We got the information that on the way to Barranquilla on the bridge corrupt police are up to their nastiness and are targeting foreign vehicles.
We ´ve heard, that some travellers had to pay up to 600€! That's why we kept to the speed limits, even if we were overtaken and honked away. However, there was a construction site at the mentioned place anyway and thus no corrupt police. In Barranquilla we searched the hotel Home Buenavista in the brooding heat once again for almost an hour. Unfortunately, according to Booking.com, the common kitchen was once
again a misinformation, but at least we could cook a coffee ourselves for breakfast. We stayed one day and spent hours of it in the shopping center, most of the time at Decathlon. Unfortunately it was not as cheap as in Germany, but we could replace the most important things like towels or buffs.
We drove through the heat to Cartagena. We paid 24€ per night in the hostel "Quintas de la Real", which we thought was a lot of money in
comparison to colombian standards. When we came back from shopping we couldn't believe our eyes: There was a group of almost 30 young people from Denmark in the lounge (which was directly opposite our room by the way). Not again! When they set off for a stroll through the city with a lot of nagging, only two Canadians and we were left and we conspired directly. We were the only guests who did not belong to this group. They were to stay for five nights. Yay! But still not enough with bad news: Our ship was actually delayed and so we would not load our motorcycles into the container as planned on 29.3.2019, but only on 02.04.2019. So we had to stay for about a week in this huge and expensive city. I would have preferred to go to a beach for a few days, but this would have been too stressful considering the things that still had to be done (booking the sailing trip, preparing copies for Panama, repacking etc.). We had to deal with the things that were yet to come.
The next day we met with our "Container Buddys", from Spain and Argentina, early in the morning our agent Ana. Although we had sent her all our documents for shipment by mail in advance, she
still made more copies of everything and everyone. So the paperwork dragged on for almost four hours and we left the office quite exhausted. In the evening we had a multicultural dinner (Spanish,
Canadian, German and Suisse) in the old town with other travel friends we met on the road. It was a nice evening which we extended at the Plaza with a few beers and enjoyed the hustle and bustle.
Besides two Michael Jackson imitators, a breakdance group and an indigenous dance group performed.
The next days we explored Cartagena, we had plenty of time. We visited a local market, took a walk through the beautiful old town with its colonial buildings and took a boat trip to the beach "Playa Arenas". In between we had our motorcycles washed for the first time and were actually happy about our shiny little horses. But when we took the "saddles" off, there was a nasty surprise: The engine compartment was not only a bit wet, no, the water was even in it! Unfortunately, not only the air filter (made of paper!) had been hit, but in the Yamaha there was
even water in the drain hose! But not enough: During the trip to the bike wash, something had flown into the eye of Kai. He could only see blurred. We had to take a taxi to the next clinic. Fortunately English was also spoken there (otherwise our Spanish knowledge would not have been enough for that) and he was treated first. There were only general physicians, but he was still offered to take a look. The waiting room was full of people and thus we accepted the offer gratefully. With eye drops we went back to the hostel. We hoped that this would work itself out again. Otherwise he would have to go to the eye specialist in a few days. Luckily the eye got better slowly, but then a flu took him away. So it was annoying when we heard from our shipping agent that the loading would be delayed again, but considering his condition it was probably lucky in misfortune. Our container ship was still in the port of Houston/Texas due to a gas explosion, but should soon be able to make its way to Cartagena. The Danish students had finally left and so it was really bearable in our hostel, not least because of the acquaintance with the Canadians who left us on 2.4. to continue their journey.
Our ship was still in Houston. It would never arrive in Cartagena in time. Our container buddies had to ask our agent several times until she had
assigned us to another container ship. Now hopefully everything would run smoothly! Then the second move in the hostel was on the agenda: We had literally slept up from the ground floor to under the roof. Then the next bad news came by chance: The new container ship would also be delayed! Since we would not be able to take the sailboat on April 6th as planned and the others would have to wait for us in Panama even longer, we took our best friend Google Translator to help us and sent our agent a message that was not so nice in the Container Buddy Whatsapp group. This started a heated discussion, but in the end our agent took over the fee for the storage of the container for one day, so that we could load as planned on April 5th and take the sailboat to Panama the next day. Now we had to get places on this one...
