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