Warm Showers

Colombia hospitality

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Ivo cutting up fruit in Manizales
Ivo cutting up fruit in Manizales (View on flickr)

We have been very blessed to be invited to the homes of new friends in Colombia. We contacted 4 different people in four different parts of Colombia that offer hospitality through the Warmshowers.org website. All four answered us and offered us the warmest welcome to stay with them.

We've now visited the four wonderful hosts on our route in Colombia. The first one was in Manizales, up a huge climb, huger then huge but worth every inch of the climb. We stayed with Jon Olson and his new wife, Ivo. Jon is orginally from Minnisota and currently lives in Manizales teaching math in a bilingual school. Ivo, a native of Bogotá, is a speech therapist by professional who until she got married 3 months ago worked at a university in her home town. (She is currently looking for work in Manizales.)

The two of them gave us a great view of Colombia, educated us to proper etiquette and answered so many questions we had. It was a wanderful to stay with them in their fourth-floor penthouse and kick back for a day off. Ivo is a master of making juices from exotic fruit and an excellent cook. I even went to the store with them and bought every different kind of fruit I had never tasted. Some I liked and some I did not, and some I did not have chance to taste because we were just too busy to cut it all up and give it a try. Watermelon was the favorite by everyone.

We left Manizales and cycled to Armenia in one day.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

The Casa de Ciclistas in Cali, Colombia

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Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day
Miller, Pablo, and Nancy making Ajiaco soup for Mother's Day (View on flickr)

We stayed at our first "Casa de Ciclistas" (House of Cyclists) in Cali, and it was an incredible experience.

Casas de Ciclistas are a special Latin American institution, probably started by a gentleman in Trujillo, Peru named Lucho. He opened his home to travelers on bicycle years ago and has now hosted hundreds. He has a very humble home, but always makes it available for cyclists, and is one of the best known resources for touring cyclists in Latin America.

Well, other people think it´s a good idea too, and our new friend Miller Hernan in Cali. Miller is interested in touring, and decided to follow Lucho´s example, and what a delightful Casa de Ciclistas he has created. Hernan's family has a very simple house in a calm "tranquilo" neighborhood in southern Cali, and they just invited us in. We put up our tent in their very nice patio and were more comfortable than we've been in 90% of the hotels we've ever stayed in.

But it even went further. We were there for Mother's Day, and Miller invited Nancy to join his mother for the dinner festivities. And they shopped together for the ajiaco soup, then prepared it together and it was a delight.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Lucho and the Casa de Ciclistas in Trujillo, Peru

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Lucho with his son Lance - In training
Lucho with his son Lance - In training (View on flickr)

When we came down from the mountains of Peru to the coast we stayed at the fabled Casa de Ciclistas (House of Cyclists) in Trujillo, Peru. Lucho Ramirez started offering his simple house to passing touring cyclists clear back in 1984, and is on the edge of crossing the one thousand mark. One thousand groups of cyclists have signed his journal and stayed there over almost 25 years! One cyclist stayed a year! Many stay far longer than they expect to, often for a week or more. It's a delight to browse through the journals and see famous cyclists that we've either met or heard of who passed this way. Our friends Dick and Els, from Holland, signed the book about 5 years ago. Our friend Andrew signed it just a month or so ago. Our friends Pat and Cat also passed through about 3 years ago.

Many of you have asked us if we're setting some kind of a record or something, and the answer is no, we're really slow, and lots and lots of people have gone farther. Although not all the cyclists who have stopped at Lucho's house were doing rides as big as ours, many were doing rides much bigger. One fellow, Hans Stuecke, has been cycling for 46 years!

Anyway, Lucho provides a tremendously friendly place for cyclists stop, recharge, get their equipment worked on, and generally have a wonderful memory. We left our bikes safely there for our trip home, and came back to find them waiting for us.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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