On the day of the loading of the container we already met at 7:45am at the port. After eternal waiting the motorcycles and vans were weighed
and we had to unload and load everything (!) for the inspection of the policeman. After he had drilled holes in the container (cocaine could be
hidden in the partition walls), he looked at our belongings one by one. He proceeded very carefully with us: He let air out of our tires, squeezed liquid out of my shampoo and crushed my tampons. There might be drugs in it... Meanwhile he dripped his sweat over our suitcases. It was almost 40 degrees and we also sweated under our long trousers, warning vests, helmets and safety shoes. At half past one we were finally
able to load. We had stowed all our luggage with our Spanish friends, Alegria and Pepe (thank you again!), in the VW van. After the container
was sealed and we had all signatures, we went back to the agent's office and then to the customs office ten minutes away. At almost 3pm we were finally ready! After that, we had to go immediately to the Blue Sailing Agency to hand in our passports in time (for the departure from Columbia) and to pay the deposit for the trip.
We arrived at the hostel completely done and were just happy that everything had been done so far! From now on, everything was outside our sphere of influence. We didn't even care if the container ship arrived in time or not. On 06.04. we would enter the sailboat and leave Colombia. It was a very nice time in South America, but we are now looking forward to Central America.
From Salento we went through the Andes to Mariquita ("Hotel Expedition Mutis"). The route itself was just a dream. When we arrived at the top of the pass, the fog unfortunately became thicker and
thicker, so that we even had to feel our way down with hazard lights in the column. After Mariquita we continued into the plain to Puerto Boyacá in the Hotel Santorini. Since we had the longest
stage ahead of us the next day, we wanted to get up early. At six o'clock the alarm clock rang and it started to rain on time... of course pouring rain! A thunderstorm had settled and so we had
to wait until we could finally leave at half past nine. After more than six hours of riding (it was fun through the midday heat with more than 35 degrees) we arrived at the next overnight stop:
Hotel Los Costillos in Aguachica. On the last kilometers the second thunderstorm hit us on this day.
In Aguachica we actually made the beginner's mistake again: Walking through the streets in the dark, looking for beer, water and something to eat. And we even found German beer! In addition we enjoyed the Saturday hustle and bustle on the streets and counted how many family members fit on a scooter. The record was three adults, two children and a dog. In the night time, Aguachica became one big fiesta! No chance to find some sleep with this noise, besides the heat and the mosquito party in our room. But luckily the next day we only had a two hours drive to Curumaní (Hotel Sol y Mar). This time it wasn't rain but sweat pouring down our bodies. It was 38 degrees.
The trip to the Hostel & Camping Casa Grande Surf the next day was again long and mostly brooding hot. But for this paradise everything was worth it: camping directly on the beach, coconut palms everywhere and just a few other long-term travellers. Because of the coconut palms, we could not camp directly at the water edge. You could surf here, too, but it was a big mess and it had a very strong current. We decided to relax and watch the local kids ripping. We were too spoiled by the perfect waves of the Pacific. We met our spanish friends, Alegria and Pepe again, with whom we want to ship to Panama. A Swiss motorcyclist (we had met at the border to Ecuador and had been in contact since then) was also there and was supposed to ship with us. Unfortunately, shipping is a bit complicated, especially in South America. The poor Swiss was transferred into another container daily by our agent. Also, our shipping partner from Argentina proved not to be easy, understandable and
cooperative. Our plan was to go to Panama by sailboat and everyone else by plane. Since the container in Panama is only opened when all parties are present, the others would have to wait 2-3 days for us, since our sailing trip should last five days. The spanish guys took it easy, whereas the Argentinians made big trouble and even wanted to change the shipping dates - without asking us! It came to heated discussions in the whatsapp-chat. Besides that, we also found the time to recover from the exhausting driving days. Because of the terrible internet connection, we relaxed a lot and did nothing. Kai finally got his dose of meat - we made two BBQs together with Alegria and Pepe. However, we have to report a loss: The sheepskin of the BMW was used by squirrels as a toilet and had to be left behind with a heavy heart. Replacement is not yet in sight.
