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{ Monthly Archives } January 2013


Once my bike is back in shape – wheel relaced and gears changing smoothly – I’m keen to get on the road. Manuel tells me about a trocha* which drops below Armenia (de Antioquia, not to be confused with various other Armenias both in Colombia and beyond) down to the Cauca Valley, which he thinks […]

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medellin and san antonio de prado

I get spoiled in Medellin. A comfy bed and my own bath room. Stylish home cooked meals. Argentinian red wine. Interesting conversation. Can’t beat that. I don’t really feel any urge to leave the apartment. And so I don’t. Just once I venture out to buy some maps at the Instituto Geografico Agustin Codazzi. Oh, […]

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a spot of righteous feminist rage

A man recently felt moved to write to me about my risk assessment and management skills. A man I don’t know. He didn’t comment publicly on the post that had inspired him to write* – presumably he felt his subject was so delicate that it should be addressed privately. He opened his message with his […]

what’s hot and what’s not

Here in Colombia when it’s “hot” it can mean a couple of different things. My ride from Cartagena to Mompox was hot, dry and dusty. It wasn’t till I got to Mompox that I discovered that part of my route had taken me through areas that are considered a little warm in a more metaphorical […]

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Mompox* is a town of faded glories. Far enough up the River Magdalena to be safe from the depredations inflicted on the coastal areas by colonial era buccaneers, Mompox was a trading port of great significance in its heyday. At the end of the 18th century it was the one of the most important towns […]


up the river

Colombia’s Caribbean coastal area and the wide upper reaches and swampy marshes of the mighty River Magdalena is a familiar world to anyone that has read the works of Garbriel Garcia Marquez, and as one of the most widely read of all South American writers that includes quite a few people. When asked why all […]

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I arrive in Cartagena, hot and dirty, on a limping bike, a day or so after the New Year, at the height of the busy period. Everywhere is full and twice the normal price. By sheer instinct, I find my way to Getsemani where there is a more or less happy mix of student houses, […]


colombia impressions

Macaws, coarse and strident, screaming overhead. Glorious blue, red, yellow. A pair of quizzical toucans. Steamy swamps. Endless music blaring distorted from over-sized speakers. The last dancers still swaying in the morning light. The road before me. Hot blacktop and traffic. Dust rising under the wheels of trucks. Buses speeding past, inches away, boys hanging […]

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