorry we don't have more time to spend here, that has to be said for all of the counties we have visited here , friendly people and great scenery, except for Peru I'm afraid, its the only country I wouldn't hurry back to for various reasons.
By the end of this week we will be starting North in Central America, all roads leading to the Moon!


  1. Hola,
    So the 'hop' over the Darien Gap has begun. Kat and I were chuntering and looking on Google Earth to see where you might fly from. We also keep looking at the distance from where you are now to Alaska and then the return and hack across to the East Coast. That 'Airway' seat is going to come in very handy, we think. Still minus 6C at night and no daffies out, though it may change around Tuesday next week. Go safe and good health.
    Slainte, Bill & Kat

    1. Hi Bill & Kat
      Aye about a third of the way methinks, the days we used the air seats they seem to make a difference. Bogota is one of the colder cities due to altitude, but a T shirt is fine, all this talk of minus temperatures depresses me!!!
      Keep in touch
      Gino & Fiona

    2. No trying to depress you, just enjoy the equitable climate afore the heat of the sou'west.
      La buena salud, Bill & Kat.

  2. Welcome to Panama. We crossed into Panama today too. We are in Boquete and met up with 1 other rider from BC and 2 from Argentina. They are all headed north like you. Maybe we will cross paths yet. cheers


  3. Glad to see you guys are right back into your tour.
    Your blog has inspired me to create my own one!! In August I will be on my bike (push) doing a 100 mile route from London. It is basically the same as that used for the Olympic road race last year.
    While you are waiting in a boring queue you could get get really bored having a look at it and seeing how cold it still is back here.
    Keep on with the updates, which I always look forward to.

  4. Hi Martin, oh dear looks a bit cold, its about 38 degrees here! We met these guys last year in Budapest, great blog and will be right up your street

  5. Hey I'm glad everything is fine with u guys, I wish you have a peaceful and amazing trip in the rest of the countries... Enjoy and I'm waiting for you to come back someday.

    1. Hi Paola, Thanks for all your help. We will tell everyone to use Girag! Bikes were good, now in the sun in Panama!
      Gino & Fiona