San Gil

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    • Day 142–144

      San Gil

      May 19 in Colombia ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C

      San Gil ist vorallem für die zahlreichen Outdoor Aktivitäten bekannt, die man in der näheren Umgebung machen kann. Ich möchte Paragliding ausprobieren und buche einen Tandem Flug. Dafür geht es zu einem der größten Canyons der Welt. Bevor es losgeht bin ich schon etwas nervös, doch als wir erstmal in der Luft sind ist die Aufregung vergessen und ich kann mich entspannt zurück lehnen und die phänomenale Aussicht genießen. Wir fliegen über den Canyon und sind mehr als 2000m über dem Erdboden. Nachmittags geht es noch zu einem kleinen Ort in der Nähe mit einem Fluss und mehrere natürlichen Wasserbecken zum Baden.Read more

    • Day 836

      Hoyo de los Pájaros

      July 4, 2022 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

      "Hoyo de los Pájaros", así le llaman a esta caverna, que en su entrada tiene una caída vertical de 120m; y el diámetro, pues no lo medimos, pero ahí está Laura para servir de referencia 😁

      Llegamos al atardecer, como nos habían aconsejado. La idea era la de ver y fotografiar a los "guácharos", una especie de ave nocturna que habita en esta cueva, y que cientos de ellos todas las tardes salen en busca de alimento. Aunque los vimos y fue una tremenda experiencia, no tenemos buenas imágenes porque empezaron a salir ya cuando casi ni se veía nada, además de que estaba lloviznando y por esa razón tampoco pudimos armar un set decente para capturar las imágenes que queríamos. Solo, en un ambiente muy amateur, con los teléfonos improvisamos estos segundos de video para que nos quede algo de recuerdo.

      Aquí mismo pasamos la noche y por la mañana sí tuvimos buen clima, que hasta volamos el drone para tener mejores fotos y videos, pero claro está que los guácharos a esa hora no iban a salir. De todas maneras, y para nuestra sorpresa, aún se oían allá abajo. Su sonido es bien particular y es lo único que nos permite comprobar que son muchísimos, pero solo unos pocos alcanzamos a ver; eso fue todo lo que la lluvia y la oscuridad nos permitió.
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    • Day 43–48

      San Gil

      March 3 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

      Name any adventure sport and there's probably some travel agency in San Gil offering it. All of them are reasonably priced too, so we went wild!

      We went paragliding 🪂 and caving and Miel also ticked bungee jumping and class 4 rafting off his bucket list ✅. To let our adrenaline levels drop, we visited "Colombia's prettiest village" and cooled off at some natural pools in between all the adventure.Read more

    • Day 16

      Unser letzter Tag in San Gil

      October 7, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      Unseren letzten Tag in San Gil gingen wir gemütlich an. Zunächst kauften wir ein Busticket für den Abend und schlenderten anschließend durch einen nahegelegenen Park, in dem es Natur und einige Tierarten zu entdecken gab.
      Das Treiben der Kleinstadt, in der wir uns mittlerweile gut eingelebt hatten, genossen wir ein letztes Mal auf dem zentralen Platz mit einem Kaffee to go und Keksen. Ein Fanfaren-Zug zog unsere Aufmerksamkeit zum Schluss auf sich, dem wir uns auf dem Weg zurück ins Hostel anschlossen. Ein letztes gemeinsames Bier in geselliger Runde beendete unseren dortigen Aufenthalt.
      Mit dicken Klamotten ausgestattet, da wir bereits mit Busklimaanlagen Erfahrungen hatten, fanden wir uns am Busterminal ein. Nach 3h Fahrt war unsere Reise auf Grund von technischen Problemen vorerst vorüber. Unsere Mägen dankten uns diese Pause als auch den Fahrerwechsel. Der Ersatzbus war schon ein bisschen in die Jahre gekommen, versprühte seinen eigenen Duft, hatte aber die gleiche Power den Bus in einen Kühlschrank zu verwandeln. ;) Nach 14,5 h haben wir endlich unser nächstes Hostel in Santa Marta erreicht.
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    • Day 233

