Tag Archives: Colombia

New Map, New Brakes!

Look, look, looook……. a new map of all our favourite bits of South America!  Zoom in, scroll around, click on the links!  If you’re itching to find out how we came to have such a fab new South America highlights map on our website, and how Cuthbert came to have such beautiful new brakes… read on below 🙂

 

New Brakes and More Parts

fitting new brakes

New brakes surgery in the campsite work-shop

Okay… we know… it’s been a bit quiet on the blog front recently. We’ve been holed-up in Medellin, Colombia for a whole month now. Regulars may recall that over two months ago  we ordered some spare parts from Iveco for Cuthbert maintenance. Well… the parts arrived in Medellin two weeks late, but at reasonable prices – the same as we would have paid in Europe with no shipping or import fees added. Can’t complain!

Down-town Medellin workshop

Down-town workshop

At a great campsite of Al Bosque just outside Medellin, Marcus cracked-on with the truck maintenance, so Cuthbert is now the proud owner of new front and rear brakes (discs, pads, drums and shoes), new universal joints in the front axle, new front shock-absorbers, new bushes in the rear anti-roll bar and a new aircon condenser. Phew!  The work was relatively straight-forward (well… straight-forward if you know about that kind of stuff 🙂 ) but there were a few of the old bits that refused to come apart. Our 4 ton jack/press couldn’t press the hub from the wheel bearing. So we borrowed a 10 ton jack/press from another overlander, but that wasn’t up to the task either. We ended up spending three days schlepping swivel-hubs and nefarious truck parts by bus and taxi to a workshop down-town Medellin; a 100 ton press finally did the trick!

New Map and More Time

Meanwhile… there’s only so much shopping and sight-seeing to be done in Medellin… so I did a bit of messing around on our website and found a WordPress plug-in to create this rather stylish new map. Given my limited IT skills, I’m rather proud of this!  It has icons, links, photos, videos and all-sorts!!  Please have a zoom in, scroll around, click on the links and let us know what you think… always room for improvement 🙂  (credit for the snazzy little icon designs goes to Maps Icons Collection, https://mapicons.mapsmarker.com).

What else? Oh yes… we also used our time in Medellin to extend our entry-permits and the vehicle temporary import permit (TIP).  Colombia gave us 90 days on arrival which has almost expired, so now with the extension have can stay another 90 days. The personal permits were pretty quick and easy (once we had mastered the compulsory on-line application process), but the TIP took a whole week to arrange. Good job we weren’t in a hurry!

Anyway… now that we have almost become permanent residents of the Al Bosque campsite and familiar faces in the local hostelry, it’s time to move on. Just got to decide where to go now…

Bogotá

Bogotá is big. A city of over ten million people. Ten million!!! It’s a gritty working city, full of graffiti and certainly not known for its colonial charm. A trip up the Monserrate cable car for an overview of the metropolis provides a small clue as to the scale of the place, but never let it be said that we judge a book by its cover.  We’re here to give Bogotá a fair crack-of-the-whip and we find it a nice city to mooch about! Also, we’re here to do some gadget shopping. Hmmm… sounds expensive!  Bogotá BlogBogotá blog Continue reading

Central Colombia

Help! We need an adequate superlative for Colombia. Bit unimaginative to say that it’s just the loveliest country… but trust me… it really is. After the friendliest welcome, countless scenic small towns, the finest coffee, the ancient history and the fascinating former drug-lands… we’re heading east and south a bit, on a very roundabout route through central Colombia to Bogotá.central colombia Continue reading

Medellin: Tale of a City

Milo is just 25 years old and extremely personable. At the age of 7 years old on his way to school, he saw his first dead body, lying riddled with bullets in the street of his neighbourhood. Eeishh… bit of a grim start to a travel blog, eh? Milo has much to tell us about growing up in the ‘90s in a drug-war-torn Medellin, but first let’s lighten things up and back-track a bit… Continue reading

Colombian Coffee Time

Got time for a coffee? These days we’re not short on time to sit around and swap stories with other overlanders over a coffee, so it’s rather cool to finally be here in the centre of the Colombian coffee universe. You know that Colombia’s big on coffee, right? Well, here in the Zona Cafetera they grow shed-loads of it. And many of the coffee haciendas don’t just do the coffee-crop, they do coffee-tourism too. Large-scale and small-scale producers take pride in both educating visitors and producing top-notch beans. We trotted along to a hacienda at each end of the spectrum to see them do their thing.Colombian Coffee tasting

Here’s ten little factoids Colombia’s Zona Cafetera has taught us about coffee: Continue reading

Cool Colombia

Hope we’re not tempting fate…. but after three weeks, cool Colombia ’s already looking hot-favourite for Cuthbert’s ‘Top Spot – South America’ Award. In the last blog we joked about Colombia’s notoriety for drugs barons and banditos. In truth, the threat to tourists from such characters is now very much history. Beautiful, clean, lots to see and do, outstanding value for money, exceptionally friendly and with a kind of chilled-out vibe that’s difficult to quite put your finger on. We’re continuing north now for some ancient tombs, a photo-dilemma and (yet another) visit to Iveco. The bar has been set high for Colombia so far… let’s see if we can find any points to knock it back along the way!
Cool colombia Continue reading

Colombia: Drugs Barons and Banditos?

Drugs barons and banditos are what Colombia is famous for, but we don’t spot any obviously suspicious candidates in the immediate vicinity of the border. Maybe they’re all further up-country? We’ll keep our eyes open for them as we head north. On our way, our Colombia travel blog takes-in the odd mysterious monument, cactus desert, crater lake, death-road and a jaw-droppingly beautiful religious sanctuary.

San Agustin Continue reading