First Impressions from the Road
Two days on the road and the first thing to strike us is how nice it is to be somewhere completely new. To ride through our first city is to experience something that whilst not exactly through the eyes of a new born baby does have an air of excitement and expectation.
There is a high military presence on the road. At first I found this rather disturbing, but now I actually find it rather comforting; especially as the soldiers look rather serious and don’t look nervous, which to my mind would indicate that they have things under control.
Fortunately the traffic is not so heavy and not too bad. We managed to arrive at our first big city with impeccable timing, rush hour. Barranquilla has a population of over a million and a ring road rather reminiscent of the Kathmandu ring road, only unlike Kathmandu one gets the impression here that the cars are at least fitted with steering wheels and the drivers have a little compassion towards cyclists.
We arrived at our first night stop town at sunset and rode around in the dark looking for a hotel, so breaking Colombia’s first rule of what not to do. But it was rather difficult to imagine this town as a place infested with banditos. It was a town with a jolly sort of an atmosphere, folk sitting out on the plaza during the evening enjoying the sea breeze and the company of others. The Osmosno Brothers also enjoyed this.
The people we meet on the road are a very friendly bunch. A cheery ‘buenos’ and a hearty thumbs up in approval of our cycling through their land.
The wind is also friendly. Our previous experience of South America was of constant head winds. That was a journey from east to west and then north. So beginning right at the top of South America and then riding south was an intelligently considered plan and so far the wind has been with us, which is a relief as it makes a far better ally than a foe.
Now we are in Cartagena, city of splendid Spanish Colonial architecture enclosed behind a wall designed to protect against the likes of Sir Francis Drake who’s ambition was to liberate the Spanish of the gold they had been busy liberating from the natives.
Ohhh, Sebastian go a punture.