      A first little step towards freedom

      April 27, 2020 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

      Unfortunately, we are still in San Gil and still in lockdown, as the Colombian Government extended the curfew until 11 May for now. This means, we'll be staying here for at least 2 more weeks.
      The last 2 weeks, we followed our daily routine of workouts, yoga, reading, eating... We found a German beer in the supermarket, discovered a super cheap absolutely amazing burger place with delivery service and perfected our do-it-yourself mobile and beer stand for our regular movie nights. We also had some video calls with friends which is a really good distraction from our daily life inside a house.
      However, something has changed positively starting from today: the president realized that exercising outdoors is important for one's health. It's generally restricted to morning hours (5-8am) and within 1km radius of your house. So, of course, first thing we did this morning was going out for fast walking around the blocks close to our hostel.
      Once we got back, we found out, that in San Gil, they actually restricted the exercising hours based on the last number of your passport: for example, with my "8", I'm allowed to exercise for one hour on Tuesdays, 7-9am and Fridays, 5-7am. Good the police didn't check us today 😉
      Furthermore, we got 2 new housemates: the hostel owner and his mum moved in as they had to give up their apartment during this time with no income. Andrés, our housemate up til now, on the other hand, moved back to his aunt and uncle to work in their workshop to earn some money. Today, we helped moving the furniture out of the apartment which provided another excuse to get out 😉
      Let's see what is going to come in the next couple of weeks..
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    • Day 195

      Getting ready for the lockdown

      March 20, 2020 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      In the Santander, the state we are in right now, there'll be an obligatory general curfew starting tonight. For now, it's only for 78 hours, but who knows? Anyways, we are preparing for staying in our hostel in San Gil for a while. So first we bought some Spanish books and a puzzle to kill time indoors. Furthermore, we used the time for studying more Spanish.
      Today, we went for a final bike ride before we can't go outdoors anymore. We cycled uphill to the tiny airport and followed some dirt roads before heading back to town. Finding our way back to the main road wasn't easy as most turns ended on a private property. But people were always friendly and directed us back on the main track.
      Back home, we had a hot shower as it was relatively cold (18°C). Afterwards, we went grocery shopping, so we have the basics for the next 4 days.
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    • Day 249

      The end is near

      May 13, 2020 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

      We've lost count of our days in lockdown already... It's been almost 2 months now that we can't move on. After 6 months of continuous travelling, we are stuck in a town, even in one house, which is a difficult situation. We are lucky to be healthy, to have friends to video-call with and people who support us here in Colombia with offering us a nice place to stay. However, when they announced another extension of the lockdown until 25th May, we decided to look for flight opportunities back to Europe. It was a hard decision for us, but with still increasing numbers of Covid infections in Colombia as well as in other South American countries, we don't believe (bike) travelling will be easily possible any time soon in this region. So now we are waiting for either moving up on the waiting list for European repatriation flights (German flights already left beginning of April) or for the airport to reopen for commercial international flights. Let's see...

      In general, there's a very regional strategy to confront the pandemic here in Colombia. As San Gil is - luckily - a "Corona-free" town, most of the businesses can open again. They also allow us to do grocery shopping 2x per week again - based on your passport number - and exercise any day between Monday and Friday within the borders of the town (no radius of 1km anymore) for one hour between 5 and 8am. We totally made use of this little freedom and cycled to the regional airport, 10km and 500m of elevation away from our hostal. This is also the border of San Gil as you can see by the blocked road. However, we are really happy to feel the wind again around our heads 😊
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    • Day 208

      Killing time

      April 2, 2020 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

      Although we can't bike on, we are not totally lazy. Colombia has been in lockdown for almost 2 weeks now. This means that we are not allowed to go outside except for grocery shopping. And even this is restricted to only 2 days per week which is based on the last number of your Combian ID. As we obviously don't have a Colombian ID, we show them the number at the bottom of our passports. Here, I have an "8", so I am allowed to buy food on Thursdays and Saturdays, Herbert with his "6" on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The last photo shows the regulation for San Gil.
      This system is actually implemented differently in each city or village. Sometimes, a certain number can go on a different day, sometimes during a specific time slot. In some cities, you can use public transport only at a certain hour depending on your last number. I guess this system has a good intention, but can make things really chaotic and difficult. For example, when people from the village need to come into town to get money from the bank and in their village, they can leave the house on a Tuesday, but in town they are only allowed to enter the bank on a Thursday...
      Meanwhile, we try to kill our time. We finished the puzzle within 3 days, using trial-and-error for the blue sky. We also baked bread. As we don't have a working oven, Herbert is trying to build our own oven-like system. The 3rd trial wasn't actually too bad.
      Furthermore, we do a lot of exercise. The skipping rope saves our stamina and 2 yoga sessions per day make our bodies more flexible again after 6 months on the bikes. And thanks to amazon Colombia, our friends in Switzerland could surprise us with some European beers 😀
      We can't do much, but we also try to help the people here as much as possible. Therefore, we painted a couple of walls in the hostel. We also try to use local delivery services. This is, however, a little more complicated compared to Germany for example, as there is no central website for deliveries or many websites of local restaurants in general. So when we walk through town, we look for papers posted on restaurant doors that refer to a delivery service or search facebook pages for people who advertise in local groups.
      Overall, we really miss cycling. But considering the worldwide situation, I guess we can't complain.
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    • Day 191

