Popayan (alt 1751) – Santander de Quilichao (1091)

87 kms. A long downhill in which we still had 1054 meters to climb. Beautiful region and although we had done this ride in the opposite direction some days ago we enjoyed it a lot. In Mondomo we passed the heavily protected policestation and we were reminded of the article that we had read this morning in El Tiempo. Yesterday there had been 2 clashes between police forces and forces of the FARC. Several tons of marihuana had been captured. This is FARC’s trade nowadays, they are one of the big narco traders. It all happened around this place, the articles had photos and maps added. We also thought of our encounter with the group of policemen, some 20 or 30 of them, some days ago during a drinkstop along this very road. Dressed and armed as soldiers, pistols, MI-6 military rifles, big machineguns with long bands of ammunition. We had a nice and humorous conversation in which I compared them with our smartly white and blue dressed police in Holland. Their comment was that “in Holland there is peace and here a war is going on” and that they were “en mobil” (in action?) I forgot to take some pictures alas. Were they the police that had taken the drugs from the FARC the day after?? After we had passed Mondome it so happened that we were passed by a small group of trucks and pick-ups, laden with…… policemen. When they passed us they cheered and waved enthousiastically to us as if they recognised us, so I tend to think it was them indeed.

Santander de Quilichao is a black town. There was a big market going on and it was very busy and a great mess. We stayed in Hotel Panamericana, a grand name for a humble accommodation, but according to a taxi driver it was the best in town. It was cheap and OK and it carries its name rightfully, as it is on the Pan-American Highway, that we have been following from Cartagena to Popayan for some 1500 kms.

The photos from Popayan onwards: click here.

The track: Download 20100224popayan_santanderdquil..gpx

Schermafbeelding 2010-11-09 om 17.44.16

Schermafbeelding 2010-11-09 om 17.44.40


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