But at some point it was time to say goodbye to paradise again and drive on. Before Cartagena we wanted to go to the Decathlon in Barranquila to replace some things (towels etc.). On 30.03.2019 our ship and the bikes will leave the port of Cartagena, but at the moment the ship is still in the USA. We hope it will arrive punctually in Colombia...
On the day of departure we were lucky with the weather. We could pack almost everything dry. Ecuador said goodbye with a fantastic mountain road. After two hours we reached the border to Colombia. By the detailed description of another motorcycle traveller, we had no bigger issues and were finished after less than two hours. As a precaution we had planned half a day for the border crossing with the tons of formalities and booked a room, not far away from the border in the Hotel Royal Class in Ipiales. When we arrived there we went directly to shopping and dinner. On the way we found one motorcycle shop after the other and got a chain spray right at the first shop (we had searched in Peru several times in vain). The dinner was incredibly cheap and tasted very good. We liked Colombia right from the start! We still had to take out the obligatory car insurance (SOAT) and we had to queue up for it. That´s why we unintentionally resisted rule number 1 in Colombia: Do not walk through the streets at night and especially not through lonely, badly lit streets. Furthermore, we had to withdraw money (we didn't have one Colombian peso in our pockets yet) and walked back to the hotel. Nothing happened to us, nevertheless, we did not want to take the risk again.
For the next day we had planned only 85km to Pasto, because other travellers already told us that this mountain road is not only very dangerous
(driving style of the Colombians), but it also has several construction sites, where you have to wait long time. So, after three hours and countless construction sites we finally arrived in Pasto (Hotel Riviera Comfort) and rested the afternoon, because the next day it should take 5-7 hours (depending on traffic) 250km to Popayán. We left early in the morning and were happy that we had only spent 9€ on the hotel room when we saw three homeless people with torn socks sleeping next to us on the lawn. We were ashamed of our bargain! The mountain road was a dream and would have been even nicer if we hadn't been stuck behind a truck all the time. After 7,5 hours we finally arrived in Popayán. According to Booking.com the "ArteHostel Popayán" has private parking lots. We had asked explicitly in advance for safe parking spaces for the motorcycles and those were also promised to us by email. The secure parking is inside the hostel! To get there we had to drive through the corridor. The staff told us, that our big bikes would fit after we dismantled the suitcases and the surfboard rack. After more than seven hours of riding, we really looked forward to this action...NOT! But not enough: We still could not pass through the hallway. The handlebars were to wide. We were told there was no other possibility, we should leave the bikes in front of the hostel on the street, it would be safe here. We did not believe this statement and asked for other parking possibilities by ourselves. Fortunately we found a guarded and secured parking lot for 5,000 pesos per motorcycle per day (approx. 1.5€). We were so relieved, because we would not have been able to sleep peacefully if the motorcycles would have had to stand unprotected on the road. But when we wanted to park our bikes we had to realize frightening that already a mirror was stolen from Kai´s Yamaha! Since we had walked in and out all the time and the bikes were right in front of the door, we couldn't explain how someone could have stolen a mirror so quickly! A surveillance camera had recorded everything and the police were informed, but they didn't care much. Also the hostel staff tried to talk their way out and the owner did not even consider it necessary to express himself personally. We were even asked if we were sure that we had two mirrors and not just one anyway... Finally, our bikes were safely accomodated, but we were all doneand annoyed by all the misery. The next day an employee went to a motorbike shop with Kai to buy a new mirror, but for the taxi ride and the costs for the purchase he did not pay. After a long time discussion with the hostel, they paid half of the costs for the mirror and paid most
of the parking fee for the public parking lot.
After all the excitement we went on to Salento, with an overnight stop in Buga (Hotel Gran Ambrosia), to the hostel "El Zorzal". On our way to the hostel we found a petrol station with 92 octane petrol, which was scarce in the south of the country. There was only a maximum of 87 Octan. For safety reasons we had bought additives. With them, we would have been able to refuel also with worse petrol in case of need. Kai had to take the rest of his beer with him, but it had run out during the trip. So we could hang up both wetsuits and our shoes to dry. From Salento we made a trip to the famous Cocora Valley. There are meter high wax palms in the middle of the mountains. We could see them, but unfortunately wrapped in fog. Also, the high mountains (some of them over 4.000m high) and volcanoes remained hidden to us. The next day we went on a coffee tour to a traditional coffee plantation. The tour was very interesting and the following coffee was a pleasure. We relaxed a bit, planned the further route and Kai did a little servive on the motorcycles. After all, we still had another 1.300km to go in Colombia!
