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Old 03-04-2014, 04:51 AM   #1666
Maritime Mike
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Hi Gene / Neda,

I'm loving your ride report , and the photo's are next to none . I see that you are on most social media platforms out there, ever consider Intagram for your photography?

All the best in the future.....Mike
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:33 AM   #1667
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First post here, just wanted to say I love your ride reports and can't wait for updates! Thank you for sharing your amazing photos, stories, and experiences. Fuel for dreams...Spring can't come fast enough to the northeast in America...
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Old 03-06-2014, 03:56 PM   #1668
kevin2735
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
"we want to make the trip a success, it's just the details and the approach that may differ, and that's not a really a big thing in the overall picture. I don't think we're very prideful people, so it's not beneath us to concede, apologize or just agree to dsagree without resentment."



IMHO the above says it all with regards to relationships, whether the "trip" is going to the store, riding around the world, or spending the rest of your lives together. Words to live by.

Couldn't agree more. I really keyed in on "agree to disagree without resentment" My wife and I always say that, but the key is to say it without holding the grudge. Sage words my friend Gene!
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:36 AM   #1669
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/137.html



Getting out of our warm bunk beds to the chill of the Bogota morning was very difficult. We spent the morning talking to the other backpackers in the hostel over breakfast while waiting for the weather to warm up to do some sightseeing.


NedaTV: All Neda, All the time. Security cam on our hostel.


Across the street from our hostel

We had heard a lot about Bogota, mainly warnings about how bad the crime is in the city. The traffic certainly lived up to its reputation, so we had certain expectations about the rest. Bogota surprised us. It was not the dirty, slummy place we had envisioned, but instead was quite modern - at least the touristy places that we went to, within walkng distance of our hostel.


La Candelaria


Morning ruminations

Our hostel is located in the heart of La Candelaria, the city's historic centre. It was very pretty with its charming colonial architecture. We walked by the Military Museum of Bogota and peered over the fence into the courtyard at some tanks and airplanes. A guard in a military uniform saw us taking pictures over the fence and strode over to us. We thought we were in trouble but instead he invited us into the museum, telling us it was free to the public.

Free is good. Not getting arrested is even better!


Close-up of the inscription on one of the old wartime cannons


The detail on one of the miniature ships was astounding


More cannons. Not phallic at all...


Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

The Metropolitan Cathedral also called the Primada Catedral, dominates the city plaza. It's been rebuilt several times since the 1500s due to earthquakes and the odd revolution. Nowadays, the only mobs that overrun the square are flocks of pigeons that greedily peck at the corn that vendors sell to tourists so they can get a picture with the birds.


I think this little guy wants his money back...


A different kind of mob hangs out in the city plaza, also waiting for tourist dollars


Walking the city streets



Further past the Catedral we walk into a more modern Bogota. Older buildings give way to storefronts and office buildings. Rolos, which is what the people from Bogota call themselves, stride purposefully through a pedestrian-only street. They've got the eyes-forward attitude that we're so familiar with from all our time living in a large city.


In addition to a pedestrian street, there's also a bicycle-only lane


There are some beggars on the street, but not as many as we have seen in other cities. This was a rare sight above.


I think this is called a Cherimoya, also called a custard apple in other countries


"We'll take four!" The custard apple has a very sweet creamy inside and tastes like... custard. Also very messy to eat.


Other side of the sign says, "The End of the World is Near! When?"

The guy above is selling cell-phone time. For 150 pesos (about 8 cents) a minute, you can use one of his cellphones to call another cellphone. This is a particular Colombian peculiarity that you see in every town and city, because of the fact that the landlines and cellphone networks in Colombia are not connected. You can't call a landline from a cellphone and vice versa. So strange. So people without cellphones just "rent" one for a couple of minutes to call their buddy to let them know they'll be running late.


Historic and Modern Bogota architecture meet in the city streets


Jazzy buskers entertain passerbys

La Candelaria was nice, but we're both getting a bit fatigued of sightseeing in large cities, especially after spending so much time in Medellin. I know there are many other things to see in Bogota, but we're craving a change of scenery.
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:35 AM   #1670
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Wow, what a beautiful place! (Bogata) Never would have imagined with how it's portrayed so negatively in the USA.

