We have crossed the pass over the misty mountains and the weather is improving immediately. In the afternoon we will make a detour to a viewpoint overlooking the town of Pitalito and the surrounding mountains.
A lot of coffee is grown here and we can taste Nakama products directly from the family living here.
We continue to Altamira. We can’t find iOverlander’s recommended night spot, but the nearby hotel is cheap. The city is suffering from heavy traffic due to the landslide’s diversion of the Panamericana. Many restaurants and souvenir shops line the main street, but you can’t hear your own words over the noise of the heavy trucks.
The road continues north and even though it’s the weekend, the roads are full of trucks. I’m about to turn into the small town of Jagua when I see a motorbike coming dangerously close dangerously fast. It scrapes my side and tumbles to the opposite corner. I stop the car, turn on the hazard lights and rush to the driver who fell off his bike. A few other people come too.
The man can get up, fortunately he has no obvious injuries. When he takes off his jacket you can see a big bruise on his forearm.
He explains to me and the other people that I braked too quickly and made a direct turn. We should get the police. I could also give him money. I look at the scratch on the side of my car and tell the man that we should definitely wait for the police. After all, he drove into me from behind at high speed, so obviously it’s his fault and I have damage to my car.
Nobody called the police. I know I won’t get any money from this guy, or if I do, it’ll only be after days at the police station. I’m giving him a choice, call the police now, or we’ll all go our separate ways. He apologizes, shakes my hand and lets the other people help him wheel the broken bike into town.
Then the man remembers that he urgently needs to go to the hospital and to his work. What about the police? – I ask – won’t they come soon?
People look at each other questioningly.
I go back to the car, take a deep breath and then, with our new decoration on the car, we drive to the beautiful little place we were going to see an hour ago.
Jagua is indeed very beautiful. The low houses are colorful and colorful fences separate them from the cobblestone streets. There should only be more people here who give the feeling that people really live here.
On the way we stop at many vantage points from which we can marvel at the long valley and the Rio Magdalena in it.
On the opposite side we can see the second half of the Cordilleras, which after a few thousand meters of altitude disappear in the clouds, hiding their true altitude.
But then we get stuck. A construction site lies ahead of us and regularly blocks the road for all vehicles. We have to wait half an hour before it starts again.
It is very annoying and there is never any advance notice. We will encounter these construction sites more frequently on our journey through Colombia.
We’re again looking online for ideas of where to stay, depending on Sara, who says how much longer she can keep entertaining Leon in the back seat without going insane. For Uwe we need something that also offers space for a tent and then Sara doesn’t want to go wild camping anymore. We choose a campsite that is near a thermal bath and where Sara can swim.
The drive there is nice, because we finally leave the stressful highway and drive along a small road through fields and small towns. It’s very nice and I’m looking forward to our campsite.
There are many bars and restaurants here. Unusually many. We pass through the bustling town of Termales and many holiday homes. Then we reach a large entrance gate with a barrier, ticket office and our personal camping assistant, who helps us to find a place. I have great difficulty understanding people’s Colombian.
The facility is my nightmare cast in plastic. Paddling pools, water slides, cocktail bars, restaurants and snack bars. A guy has nothing better to do than banging out cocktail offers or the names of birthday boys through a mic and speakers all the time. Later he does Zumba in the water with the people.
I feel acute nausea and want to escape. Uwe thinks it’s okay and Sara is beaming with enthusiasm. Good, we have to stay. It only gets full towards night. Very, very full. Damned. Exactly today is Saturday.
Where do you get the worst coffee in the world? In Colombia. What we get here is a transparent broth that looks like what you get out of a coffee maker after it’s been cleaned. The bland taste is overlaid with a large load of sugar. Voilá – you get what Colombians proudly call “tinto“. Actually the word for red wine. Rumor has it that the Colombians export every last gram of quality coffee and only keep the scrap itself. I’ll try to ask next time. We’ve been to a coffee farm, and there wasn’t much tinto to drink there either. In a few days we want to reach Colombia’s coffee plantations and get a picture there.
We sit devastated in the holiday paradise of horror and receive breakfast. The coffee was stirred together in a large pot in the kitchen. Uwe has no chance of getting a coffee without sugar. But from now on the day has only nice surprises for us. A dream of a desert awaits us.