The next day we made our way to Otavalo and crossed the equator on our way - back again on the northern hemisphere! In Otavalo we tried to find
for the umpteenth time for a chain spray for the motorcycles - a mechanic was so nice to take us to a shop, but there was again no spray. After eternal running and wandering around (we already sat 5 hours on the motorcycles, so a little walk was good) we finally found what we were looking for. Back in the accommodation, there was a big coach outside the door. We suspected terrible things and our fears unfortunately came true. The group began to cook in the middle of the yard and leaned comfortably against our motorcycles! Kai almost went nuts! Unfortunately, the group kept us awake until the early morning. A polite "Muy tranquilo, por favor" unfortunately bounced off and was commented only with a murmuring insult beginning with "Gringos!...". We were happy when the group left the next morning and we could finally have breakfast in the kitchen. Afterwards we visited the traditional "Indian Market", which was a torture for me (Nici), because I was not allowed to buy anything. No space...
With a short detour with the motorcycles to the Laguna Cuicocha (volcanic crater lake) we went further north to Ibarra, to the famous "Finca Sommerwind". On the last kilometers through the city we were caught by a heavy thunderstorm. Unfortunately while we stood in the traffic jam... So, we arrived soaking wet on the Finca and were glad to be able to set up the tent without rain. Hans (the owner from Germany) welcomed us warmly and offered a coffee. Hans's ex-girlfriend lives in a house on the area and had told Hans to tell us to take our motorcycle clothing from her private fence (we had hung it over there to dry). Since the wooden fence would collapse under this heavy load of course, we did her the favor, but also because the next heavy downpour came to us.
Compared to the coast, the mosquitos are bearable, but there are other annoying pests: small flies. They even bite and rip out a small piece of skin. These stings not only itch like hell, but they also hurt extremely. And that for days. Unlike the mosquitos, they don't bite through the clothes at least. So, we often wore long clothes at 23 degrees, even if it was too warm. The usual mosquito spray did not interest these critters much.
We met friends from Berlin again, whom we had already met in the north of Peru and exchanged our experiences. We planned the next destinations in Colombia, made a small hike high above the lake with a view of the volcano, were sprayed by strange people from driving cars with foam (it was carnival at that time), got to know very nice locals from Quito and tried to free our tent from mildew spots.
It was time to say goodbye to this amazing, beautiful and breathtaking country: Ecuador. Leaving this country was really not easy for us. But since we had heard from many travellers that Colombia should be one of the most beautiful countries in South America, we are now curious what will await us. Unfortunately we have to hurry: Our ship to Panama will leave the port of Cartagena on 30.03.2019.
After three weeks in Ayampe we unfortunately experienced a nasty surprise while packing: our helmets, as well as our motorcycle clothing, were covered with fine mould. The tropical climate had
left its traces. After five hours of riding (a road was unfortunately closed and we had to take a detour) we finally arrived in Canoa. After three weeks of just relaxing, eating and surfing, the
trip was very exhausting. We pitched our tent on the "Cabaña & Camping Il Tramonto", not far from the beach, but a little outside of the tourist village. The owners told us to lock everything
away, because of robberies in the past. In addition, you should not stay on the beach after sunset. We stayed five days, went surfing and were doomed to chill because the internet was slower (or
not available) than in Ayampe. We got fresh coconuts almost daily (meanwhile we knew how to open them with a machete) and were allowed to spice up our tomato sauce with basil from the owner´s
garden. The mosquitos were even more aggressive than in Ayampe and gave a damn about our repellent spray. Also the local mosquito repellent with Palo Santo (the wood of this tree is set on fire,
the smoke is supposed to drive away evil spirits as well as mosquitos) didn´t help much. At least our tent was smelling good of the sweet smell of the tree. The second night, at half past five in
the morning, we woke up because it felt like we were on a ship. The whole tent was shaking like hell. The next morning we found out, that it was not a dream: Ecuador was hidden by two earthquakes
measuring 7,5 and 5,5! The epicentre was near Guayaquil and therefore a few hundred kilometres away from us, althoug we all could feel it.
