Up to now we had no choice but to stay on the main roads with huge lines of traffic behind large slow lorries, with smaller trucks and buses trying to overtake them and cars trying to overtake all of them. Occasionally right hand drive would give us an advantage and mean we could get the drop on the cars ahead in order to get past the slow lorries. After 400 miles we were getting into the foothills of the Andes, the big lorries got slower and the overtaking more frantic, it is amazing how many Colombians can see round corners!
Finally we arrived at Chichamocha Gorge and camped in the car park for Chichamoch Park, with a fabulous view of the gorge . Next day we took the cable car down to the bottom of the gorge and back up the other side, we had lunch in a little Peruvian restaurant and then back on the cable car for a walk round the park, which included a huge memorial to the struggles between the locals and the Spanish, with life size bronze statues of people and animals, including four bullocks pulling a cart.
A short drive from the Gorge we stayed near Barrichara, a small village declared a World Herritage site and walked up an ancient footpath to Guane, an indigenous village.
After this we headed for the Highest Vineyard in the world at 2,600m on smaller roads, which turned out to be a lot smaller than we expected, a single track, unpaved road, first along a lush green valley, up into the clouds at 3,682 metres and down to the Vinyard. The owner of the vineyard told us there is a vinyard in Argentina at 3,200 metres, 'which is owned by Italians and they cheat, they have vines there but it is not possible to grow wine making grapes at that altitude and they bring them up from the valleys below'.
And now we have been at Villa de Layva for 4 days, another World Heritage Site, cobbled streets and the biggest square in Columbia, two nights ago we found a wonderful little Restaurant just off the square, with live piano musc and recorded concerts on 2 strategically placed TV'd, so good we went twice. Not only the best restaurant so far in Colombia but the best restauarnt on the whole trip!There is also lots to see in the area, plus a nice walk direct from the camp site.
We are now 40 days into this leg of the trip, 356 days on the road in the Americas and just over 30,000 miles since leaving New York last June.
|The restaurant at El Portal|
|Camped in Chichamocha Park|
|The view from the roof tent.|
|The cable car goes down one side of the Gorge|
|Through a station at the bottom and up the other side.|
|Chichamocha Water Park, we didn't go but the setting was amazing.|
|The Monument in the Park|
|The Walk to Guane|
|Near the end of the walk approaching Guane|
|A road less travelled (we saw 3 other vehicles in 60 miles)|
|And over the top at 3,682 metres|
|Villa de Leyva|
|The main Square in Villa de Leyva|
|The biggest Square in Colombia|
|The Terracotta or Clay House near Villa de Leyva|