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Old 03-07-2014, 10:59 AM   #1671
pceire32
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Great pics, thank you and safe travels.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:33 AM   #1672
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Originally Posted by lukeman View Post
Having ridden solo and then with my wife on long trips, I prefer having a wife rather than no one (despite the bickering ). It seems somehow more meaningful to experience the adventure.
Me too. I've done solo trips before and it's a different experience. Neda is much more extroverted than I am, plus she's more approachable as well too, so without her my solo rides turn out to be very introspective - lots of Just-Me-In-My-Helmet time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
To say you aren't on a trip or traveling is pretty ignorant. Ihope it was said in a light tone.
Thanks for the support. I took no offense. Everyone has their preference as to how they travel and what they want to read about in a ride report. I keep up with a lot of folks on their ride reports and it always astounds me how different all of our experiences are even though we visit a lot of the same places!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maritime Mike View Post
I'm loving your ride report , and the photo's are next to none . I see that you are on most social media platforms out there, ever consider Instagram for your photography?
Hi Mike, I'm not sure if I'm doing the social media thing right. I look at other travelog sites and there's a lot of "bonus" content on Twitter, FB, etc. Jill's site is totally hooked in with a community of re-tweeters, etc. (I always thought retweeting was what the Fwench awmy did...) It's all so very complex and it seems like it's quite time-consiming. I'm just using social media as a notification alert and feedback for blog posts, kind of like ADV. But the only content is on the blog itself.

*shrug* I'm so Web v1.0...

Neda uses Instagram, but it's sporadic and it isn't really synced up to our blog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quezzie View Post
Spring can't come fast enough to the northeast in America...
Winter hit hard this year in the NE! My dad says he has snow in his backyard that's been there since November. Normally there's some meltage during the winter, but apparently not this season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
Wow, what a beautiful place! (Bogata) Never would have imagined with how it's portrayed so negatively in the USA.
We're cautiously optimistic when traveling through some of these places with a bad reputation. Surprisingly, I recently discovered that Bogota's violent crime rate has plummeted to the lowest it's been in 27 years due to a ban on carrying guns in public. For 2012, the murder rate was 16.9 homicides in 100,000 people, less than Chicago's 19 per 100,000 in the same year.

I think the perception of Latin America from its recent history has not caught up to the current reality. A lot of travelers that we've met along the way say that now is perhaps the safest it's been to travel to places like Guatemala and Colombia.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:54 AM   #1673
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
Me too. I've done solo trips before and it's a different experience. Neda is much more extroverted than I am, plus she's more approachable as well too, so without her my solo rides turn out to be very introspective - lots of Just-Me-In-My-Helmet time.
That is so true. When I travel with my wife we are approached far more by strangers than if i am alone or with friends. I suppose they see the female "adventure" rider as being so unique and of course have questions. Keep up the great content. Stay safe folks and travel on at the speed you like best.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:32 AM   #1674
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Zipaquira is about an hour's ride north of Bogota. It's a tiny town whose primary claim to fame is being close to a cathedral made of salt. Actually, it's a cathedral that's built inside of a defunct salt mine, and the hostel owner in Bogota warned us that it was a cheesy tourist trap. Since we're all about el queso, we decided to fight the big city traffic and make our way up there.


The entrance to the salt mine

The salt deposits in the area have been mined by indigenous people since the 5th century, all the way to pre-hispanic cultures and then to the Spanish in later times. In the 1930s, miners carved a small sanctuary where they could say their daily prayers for protection before starting work. This small altar would later be expanded as part of a huge construction project in 1995, creating a gigantic "Salt Cathedral" inside the mine itself, showcasing the country's prowess in modern architecture.


The Disco-fication of Salt

Everything inside the mine is illuminated with multi-coloured lights. They've really put a lot of effort into making salt look sexy! All it did was make me hella thirsty for grape soda...


We put on some Minion hardhats and explored the darkness of the salt mine

Inside, you can opt to take a guided tour of the salt mine itself. We were led through the darkness of some of the existing tunnels and learned how workers used tools like pickaxes, explosives and railway carts to extract and transport salt out of the mines.


Cool striations and banding on the walls of the mine. Needs a mirror ball hanging from the ceiling...


Neda hard at work mining salt deposits while we all sang, "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go" with a funky back beat


At the end of the tour, we all got paid in salt - just like the old miners did.
Since Neda did all the work, she got a huge chunk of rock salt. Because I just stood around and took pictures, this was my pay...