Like in Ayampe we had to hide our food from the cats. We had stowed our bread in a small thin backpack in the tent, but that didn't stop the cats either. We caught them chewing on our backpack in the act. The tent had been closed too... In Canoa we had much more rain than in Ayampe. It rained almost continuously for two days. The day before the departure it dried fortunately completely, because the unpaved road in front of the Il Tramonto became already a mud hole with little rain. On the day of departure, we wanted to get up early and drive off. But again, the rain made us to stay some more hours and kept us waiting until 11 o´clock. Then it stopped raining and the road was full of mud and deep puddles. In the afternoon the condition of the road had not turned 180 degrees, but at least we wanted to try to get through. Fortunately we made it to Pedernales, where we spent the night. The next day we wanted to go to Mindo in the mountains.
The road to Mindo was little frequented and just a dream. So, the four hours of driving passed quickly and we arrived in Mindo almost dry. There was just a little bit of rain on the road. Mindo itself is a small, nice place in the middle of the cloud forest. We stayed two nights in the hostel "Cabañas Armonía y Jardín Orquideas", enjoyed the good breakfast while we watched the hummingbirds and chilled in our room, which was lika a hut in the Alps. With a small cable car we went high over the cloud forest, followed by a small hike to the waterfalls. After our skin had recovered a little from the countless mosquito bites, we headed east.
In contrast to our last border crossing (Chile to Peru), this one (Peru to Ecuador) was fast and easy. We met another motorcycle traveller from Switzerland. He gave us some tips and we were done
in an hour. Our luggage or ourselves weren´t even checked. On the other side, you could see big tents with refugees from Venezuela. Since they are not allowed to stay in Ecuador (or only to a
limited extent), most of them travel on to Peru. The seamless change from desert to jungle came with the border. Everything was green at once and we drove through banana plantations. With all the
green it became more tropical and humid. We stayed one night in Machala. The next day we tried to bypass Guayaquil, the second largest city of Ecuador. The traffic in Ecuador is a bit more
relaxed than in Peru.
But, in bigger cities, as probably everywhere in the world, it should be a bit more chaotic. This time we had no fear of death on the six line highway around town. For the night we found a free place to camp in the "Parque Lagoa", a kind of "recreation park", for the stressed city dwellers from Guayaquil. We were invited by an Ecuadorian family to the BBQ and Kai was happy (there was finally meat again). In the night it started to rain and it continued to rain all morning. So, we sat in the tent and thought about how we could pack everything dry to some extent. In the end we had to separate the inner tent from the outer tent and used a short rain break to quickly pack everything together and load our bikes. As a precaution, we put on our rain clothes over the motorcycle clothing. However, it did not rain any more. But now, we were like a rolling sauna :-)
When we arrived in Montañita we installed ourselves in the "Montañita Surf Camp". Unfortunately we had to set up our tent right next to the bar, but we were told that the music would be turned off at 11 pm. Unfortunately there were no waves that day, but we just enjoyed the atmosphere and took a bath in the sea at 26 degrees. Of course the music went until two o'clock in the morning. One or two nights you go along with it, but not for longer. And the weekend wasn't even around the corner. So we went surfing, but after the second night we went on to Ayampe to the "Cabañas del Iguana". Ayampe is a smaller village, equipped with a beachbreak. Here we found our little paradise in the middle of the jungle: covered campgrounds, a big kitchen and a very nice chillarea with hammocks. Since we had already learned at the beginning of our trip to stay if you like it and to go on if not, we stayed for three weeks. Actually we wanted to stay one week at the most, but Ayampe just wouldn't let us go. Every day we went surfing, relaxed in the hammocks, enjoyed the sunsets and got to know many like-minded people. This time of course surfers. We made friends, cooked a lot together and our French friend played us his songs on the guitar from time to time. In between we were busy and learned Spanish, worked on the homepage or continued our education.
