Our first visitor and good friend, Elizabeth, was Chimera’s saving grace. Within only a few days of her arrival in Bogotá we were back on the road and headed off on more adventures. We drove straight to the charming town of Villa de Leyva, where we enjoyed some leisurely hikes and an amazing market. Then we hit up the Zona Cafetera, the gorgeous coffee region, where we indulged in the locally grown, freshly roasted beans, showered in waterfalls and swam in hot springs, hiked through a fantasy land of wax palms, and made explosions.
Chimera couldn’t have chosen a better place to break down. Not only was El Cocuy full of kind and generous people, the local scenery was spectacular, and we were on the front doorstep of Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) El Cocuy. Taking a break from engine woes, we strapped on our packs and headed out into the beautiful mountains for a wonderful (albeit very cold) weekend in the Colombian tundra. On the way back to El Cocuy we caught el lechero (the milk truck) which was one of those amazing and unforgettable experiences where you get to see the colors of life in rural alpine farm country.
Colombia is an incredibly beautiful country and our first few weeks in South America were filled with colors. First we took in the lovely streets of old town Cartagena with its many terraces spilling over with bougainvilleas, then we spent a great week climbing at a spectacular sandstone cliff with an unbeatable view. Next we visited the picturesque colonial town of Barichara, where we camped overlooking another amazing canyon and walked the quiet streets. As we made our way towards El Cocuy we drove up and down mountainsides, across stream beds, and through rolling farm lands where spotted cows lazily munched away, and fields of purple potato flowers decorated the landscape.
After a little more than two weeks, a few thousand dollars, and countless hours of hard work, Chimera is purring like a kitten and we’re back on the road! We are now moving on to new adventures with a nearly-rebuilt engine. A big thanks to our attractive mule, Elizabeth, who managed to sneak into Colombia with two large, very heavy bags from the US full of auto parts. We are also thankful for all of the extremely friendly and helpful people in El Cocuy who not only loaned us tools and offered assistance, but were also very kind and hospitable and made our extended stay quite enjoyable.