Colombia – the only risk is wanting to stay!

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Visiting a vineyard

In the Colombia Facil guide I read about the entry of the exotic vineyard Marqués de Puntalarga. They claim to be the highest altitude exotic vineyard in the world @2’600m. Hmmm…..interesting fact and sampling wine & eating cheese sounds like a perfect way to end an evening. It was getting late so we asked if we could camp on the property. We got introduced to the owner and soon chatted in German, French, English & Spanish. He is Colombian but studied in Switzerland & worked in different places in Europe. A very clever and great man. We thank Marco, his wife Sandra and the whole team for the amazing hospitality!

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we sampled 2 red wines and 2 white wines

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sampling wine and cheese and enjoying this beautiful view

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they hold a yearly international wine festival

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the flags of Colombia  and Switzerland

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sunset at the winery

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Thank you Marco (and his wife Sandra) for the amazing hospitality

Lago de Tota – largest lake in Colombia

a picturesque lake set 3’000m above sea level & its beautiful white sandy beach “Playa Blanca”.

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Playa Blanca at Lago Tota

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these cowboys were disappointed at first because we did not hire their horses for a tour but happy we shared some food with them and…..

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… and I got to try a warm poncho (made out of sheep wool)

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they were interested in the technical features of Mr. G

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“Vargas Swamp Lancers” memorial near Paipa

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wow…stunning the size of this monument

Villa de Leyva

This is another enchanting colonial town. Our base was the Guesthouse Renacer, one of our favourite places to stay so far. From there we could hike some trails with beautiful views of the town and surroundings or visit the interesting sites within or a litte outside the town.

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Plaza Mayor – one of the largest town squares in South America

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The 14,000 square meter plaza is immense

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this terracotta house (Casa de Barro) is entirely made from clay

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there are hidden treasures behind these doors…..

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cute little coffee shops…

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…with organic Colombian coffee…

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…and really great bakeries

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lots of artisan stores

Ráquira – the city of pots

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Gachetá

We got a recommendation from another traveling couple to drive to Gachetà and visit swiss emigrant Heinz Riesen where he runs a restaurant with swiss specialties and a meat factory. The Cordon Bleu dinner was to die for. Later Heinz, his Colombian wife, and other guests from Switzerland joined us and shared many stories We were invited to camp at his house and they shared a fantastic breakfast (of course with meat products from his factory) with us. Thank you Heinz for your generosity.

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We could camp in the garden of his house

Bogotà – Colombia’s capital city

Our first mission in Bogotà was to do some work on Mr. G. The front axle needed new seals. Ivan was prepared for this and had all the necessary parts with us. The shop Iguana 4×4 not only provided a place to work on the car, we could also camp at the shop with bathroom/shower available. Ivan did all the work himself with support from a mechanic in Switzerland and after two days we were back on the road.

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at this shop we met other overlanders

 

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Ivan working on the front axle….

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until late night….

After these two busy days at the shop we were invited to visit the family Salcedo that we met in El Cocuy National Park. They spoiled us with a wonderful lunch, stayed overnight (they even arranged a safe parking lot for our car a few blocks down from their house). We had a great time with the them and the three lovely kids. Wow… more amazing Colombian hospitality and so awesome conversing with locals and getting to see the country in a different light!

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Thank you Angie & Luis for your amazing hospitality

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quite a funny cat – NO, she did not eat the fish

Conveniently from their house we walked to the “La Candelaria” the historic centre of Bogota. It did not catch us so we did not feel like spending a lot of time there. Also the famous Gold Museum was closed that day.

4 thoughts on “Colombia – the only risk is wanting to stay!

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