Ayampe is just a magical place. Everyone greets each other and is friendly, you just feel welcome. Almost every day Fernando came by with his fruit and vegetable truck and you could buy fish or shrimps fresh from the sea from his colleague. So this stay also became a culinary delight. We tried everything from sliced meat in peanut coconut sauce, shrimps with garlic and parsley to rocket spinach and mustard leaf pesto. Despite all the surfing we didn't lose any weight, contrary to our expectations ;-)
Except, that a big iguana used our tent as a toilet four times and Baptiste (our friend from France) wounded himself while surfing, there were no
further incidents. So we could really recover from all the driving and stayed longer at one spot for the first time. On the whole trip so far we
stayed only three times a week in one place, otherwise only a few days. Ayampe, for us, was also the first place where we felt so comfortable
and liked it so much that we could imagine staying there for longer. Unfortunately everything comes to an end someday and so we left Ayampe and our friends with a heavy heart to drive further north to Canoa (also a surf spot). But, we will definitely come back!
After the ride from Casma to Huanchaco, which was super exhausting again, we were glad to arrive safely in Huanchaco. We had to drive through many small towns and a bigger city and shortly before
our destination, a truck nearly hit me off my bike in a roundabout! We stayed in a hostel (Hostal Los Esteros) directly at the spot. From the roof terrace we could watch the waves in the morning,
while our bikes were standing safely in the kitchen of the surf school (see photo). Four days we went surfing and enjoyed the atmosphere in the small village. The food was very cheap (1-2€) and a
burger shop became our regular restaurant. We even went twice to a pizzeria and enjoyed Calzone (2,5€!). On the weekend we had to struggle a bit with "localism" in the water (Kai was abused when
he wanted to take a wave) and there was a lot going on at the beach and in the water,
but during the week it was pleasantly quiet. In the evening we enjoyed the sunset on the roof terrace with Happy Hour Drinks: 2 Pisco Sour for 4€
(Pisco Sour consists of Pisco, grape brandy, lime, syrup and egg protein - as funny as it sounds, as good it tastes).
With a heavy heart we drove on to Lambayeque, as an overnight stopover on the way to Lobitos. In Lambayeque the address of the hotel on Booking.com was not right (again!) and a tuktuk driver had to show us the way (he kindly drove ahead and we followed him). As a thank you Kai had to drink a Chicha schnapps with the locals on ex. The next day we went on to Lobitos. After almost seven hours of driving we added 10 kilometres of Dirtroad. Because of exhaustion I had an falling over on the last meters on a steeper piece of gravel. The stupid navigation system had led us completely blind - right and left would have been tarmac roads! Luckily nothing was damaged, but we arrived completely exhausted at the surf camp "El Cuartel de Lobitos". We just managed to pitch the tent. Actually we came to surf. However, the camp owner explained to us that the spot "Piscinas" (directly in front of the camp) only runs in winter and the spot next to "Los Muelles" fell victim to El Niño years ago (the sandbank was destroyed). You would have to walk 2 kilometers to the spot "Lobitos" and take the big waves there. Unfortunately it was a bit too big for me - I was just at the beginning of my surfing career and happy to be able to handle at least half a meter of wave. Kai had a stiff neck (it suddenly hit him while sitting - well, that's how it can go when you slowly approach the 40 :-)))) and couldn't go surfing anyway. So we were doomed to chill. We lay in the hammock for two days and went for a walk on the beach - we hadn't had this "holiday" yet and it was a nice change. We got to know a young Israeli who travels through South America with her dog in a van and cooked for each other.
We went on to the campsite "Swiss Wassi" near Zorritos, not far from the border to Ecuador. A paradise - Caribbean feeling at the Pacific. We pitched our tent directly on the beach under coconut palms and enjoyed the most beautiful sunsets. We met some other long-term travellers
and exchanged experiences. Among them was a family from Germany who once again proved that long-term travel is also possible with children. On the very second day, the owner came to us and warned us that an exceptionally high tidal level was to be expected and that a wave
could also spill into our tent. We should take all objects out of the tent as a precaution. For us, that was too unsafe and so we moved
completely. Lucky us! The tide came so high, that our tent would have been flooded completely, also a wave made it in front to our motorcycles and to the bungalows which caused some tidying up work. All men helped and built a wall of sand to be prepared for another wave. This measure helped and so only one wave made it just behind this wall. As a reward there was beer for the helpers, which was motivation basis for the next wall on the next day.
