After driving the Patrol into a container in Colón we were again backpackers, and it was strange after being on the road with a vehicle for more than a year. The final ride on Central American roads was in Lotti, Franc and Isabelle’s VW. First time we meet them on this trip was in Anaheim, LA, and since then we have meet up every now and then along the road. Lotti had six passengers on the way to the airport this day, Andrea and Georg where on the same flight as us and they also got a ride.
Thanks Isabelle, Franc, and Lotti for the good times on the road. Lotti is now being shipped home to Europe from Panama.
It was a short and nice flight to Cartagena in Colombia. Customs and immigration was no problem, and we were officially in South America. Since we were without our home we stayed in a hostel in the old city of Cartagena.
It is a really nice city center to explore on foot. Cartagena was founded by the Spanish in 1533 and became the main port on the Caribbean coast. Because of all the goods being shipped back to Spain from this port it became a target for pirates. The solution was to transform the port into a fort.
Most of the outer wall of the fort is still intact and it is great walking on the walls looking out on the Caribbean Sea and down on the city behind the wall.
The city is bustling with life and it is interesting to sit down on a bench in the park and observe all the people. It is incredible to see how many people making a living off walking the streets and selling things.
You can sit still on a bench and buy cold drinks, hats, fresh fruit, sweets, cigarettes, get your shoes polished and sip on a hot cup of Colombian coffee. One day we observed that all statues in town had “grown” black hair overnight.
We have no clue to why. Interesting…
In the evenings we had dinners with the other overlanders that were waiting to get their vehicles, and at the most we were 10 people for dinner. The major dinner conversation was of course what had to be done to get our vehicles back. Since the car is registered in Espens name he was the one that had to do all the work. He must have done something right, because after just a couple of days delay from the shipping we had the Patrol back and were ready to drive on in South America. It was good to put the backpacks in the back of the car and be proper overland travelers again.
From Cartagena we drove together with Nordsued.ch and Toyotours.com north along the coast. About 50 kilometers north of Cartagena we had our first stop at Vulcán de Lodo El Totume. You could say it is a bit smaller and different form the other Volcano’s we have climbed on this trip.
After climbing the stairs to the summit we could splash around in the mud. It is impossible to explain how it felt to float in lurk warm mud.
There is no bottom that you can stand on, but still you will not sink down you just float.
After some time in the volcano we had to get a good rinse in the lake before we could jump back into the car and continue the drive north. Our final stop for the day was in Taganga.
It felt a bit like a Mediterranean town and we had a great dinner down at the seafront. And since this would be that last time we would see the Caribbean Sea on this trip, we made one last camp at the beach at Casa Grande outside Los Naranjos.