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Back roads to the jungle

We had a lovely time in Bogota but we have some miles to cover so we set off for the mountains and the jungles of Colombia on our two day trip to Medellin. First thing in the morning we braved the intense morning traffic of Bogota to head north to the salt mines of Zipaquira. The miners here were very religous and so when the salt was extracted they made each chamber into a station of the cross and the main massive chamber into a cathedral.

It is difficult to get good pictures in the dim light, and I am still playing around with the new camera but these two give some idea of the vast scale of the underground caverns

Once we left the salt mines our navigation system suggested we head back down to Bogota and head across towards Medellin on the main road, but I had spotted another smaller road that took a direct route over the mountains and that looked like a more interesting but still a yellow road (as opposed to the very small white ones)

Things started well as we climbed into the clouds some dilapidated signs on the way warned of curves but we were entranced by the clouds mixing into the mountains and the fields hanging on steep slopes.

We had not seen many other cars on the road and suddenly after a nice view it became apparent why, the smooth road surface disappeared as we drove into a ravine and we were suddenly on a very narrow and potholed track with about 50km still to go to the next town

In places the road had suffered landslides and once we had to wait while a digger cleared the latest land slide from our path but it made for a good Nelson road and he is now well mud splattered and has proven his capabilities on challenging terrain once again

In places the road was very narrow indeed and a lot of reversing and ditch hugging was needed when we met a few oncoming vehicles

The views continued to be enchanting and were a fair reward for slow progress in miles

Finally we ended up at a lovely riverside campsite were we where able to cook our first proper camp meal of salmon and rice after a well deserved swim in the river to get rid of the heat of the day. In the photograph above it was the next morning and we are just finishing breakfast, the river which was clear the night before had turned brown as we had a very strong thunderstorm and rainfall all night. Luckily the local farmer had come along after tea and advised us to move up the bank a few meters just in case the river level came up and swamped us so we stayed relatively dry !

Next on to Gutape and Medellin ……

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