Mondaż night“s dinner with Ana Cecilia and Philippe was delightful. Great company and superb food. Such great hosts and ambassadors for Venezuela!
Tuesday morning I crossed the border from Venezuela into Colombia, entering at Cucuta, Colombia. It was my most difficult border crossing of this adventure. First, it took me two hours to clear Venezuela, that and having to walk about two miles to purchase stamps for my exit fee.
Then, I found it very complicated to complete the temporary importation of the Goose into Colombia. I was sent into the border town of Cucuta, some twenty KMs from the actual border crossing to the Adian (Customs) but no one there spoke English, and I speak about thirty words of Spanish. Suddenly a young man stepped forward to help. In very good English he took charge and two hours later I had successfully entered Colombia. The entire crossing took almost five hours.
Off to Bogota, I decided to at least try to travel 200 KMs into the country. Not to be. I had not factored in the Andes mountains, curves, the tightest I have ever ridden. A road that was narrow, full of pot holes, sometime asphalt and sometimes rock, then dirt and after it started raining, mud! Trucks with no etiquette, no conscience and all out to run me over a clift. In three hours I managed to travel 107 KMs and stopped at the high mountain college town of Pamplona, a delightful city full of very nice people. A city of 70,000 people at 2500 meters altitude. It was cold and bleak but it turned out to be a nice evening.
The English professor at the University of Pamplona saw me, introduced himself and spent a couple of hours showing me around last night. He encouraged me to stay for a couple of weeks and study with him and his students. I should have met him when I started this adventure.
Up early this morning, I found the mountains cloaked in clouds and fog. Trucks filled the road. Diesel smoke belching in every direction. But I was off, passing when I could, dodging the scores of trucks that simply were in the wrong lane. One actually forced me off the road and I had to duck my head to keep from getting struck by the truck“s mirror. The first three hours I found I had traveled only 100 KMs. However as the day progressed, the roads improved and the fog lifted. I finally covered about 350 KMs today before rain forced me to stop in the small town of Barbosa, Colombia.
This is one beautiful country. High, steep and green mountains. Crops growing up the mountain sides. Animals everywhere. Goats and horses grazing on the sides of the road, without restraints. Today I passed through Bucaramanga a city of some 600,000 people and saw several herds of goats grazing in the parks and beside the streets. How does anyone know to whom they belong.
Two hundred KMs from Bogota but it could take me all day tomorrow to get there. I would like to visit the airport in Bogota tomorrow afternoon to firm up my plans but right now I have no idea how I will find the airport.