We walked around the tunnels leading up to the main hall of the Cathedral. When I say tunnels, they are actually huge hallways, perhaps 5m (16ft) tall and wide enough for two tractor trailers to drive past each other! The scale of the place was enormous!


This piece of art is carved right out of the rock and features intricately cut leaves

Every 50 meters or so there would be a tableau called a "Station of the Cross" abstractly representing a scene out of Jesus Christ's life (ie. Crucifixion, Ressurection, Meeting the Apostles, etc). Central to these tableaus would be a giant cross cut out of the rock salt and lit up with colourful lights. There are 14 "Stations of the Crosses" within the tunnels of the Salt Cathedral. These are just a few of them:


Praying at the S-altar...


Crucifix rises up out of the rock


One of the smaller "chapels" in the Cathedral


We walk past the main hall and it's now purple in colour


Just to give you an idea of scale, those are people gathered at the foot of the salt fountain in the distance...


The main hall of the Cathedral is stunning in its sheer immensity!
Guy in a hardhat at the bottom of the picture for scale.


Walking around all the large tableaus was quite remarkable. It seemed like the oversized tunnels stretched for a couple of kms inside the mountain that it was carved into. However, it was only when entering the main cathedral hall that we were bowled over by how large the inside of this place was. In the picture above, this section is 75m (246ft) long and 25m (82ft) high! The cross in the background is 16m (52ft) in height.

The whole cathedral is large enough to hold over 8,000 people. On Sundays, up to 3,000 people visit the Cathedral, despite the fact that it has no bishop and it's not officially recognized by the Catholic Church.


Balcony from where you can view the main hall from above

Like most of the crosses in the tableaus, it's actually not a solid piece of rock but a cutout to show the wall behind it, which is illuminated a different colour. Like one of them octopus illusions...


I'm positive this is what these kneeling blocks were made for...


Cross cut out of a curved wall


We walked past the main hall again and noticed it had changed colours! Groovy!

As we left the Salt Cathedral, we both remarked how it was one of the coolest things we've seen in Colombia. Especially since it seems that all we've been doing is hanging out in cities and towns lately... So glad we didn't heed the Bogota hostel owner's warnings about this place. I could see how it could be seen as cheesy to a local, but they did a really good job glamming up the whole experience.


Doing the Disco Rainsuit Dance

Spending all that time underground is like being inside a casino. You're completely cut off from what's happening outside with regards to time and weather, etc. We walked outside to see the late afternoon clouds working up to its daily showers. We rode for awhile out of Zipaquira before the inevitable rains forced us to do our side-of-the-road boogie besides our bikes.

We're probably not going to get very far this evening...
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:55 AM   #1675
Trane Francks
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Great update. That's one of the cooler things I've ever seen.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:00 AM   #1676
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Amazing write-up, as usual. Thanks.
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:28 AM   #1677
Max Wedge
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Fascinating. Thanks for the write up, looking forward to the next
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:11 PM   #1678
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The world indeed a is full of unknown ( to us) vistas. Thanks yet again for taking us along.

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Old 03-10-2014, 09:04 PM   #1679
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Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post



The guy above is selling cell-phone time. For 150 pesos (about 8 cents) a minute, you can use one of his cellphones to call another cellphone. This is a particular Colombian peculiarity that you see in every town and city, because of the fact that the landlines and cellphone networks in Colombia are not connected. You can't call a landline from a cellphone and vice versa. So strange. So people without cellphones just "rent" one for a couple of minutes to call their buddy to let them know they'll be running late.
I'm enjoying very much your report and I personally like your riding pace and breaks since you can afford to avoid the mad dashes to Patagonia.

Not that it matters, but I believe the reason for the cell phone time sales are due to the fact of the rates being higher when you call landlines and other operators. Cell phones with double SIM card are quite common and lots of people have 2 cell phones for the same reason. Also, the majority of people have prepaid plans that allow you to receive calls with zero balance so instead of ordering a bunch of minutes they use a couple minutes at the time at a very low rate. How many minutes do you have to sell at that price in order to make a living?
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Old 03-10-2014, 09:07 PM   #1680
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It's always fun to see what the two of you are up to next. The salt mine is something I would like to see in person, the pictures are cool but being there would probably blow anyone way with all the different colors and smells.

Thank you for the quality write ups and the sharing of your experiences with us all, be safe and keep the wheels straight.
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