Lots of beautiful scenery though, to keep you occupied for the four to five hour bus ride!
So, we were up fairly early yesterday and ready to get out the door by 9:00am or so. We had said goodbye to Herber when he left for work around 7:00am, and Andrea locked the door behind us because she was leaving the same time as us. Really nice young couple and we hope to see them again when we return to Medellin in mid December for our return flight to Mexico.
Thanks for everything Andrea and Herber!
It took about two minutes to flag one of those little yellow taxis and we were on our way. It cost 15,000 pesos ($7.08 CAD) for the ride to the southern bus terminal in Medellin. Still pretty busy with morning traffic, it took about a half an hour for the 11 km (7 mile) ride.
At the bus terminal, we had to find which bus companies offered service to Manizales, and then choose which type of bus we wanted. They were all the same price...35,000 pesos ($16.50 CAD) per person.
One guy in one of the booths kept holding a sign saying "Manizales" and pointing to us. How he knew we were headed that way, we don't know. But he was persistent and it paid off as we decided to go with him. It was a smaller company using an 8 passenger minivan. And, he was leaving shortly. He got us into the van and made sure I was in the seat that had the most leg room. In fact, I could stretch my legs right out!
We were on the road by 10:30am. There were only two other people in the van with us, however he picks up and drops off people along the way.
All of these photos were taken out the bus window using our new little compact waterproof and shockproof camera. While it may be both of those things, we're not overly impressed with the picture quality. The bigger camera definitely takes better pictures, however you need to be cautious with security in Colombia and so we use the small camera when we don't want to stand out so much as tourists.
They use motorcycles for everything.
The southern outskirts of Medellin.
Yes, this is the main highway leading south!
Most of the road hugs the side of the mountain range, with steep dropoffs.
And you had better not be queasy, because with all of those twists and turns, and drivers (including our minivan driver) that are willing to pass on many blind turns it's a bit of a hairy ride! However, we saw little indication of accidents and the drivers seem to all know how to avoid each other. I think Ruth closed her eyes a couple of times though!
The fantastic scenery takes your mind of the ride though. What a stunning country...
Most homes have a beautiful view.
We could live anywhere along this route and be happy!
This is our kind of scenery
I know most people like the beach, but we'd rather be in the mountains.
Every turn offered a new view.
Heading down into the next valley.
Everything is green.
We're just at the end of rainy season here, which is one of the reasons everything is so green. Yesterday was the first day we didn't see any rain, although a few times it looked like it could have rained. It was interspersed with some blue sky and sunshine though which was nice to see.
Colombia is very mountainous.
We stopped in the town of La Pintada for a break around the half way point. You can buy food from the many vendors who sell to the many buses who stop at this point. And use the facilities!
I was hungry! I bought this big corn bread thing. At first, I thought it was a bit pricey at 3,000 pesos ($1.42 CAD), but we had a hard time finishing it between the two of us!
Getting close to Manizales.
Manizales is a small city with a population of about 350,000 people. It's a university town, with 7 different schools of higher education. Guys...you'll want to go to school here...I've read that girls outnumber guys by a ratio of 3 to 1! It's also the center of Colombian coffee production and there are a lot of coffee bean farms in this area.
We got off the bus around 3:30pm...so almost five hours for us including stops. The Manizales bus terminal is located right at a cable car station that takes you above the city to downtown. What an efficient system! And it cost only 1,600 pesos ($0.75 CAD) each.
Then we had to walk about 9 blocks to our downtown hostel. Very busy downtown area, mostly with pedestrians. The narrow one way streets did have some vehicle traffic, but it was really crowded with people. Sorry, no photos. We were too busy trying to make our way through the people with our bags.
Arrived at Kaleidoscopio Hostel. We had read excellent reviews about this place and have booked in for a three night stay at 60,000 pesos ($28.00 CAD) per night for the two of us. Owner Martha showed us to our room and insisted that we rest. And we did, falling asleep for about an hour!
Our room has two double beds, but it is a private room. We do have to share a bathroom, but it is spotlessly clean and with good hot water showers.
Even have a television, however with the strong wifi signal, we'll be busy on the internet during any spare time. Oh, and breakfast is included in that price.
Then, we went for a walk and got some dinner. Just another meat and cheese arepa, and with a beer and a juice the cost was only 12,500 pesos ($5.87 CAD). Hardly worth trying to cook it yourself for that price.
They have a fantastic cathedral here and it was all lit up at night.
The cathedral here has the highest spire in Colombia.
We bought a bottle of aguardiente, the national drink of Colombia. It is 29% alcohol and has a taste like anisette liqueur. It is normally drank straight up, so that's the way we have it. I think the locals do shots with it, but we think it's a good sipping drink!
Toasting another great day in Colombia!
Yesterday's bus ride....192 kms (119 miles).
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