Apart from this short excitement we enjoyed the rest, relaxed and Kai maintained the motorcycles. After all, we had already rode almost 7.000 kilometres in South America. The only thing which clouded the paradise was the prevailing water shortage. For us, it was no topic to limit the waster use. The population suffered immensely from this drought and went understandably on the street to erect blockades. Instead of the natives, only the hotels were supplied with water! Moreover, garbage is a huge problem in Northern Peru. We drove partly through garbage landscapes. Just sad! After we had refuelled strength again, we made ourselves on the way to Ecuador. Let's see how this border crossing would go...
Early in the morning we went on to Paracas. Not far away from Huacachina, but due to the traffic very exhausting to drive. We were allowed to pitch our tent on a public parking lot (sandy ground)
next to a kite station and use their toilets, because we always consumed something. The wind at this flatwater spot starts at noon, comes side offshore and is a little gusty in the cover of a
villa. This is the only flatwater spot on the coast of northern Chile, Peru and Ecuador. That´s the reason why we had sent our kite staff (25Kg) to Costa Rica from northern Chile. For us, it did
not seem meaningful to carry this weight for more than 5.000Km through desert and mountains. There are countless world class wave kitespots along the coast, but unfortunately this still exceeds
our skills. If we would have known, that our kite stuff would get stuck in the customs of Costa Rica
and we would have had to pay a lot of dues, we certainly would not have made this decision....sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. You know better afterwards... Now we were sitting at a great spot without kite stuff and our heart was bleeding. We tried to negotiate a better price with the kite station in order to rent at least one kite (we still had the surfboard and
we were already kiting with it) but even 40€ were simply too much. The huge jellyfish and the sea grass would have been for free. Furthermore it was weekend-time and a lot going on on the water. So we found comfort in the daily Happy Hour (2 Cuba Libre for a total of 4,50€!) and could still enjoy the nice atmosphere. The nights were (despite weekend) pleasantly quiet, only from time to time you could hear a lovesick seal. We had seen this one in the water in the morning. On the last evening we sat together with Ilse and Elmar from Villingen-Schwenningen - it was really nice to hear and talk Swabian again.
Actually we wanted to go surfing in the south of Lima, in Pulpos, but the accommodation we had booked did not exist anymore! So, we wandered around in the small village and tried to find another accommodation - in vain. Also the other hostel, a few kilometers south, was now fully booked. So we booked an available Hotel in Lima and drove another half an hour through the chaotic traffic of the megacity.
The next morning we drove off at 7 o'clock not to come fully into the Rush Hour. On that day our guardian angels had a very strenuous early shift: Five-lane motorway, everyone drives like he or she wants, without caring of others, you were overtaken on both sides, you were pushed off the street and blown away by the horns of trucks and busses and a few times we nearly crashed. Once a coconut rolled over the road. We trembled for two hours and sixty kilometres through this hell and were completely exhausted and happy to have survived the whole thing without an accident. If their would have been an accident, the following traffic would have rolled over you like a herd of wild cattle. In Medio Mundo, north of Lima, we installed ourselves on a camping site and spent a night there. The next day we drove further in the mountains to Huaraz. The riding throuhg the mountains was great and a change to monotonous desert landscape. You had to take care not to be bowled off the road by the crazy bus drivers! We stayed two days in a hostel (Nery Lodging) for ten euros a night (for two including breakfast). It is really nice to see that many Peruvians are still dressed in traditional clothes in Huaraz, with the typical hats and scarves. The only strange thing for us were the hanging dead chickens at the street stalls and the smaller shops.
We drove for three hours to the laguna Paron to see the mountain Artesonraju (you know the Paramount Pictures mountain, right?), but unfortunately it was hidden behind the fog. Also the high snow-covered mountains around could only be seen in a cloud gap fora short time.
