Saturday, November 25, 2017

Colombia day 15: It's a long way to Manizales

After a short day yesterday, we decided to go longer today and made it all the way to Manizales. The roads were busier than the previous day's, but mostly in good condition. There has been a lot of rain in this area in the last few days and there were multiple landslides on the roads. You can tell we are in a wealthier/more touristy area as there were crews out with diggers and trucks clearing them up. We actually had a couple of rain storms while riding too, and quite a lot of grey overcast skies. It makes the climbing a little easier to handle than the intense sun. There were many more jeep taxis on the roads today. These seem to be something like a bus, but a little more flexible. Some were incredibly overloaded with the front seats filled, people squashed into the bench seats in the back with goods piled between them, 3 or 4 people standing holding on to the back and more goods piled on the roof rack, possibly including a couple of sacks of coffee beans. The negotiations when they were picking up and dropping of customers could get quite involved!

Unlike entering Medellín, it's quite a climb up to Manizales. Thankfully it didn't loom over us in the same way as Salamina did yesterday - because it was short day and much shorter as the crow flies we could see our destination for much of yesterday's ride. Manizales is both the northern most city in Colombias zona cafeteria (coffee country), but also the main entry point for a couple of national parks. As we have arrived a day early, we managed to book on a tour to enter the Nevados national park tomorrow and walk up a volcano. A nice relaxing day off. I'm not sure that it will feel that way when the alarm goes off at 4:15am though! Hopefully it will mean that we will get to see snow (or the remains of a shrinking glacier at least). For the last couple of years black Friday has marked the start of our ski season - making the most of REIs #optoutside campaign. So it seems appropriate that we should see snow this weekend.

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