From the beautiful farm we set off for Colombia’s coffee country. We return to the well-developed highway and make good progress. In a short time we fight our way up the Alto de la Línea pass at 3300 meters and then in a short time come down into the valley. The engine and the brakes resent the track. I have to creep slowly up the switchbacks to keep the temperature gauge needle nicely below center.
My motto is now “drive with less enthusiasm” so that we don’t have to wait as long as we did behind Mocoa. Or that we might even end up in a catastrophe, like at the pass close to La Paz, when the ascent cost me the health of the engine. Or the breakdown we had when we just entered Ecuador.
The road over the pass is very busy. The trucks can only use this road to get back onto the Panamericana in the direction of the big cities of Pereira and Medellin. But the route is excellently developed. There’s an old highway that winds its way up the mountains and, more recently, a proper highway.
Both directions of travel have two lanes and are separated from each other, so that heavy trucks can be overtaken safely. Or we.
I don’t just have to pay attention to the engine. As soon as we have crossed the pass, we start the descent.
I do my best to alternate between motor and mechanical braking, not to overuse one or the other. But from a point, the brake is just rubber. We wait half an hour until it feels better, but safety-wise we should wait longer. But then we would have to spend the night on the side of the road. I risk driving on. We are just before Armenia, our destination for the coming days.
The Colombians charge for the good road conditions. While we initially only came to a toll station here and there, these closures are now piling up.
The prices also increase enormously. At least the procedure is simple. The people in the little houses always have the right change to hand.
Just before we reach Armenia we have to go through some tunnels. The Colombians were very creative in naming the tunnels, giving them the names of the animals that live here in the forests.
With a beautiful decoration, the animals have been memorialized here.
Beautiful memorials to the animals are also the creative road signs warning against turning these unique animals into street pizzas.
It turns out to be a fun game to decipher what kind of animal the warning might be.
When we finally made it down from the mountains, the brakes and I need a breather. It is not far to our accommodation and leads over level terrain. So I want to cover the last few kilometers so that I and the car can rest.
But fate wants us to take our break now.
Before we know it we are stuck in a traffic jam. Once again a construction site is blocking the passage in both directions and we have to wait until we can finally continue. Angela and Jorge are waiting for us in their beautiful finca in the middle of the world of coffee and cocoa.