This morning I reached the colorful colonial-style town of Filandia in the Zona Cafetera. It’s one of these cute little towns which make you wonder whether they were specifically built it for tourism. Especially in the center around the Parque de Bolivar the houses look almost perfect like in an american theme park – however still authentic.
The way to get here from Jardin was both challenging but enjoyable at the same time. I had to climb for 16km through a picturesque mountain range. As beautiful as the views were as bad was the surface of the road. In the beginning it was still partly paved, but the higher I got it became a decent dirt road with big stones which made riding the bike with all my gear pretty difficult. From time to time it got even worse at places which they currently tried to improve by putting a fresh layer of gravel and red soil on the road which in combination with rain or water from a nearby waterfall turned the road into mud pit. The way down to Riosucio was not much better. It’s one of the unrewarding situations of cycling off-road. You cannot enjoy the downhill as you have to stay on the brakes constantly if you don’t want to ruin bike, gear and sensitive body parts.
When I finally reach Riosucio I have only 45km on the clock but spent already more than 5 hours on the bike (including a few breaks of course). After a late lunch and a coffee I decide to continue my ride and look for an opportunity to sleep somewhere out of town. After climbing for another 5km approximately I discover a little restaurant which has an almost perfect camping spot. A nice grassy field with a beautiful view over the mountains. I ask to the owner if I could setup my tent for one night if I have dinner at their restaurant and she happily agrees. I order an Aguapanela con Queso (wikipedia) and an Arepa de Choclo (recipe) and setup my tent.
The next morning I luckily only have to climb a little more before I enjoy a long downhill – and this time on nearly perfectly paved roads. I easily gain more than 70 km on my bike computer before noon – a thing that rarely happens. Since I made such good progress with little effort I decide to cycle a little further than originally planned and target for Filandia. It’s going uphill again and after a total of more than 100km I stop again at a restaurant which allow me to camp on their property. They even offer me to use their private shower, which after two days of cycling is more than welcome.
From here it’s only 20km till Filandia. And after having visited that I continue to Cali.