      Corona stop

      March 16, 2020 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

      It seems like we are stuck for a while. This morning, we got the news that hotels have to close (including our hostel) and some regions (including Santander where we are in at the moment) don't let travellers pass anymore.
      The owner of the hostel offered us to stay here for a while. As it's a nice place (the hostel as well as the region), we decided to stay and observe the situation. We really don't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no hotel options around.
      So first thing we did was to buy fruit, vegetables and beer (toilet paper was sold out already, but there's still enough in the hostel 😉). We also registered at the local secretary of health. They took our personal information as well as our health status (no symptons). They told us that we shouldn't have any problems because we've been in the country for 15 days now (JUST), which is considered to be the critical time for bringing the virus into the country. We didn't get any official certificate, but can always refer to the registration in case we get stopped by the police.
      Then, Herbert replaced the chains of the bikes which he was going to do anyways some time soon. Our temporary Australian housemate Ishan prepared sandwiches for lunch and a peanut butter curry for dinner.
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    • Day 172

      San Gil : crêpes et pluie à gogo

      July 28, 2023 in Colombia

      Par Maël la vaisselle,

      Après une nuit de bus glaciale, jugez-en à nos accoutrements, nous arrivons à Bucaramanga très tôt dans la matinée puis enchaînons avec un nouveau bus pour San Gil. La route est sublime et longe un gwo twou sans fond, dans lequel nos yeux se perdent entre deux micro-siestes. Le dodo est profond pour Arzoo qui s’endort bruyamment juste avant d’arriver à destination. Le taxi est donné alors nous sommes bien contents d’éviter les 30min de marche jusqu’à notre hostel.

      Nous sommes chaleureusement accueillis et bénéficions d’une chambre privée, pour ronfler en toute tranquillité ! Après une petite session hamac, nous partons gambader en ville, qui possède étonnamment une place centrale en forme de carré, fait exceptionnel en Amérique du sud 😜 Nos estomacs criards seront bientôt cessés par une très bonne pizza, choisie a l’unanimité par l’équipe ! Il fait moins chaud que sur la côte caraïbe ce qui n’est pas désagréable et nous permet d’éviter l’arrosage automatique, qui se déclenchait au moindre de nos mouvement.

      Un peu plus tard, nous prenons la route vers Curiti, un village voisin doté d’une rivière à bassins multiples. Le bus à peine démarré que le ciel se charge d’un coup et s’énerve à gros coup de tonnerre. Une pluie diluvienne se met à tomber, douchant ainsi nos espoirs de baignade. Apparemment, ce changement météorologique a lieu presque tous les après-midi dans la région. Activité reportée à demain ! Ni une ni deux nous remontons dans le bus pour un retour vers San Gil, le cœur trempé.

      Ce climat breton donna à Tits la brillante idée d’une soirée crêpes qui saura nous réconforter. Direction le super marché pour quelques emplettes sujettes à débat. Faut-il opter pour le beurre salé ou le beurre doux dans notre pâte ? Discorde entre les bretons, n’hésitez pas à laisser votre avis en commentaire ! Nos jurassiens, eux, ne différencient pas la crêpe de la galette et veulent même tenter la recette complète dans une crêpe, style sucré-salé, quelle hérésie ! Ceci fait nous nous lançons dans la préparation après quelques parties de tarot, big up au mixeur qui aura préparé nos litrons de pâte en un rien de temps ! Tits puis Arzoo se relaient interminablement à la poêle, nous aurons donc à manger pour 3 jours ! Le goût légèrement trop vanillé de la pâte ne m’aura pas aidé à valider la crêpe salée, par contre la banane nutella ne me décevra jamais 😋😋

      Nous continuerons ensuite notre partie de tarot, au nombre de manches record, autour de quelques bières. Steph j’espère que tu es prête car je compte bien te donner une leçon 😘
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