Words: Maral Yazarloo
Images: Pankaj Trivedi
The voyage from Panama to Colombia was not the easiest and not the cheapest either. Costing over $10,000, the trip included an overnight stay on a beautiful island where we enjoyed swimming and snorkeling. Sharing the 100-feet long boat with just 20 members and 16 motorcycles through the Atlantic Ocean, it was not really the easiest of sails. It was the first time ever that I encountered sea-sickness. I managed to sleep through five days with no activity at all, except waking up for food.
Finally reaching mainland Dian, we rode for over eight kilometres to sort the paperwork. How did we manage to ride directly after alighting from the boat? It was a part of the package! Does not sound too expensive now, does it?
Riding for over 180km through unbelievable horizons, we finally spotted a clean hotel with internet connectivity and called it a day. I was relieved to connect with my loved ones and even work on my designs, back in office. The next morning, as we began our journey after a hot cup of Colombian coffee, my mind was bombarded with questions; one of the bad days when you remember the tiniest issues of your life. But this is why we ride. Riding through storms, passing beautiful scenery was as good as therapy. The rain managed to wash the negativity away and I was back to my normal self at the end of the day.
After 15,000km through treacherous terrain across several continents, our Metzeler Karoo 3 50/50 tyres had reached the end of their lifespan. Although everyone suggested that they would die after 7k odd kilometres but we managed to do double the distance. The Italy-based team of Metzeler arranged to find a fresh set for us in Medellin and we couldn’t have been happier.
The BMWs too had taken a beating and were due for service. We managed to find a few workshops thanks to our dearest friend, Google but a tropical storm halted our progress. The visibility was so low that even cars stopped on the road after sometime. We somehow managed to crawl to the workshop and the Colombian coffee made our life easy, again. Ever since we left California, we had been on the road every single day and the bikes were due for a full-fledged service. We had no choice but to stay in Medellin for two days. It was a much needed break to rejuvenate ourselves. The team at the Routa 40 BMW Service Centre in Medellin did a great job with our bikes.
Colombia has remarkable scenic beauty and contrary to what people think, it felt really safe; at least to me. Our journey through the country took us through Corazal, Turbo, Debieba, Medellin, Salento, Popayan and Las Lajas; all of which were beautiful places and unique too, in their own way. In Las Lajas, we spotted a cathedral located in a valley. The Las Lajas Cathedral as it is called, is popular for a miraculous event that happened way back in 1754. During a heavy storm, a woman named Maria Mueces and her deaf daughter were stuck for life. The myth says that they were guided by a strong force to a nearby cave for shelter and there popped an image of Mary on one of the walls. The cathedral is built at the same place and is one of the most beautiful sights in South America.
The next morning, we rode just over 10 kilometres to the end of Colombia only to continue our adventure to a new country – Ecuador.