The detour to Huaraz was nevertheless worth it: the return trip was a paradise with curves and the dream of every motorcyclist. Only the roads had suffered a lot from the rain. Besides rock fall the complete road was partly washed out and thus we had to handle a few very strenuous offroad passages. After an overnight stop in Casma we went on then to Huanchaco to the sea.
The border crossing should be quite easy, we knew where we had to go and which forms we needed for the motorcycles. After an hour we thought we had made it. Wrong thought! One of us should
complain about the German bureaucracy! Stamps here, stamps there and a bunch of other stuff! 10 stamps later we were allowed to unload everything (!) and send it through a scanner (like at the
airport) and our suitcases were searched, for safety by a drug dog. Three hours later we finally made it: Welcome to Peru! Now we had 200km in front of us... But after the first city we had the
first control. Seriously? Ok fine: We showed our documents and the officer disappeared in the building with them. Finally, he came out out again with all the documents (you never know) and we
could continue our ride. The ride became more and more beautiful. Even really green! We arrived in Ilo completely done and only wanted to go to the hostel. But we did not find it. It turned out,
that the address on booking.com was wrong! Lucky us, it was not warm, we were not hungry and the right address was only 15 minutes away...
The next day we went on to Camana. The road was one of the most beautiful ones so far. Many beautiful curves and varied landscape. We once even drove past a small waterfall and at the end the mountains were covered with white sand. The hotel in Camana was described on booking.com as follows: "Kitchenette in every room, small garden and terrace, parking lots in the garage". Yes, there was a garage and thus secure parking. But not a single kitchen, no garden and no terrace! After a long discussion the hotel operators let us cook in their kitchen. But for the use of the kettle the next morning the boss had to be seriously asked again. Better safe than sorry...
The next day went again along the beautiful coastal road (you could even see dolphins playing in the waves!), but unfortunately with many potholes. One I had seen too late and drove right
through. Fortunately it wasn't that deep, so it didn't lever me out, but again, I sat up with the engine guard. My poor pony. In Chala we stayed quite expensive (everything else was booked out),
but directly on the beach and finally we had a good breakfast again.
hen we went on to Nazca and the road was still getting worse. It was more a Swiss cheese than a road! The road was broken in some places, it had so many potholes we could only drive 20-30 km/h and nevertheless drove through one or more of them. In addition the driving style of the Peruvians. As a motorcyclist one is not recognized here as a traffic participant, but rather seen as an annoying obstacle. Thus it happened that a truck on the opposite lane began to overtake while I still drove past him. I could just avoid it. The last night before Huacachina we spent in Nazca. The next morning we´ve visited the Nazca lines (see photo). The upcoming ride was the hell. Thousands of trucks which overtook in the most impossible places. Twice it nearly crashed in front of us. We were so glad to finally arrive in Huacachina, it was brooding hot and we were completely tired. But when we arrived there, the prices for the Ecocamping were outrageous: 70 soles (approx. 18 Euro) per person (!) for one night in a mini tent!? If we wanted to set up our own tent it would cost even more, because it is bigger! Do you understand this logic?! Are they kidding?! After a long dicussion we decided to stay at least one night. Fortunately Idrissa and Simon from Munich (on the way with a VW T5) and the Australians Clary and Robert (with whom we had already celebrated Christmas) arrived a little later. Idrissa and Simon offered us to sleep in their van in case of need, since you only pay 70 soles for a van in pairs. The next day Robert went on buggy tour by the dunes with the boss and negotiated for us. Now we were allowed to sleep for 50 soles in pairs (approx. 12 Euro) in the T5. How nice of you! A little later the employee came by again and offered us to stay in the tent for 50 soles. Easy going...:-)
Like this, our stay in the oasis in the middle of the sand dunes became really nice (except for the first two nights with loud music until half past six in the morning in the hostel opposite...). We spent a lot of time at and in the pool, hiked up to the sand dunes at sunset and sat in the evening all together at the BBQ and campfire, after Robert had rung in the "Happy Hour" again.
New Year's Eve in Boardshort was a great experience. You could get used to it. For the warm up we went into the pool at the pool bar, in the evening we had a big BBQ, a family from France joined us and after midnight Robert came around the corner with his après-ski music (or après-beach, as the bar of the two Australians was called). After four days in the oasis it was time to continue. Next stop: Paracas.