We left the colourful Filandia to drive up to El Jardin, as we heard is a less visited colonial town where time stands still. Drove trough the first toll booth and dropped 10,300 COP, then the first city we hit was Pereira, which had several roads closed in the favour of Sunday cyclists. This action basically turned the traffic of the city in a nightmare and a 10 minutes drive turned into an hour of slow drag. The road took us through residential areas which reminded us pretty much Colon, Panama. We felt no attraction to stop even for a minute. Happy with Pereira behind the road rolled through nice landscape slowly. Seemed like the double lane lasted only few kilometers before and about 10 more after the toll booth, then reverted to a narrow regular road. We were dragging behind semis all the time, looks like there’s no break in Colombian professional drivers life either on Sundays. The toll booths were coming up often with a grand total of 46,200 COP ($21 CAD) for the day along the 300 km we drove. It’s quite a steep fee for a regular road without any improvements. Not sure why Colombia is skinning its drivers so badly, if it feels overpriced for us I wonder how expensive is for the locals in a country where the average monthly salary is $692.00 USD to drive? The price of fuel is around $0.90 USD per litre. We turned off to take the road up to El Jardin and after about 45 minutes of driving the asphalt suddenly ended and the road turned into a rocky wash. The GPS said that there are 47 km left. Estimating 10 km/h speed and consulting a local about the road conditions we just turned around and set the GPS on Medellin. It was 4:30 PM. At 6:15 it was dark already and we dragged along the curvy roads behind semis, sometimes at 10 km/h. Passing felt like Russian Roulette. Rolling through Medellin felt like we just rolled into Calgary, drove along a modern C-Train line with modern stations, three lane smooth road, modern buildings along it. It was a surreal moment, especially after Pereira. Took the steep road and climbed 1,000 m altitude from 1,600 to 2,600 meters and we arrived to our destination just outside of Medellin at 9:45 PM to find the gates of the campground chained up. Some honking was not helping at all. After some time and close look to the chain it turned out that it looks locked, but it wasn’t actually. By then 5 dogs were barking at us from the other side of the gate. With a shrug just opened the entryway and rolled in, took a spot in the basically empty campground and looked like we arrived. Finally somebody shoved up and confirmed that we are in the right place. We drove 300 somthn’ kms in 9 1/2 hours. Adventure over for the day.
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