A Room With a View and Apollo

The ride continues to be a pleasant uphill and downdale affair. Nothing that could be described as adventurous and not really physically challenging, although from time to time there are uphill stretches of several hours as we climb to 2000 metres plus.

The accommodation along the way remains plentiful, simple, clean, and cheap. We like these out of town places very much. The day of leaving Cali we stayed at the nicest so far. An hour before sunset we had just started to climb out of a valley when on the side of the road there appeared a delightful little farm offering rooms for the night.

We stopped and approached the gate. There was no sign of human life but a large dog lay there. ‘Go on bark then’ we urged the slumbering animal. He raised his head and an eyebrow in a gesture that could not have conveyed anymore boredom and then slumped back down again. We shouted a greeting hoping to attract someone’s attention; nothing. ‘Woof woof’ we encouraged the dog, he looked at us as though we were slightly mad, ‘go on then, bark you silly mutt’. He stirred, rose to his feet and made his way to the gate

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where he stood wagging his tale and dribbling slightly. Sebastian gave him a stroke, he is soft when it comes to dogs. Eventually two ageing ladies appeared. ‘Do you have a room for the night’ we asked them. They told us that they have a room for us but rather surpassingly they did not open the gate. What they did do was interview us for what seemed like an age whilst eying us up and down suspiciously. The interview was rather fragmented as their English was even more non existent than our Spanish. They asked where we were from, to where we travelled, where our journey through Colombia had commenced, and why we should be foolish enough to undertake such an endeavour. They also asked us a verity of questions the subject of which shall forever remain a mystery. Eventually they decided that although dressed for a Freddie Mercury tribute concert we were harmless enough and opened the gate. The dog slobbered some more, wagged it’s tale a lot sidled up to Sebastian who made a big of a fuss of him.

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‘Apollo es muy peligroso!’ (Apollo is very dangerous) she warned. Much to our amusement this behaviour continued for the rest of the evening. As the clearly docile Apollo busied himself slumbering the family would make lavish gestures to keep him away from us. ‘Back Apollo back’ they would say as they made gestures in his direction. Upon hearing his name Apollo would lazily raise an eyebrow to see what the fuss was about and then return to his nap.
The accommodation was quite wonderful. For less than €3 each we got the sort of room we have come to expect, small very clean and comfortable, only here we had a touch of character. The rooms were cheerfully painted, outside stood an old pony cart. There was a splendid garden with a small pool and a wonderful view of rolling hills which that night served as the foreground for an impressive light show from a distant thunder storm.

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The following morning as I sat on my bed writing the proprietor came to say hello. A teddy bear of a man with hands that look capable of digging to China without tools he admired our stove for some time and then come into the room for a good look at the bicycles. He admired them for a while and then casts his eye around the room. He looked at me typing away on my MacBook Air, ‘ahh, el computador‘ he observed out loud and then turning gravely to Sebastian he explained that if we harboured even the vaguest intention of keeping our possessions then under no circumstances should we cycle on into the evening. This advice comes our way regularly and serves to remind that as civilised as things appear we should maintain a level of vigilance.

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