My perfect birthday

6th May 2015

We are staying at a cheap hostal, which Kristjan also stayed at a week ago, because it is perfectly located between the airport, the shipper’s office and the cargo area. Anthony did ask whether I would like to stay at the much more expensive hotel across the road, but I don’t think it is worth paying 7 times more, for 3 nights, for an airport hotel – if it had been a country retreat, or beach hotel, maybe, but not for an airport hotel which can only be large, impersonal with horrendous food prices. The El Hangar hostal is clean and the staff really lovely. Ok our room is very small, thin walled with one tiny high window and the hostal full of passing travelers who don’t care about anyone whatever time of the night, but it is perfectly located.

El Hangar hostal, behind the petrol station, Medellin airport

El Hangar hostal, behind the petrol station, Medellin airport

Our room at El Hangar hostal, Medellin airport

Our room at El Hangar hostal, Medellin airport

I wake up on my birthday to a beautiful blue sky and birthday card which Anthony designed on his iPad. I read all my birthday messages on Facebook, WhatsApp, and email. It is nice to still feel connected to all my family and friends. For breakfast, we walk 10′ up the road rather than eat at the hostal and have a delicious omelet and coffee. On the way back we stop at the most incredible supermarket: it sells all the usual supermarket kind of stuff, but also has a hardware corner where amongst many things, we buy plastic tubing by the metre: we need to empty the fuel tanks for the flight to Panama. We also buy a bucket, toilet brush to get into the places fingers can’t quite reach, and food for tomorrow as we will be at the cargo area for hours while the drug inspection is conducted.

Shopping done, time to re-wash the bikes

Shopping done, time to re-wash the bikes

My birthday morning is then spent re-washing our bikes.  We had washed them the day before at a mountain roadside truck wash, but just before we arrived into Medellin, we had to cross a very muddy puddly right across the road – no way to avoid it, and even going at walking pace, it splashed beautifully!! Because the bikes were clean, the muddy spray is even more visible!! Anthony finds someone to give our 5 litres of spare fuel to and he comes over while Anthony syphons the tanks. No luck – the fuel doesn’t flow up despite several attempts at sucking in the horrid fuel fumes. The guy takes over and tries several times. No luck. Too bad, the mechanic who is going to strip our bikes tomorrow will have to empty the tanks himself.

Final bike clean before shipping

Final bike clean before shipping

Bikes washed and ready for tomorrow, panniers packed and a few essentials left out for the next 5 days (it is interesting how we manage to live with so little now), a warm shower (we have had a few too many cold showers of late so a warm one is lovely), time for a quick lunch at the hostal and we walk over to the airport to catch a bus to town. Medellin is 30kms away, on the other side of a range of hills. We have the rest of the day free, so why not make the most of it and traveling by bus is a novelty for us, so I am looking forward to the trip. TripAdvisor is a great source of information on things to see in places we haven’t visited before and based on what I have read, I have no great expectation for Medellin, but Anthony has done some research and has found a sculpture park!! Great!! I have always loved sculptures, so I am looking forward to seeing them.

All our luggage for the next 5 days

All our luggage for the next 5 days

We thought buses travelled fast when we are on the bikes, but being on one of them, they seem ever faster, especially on mountain roads!! And I am worried about the flights to Panama?!  It is reassuring however to notice that they pull over to the side when a vehicle overtaking needs a little more space to squeeze past oncoming traffic. There is understanding, anticipation and courtesy despite the apparent madness when overtaking.

Medellin in huge, the 2nd largest city in Colombia. As we approach the city centre, it feels so different to other Colombian or even other South American cities. The streets are lined with tiny stands, often selling identical goods to the one next to it – we see so many cap stands yet don’t see that many people wearing them!?! The pavements are full of people walking or just standing, seemingly waiting for the day to pass. We walk around the square, past all the sculptures, watch people watching, but do not linger and return to the bus stop to go back to the airport. A perfect little outing.

Plaza Botero sculpture, Medellin

Plaza Botero sculpture, Medellin

The only sculpture I liked - is the guy behind me really listening to music?!...

The only sculpture I liked – is the guy behind me really listening to music?!…

Umbrella repaIrer in Medellin

Umbrella repaIrer in Medellin

Great bike!

Great bike!

Plaza Botero, Medellin

Plaza Botero, Medellin

Medellin suburbs

Medellin suburbs

Before walking back to the hostal from the airport, time for a coffee and birthday cake at the airport!! Delicious!!

My birthday cake - marzipan frog

My birthday cake – marzipan frog

Oops

Oops

Back at the hostal to watch a movie Anthony has downloaded onto his iPad, Wild Target with Bill Nighy, before an early dinner back at the place we had breakfast as they were so friendly there.

Birthday dinner with banana chips

Birthday dinner with banana chips

It was a busy and full day but perfect, the best part being sharing and enjoying the simple things in life with my darling and reading all my birthday messages from family and friends. A perfect 58th birthday 🙂

– Anne

21 comments on “My perfect birthday

  1. Could this be a new career : Happiness Coach in ‘In Spite Of’ (eg noisy nighttime neighbours; muddied just-cleaned bikes; sucking petrol fumes). Great philosophy. xx

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  2. I had to smile at M’my’s comment. SO true!!!! You seem to be able to stay cheerful and happy no matter what the circumstances. The real secret to getting the most out of your lives.

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  3. Oh Anne I feel really good after reading this post, you are wonderful in that and I feel that how much I miss U and Anthony. you are really great and different. I hope to see yours in Iran again. I don’t know how or when or why but I am waiting for that.

    Have nice trip

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  4. Big happy birthday from down under. I think the new career should be luggage packing coach, amazing you travel with so little as this is not an art I recognize!

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  5. Happy Birthday to a special (old) lady !!. I’ve celebrated with you from the comfort of my armchair. Amazing how all the different towns and cities always look clean compared to most places in the western world; they still have pride in their country and always want to show it at its bestir would seem.
    Can’t wait for you both to get back on bikes and start the next leg of a fantastic journey. Meanwhile, enjoy the break.
    Throttle on.

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  6. I loved the sculpture with the girls whose derrieres are so Botero-esque! One can see how his people inspired him! Glad my perfect sister had a perfect birthday! Perfect whilst cleaning your bikes, really? You are amazing😍

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  7. Lovely to read your birthday post. You have such a wonderful outlook on life, just enjoying the simple pleasures and not expecting more. Richard enjoyed his birthday too…a train ride to Lucca and a lovely lunch in the piazza…people watching!! Looking forward to your next installment XX 😘😘

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  8. Perfect day ! The hostel looks clean albeit small , can quite understand your reasoning.Love the birthday cake !!! Simplicity fills the heart with joy xxxx

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  9. Laughed at Diane’s comments about the Botero-esque statue leaners – life imitating art! The simple things on your birthday… love the green frog for your cake relished as only you would do! Never eaten a banana chip – presume that are a little like a dried banana? xx

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    • I certainly did relish my marzipan frog!! Those banana chips didn’t really taste of banana – good thing for someone who doesn’t like banana!! Although I am able to eat a banana in under an hour now though!!! Xx

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      • Too funny a banana chip that doesn’t taste like banana! I can only eat a banana that’s not quite ripe and never could understand why people loved banana split… xx

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