Where are we?

I DID IT!!!!

Monday Oct 28th

The drive from Honda to Guatapé went without any issues. It was busy with big trucks again so lots of slow drives up the hills. Only 2 tolls - which normally average about $4C.  Also had to drive around a small landslide that has covered half the highway, so that slowed us down for a bit.  We stopped at Cocorná which is a village high in the mountains. There we watched a paraglider just swoop back and forth in front of us before heading all the way down to the village. That would be sooooo cool to do - AS long as it was tandem😉

As you can see some trucks have no problem passing on corners!!


This landslide will probably take awhile to clean up




Beautiful countryside




Cocorná is way down in the valley and that's where the paraglider ended up and the road we came up is on the right side








This is the easy way to get up a hill - just hang on to the truck
The only problem was that maps.me was taking us the backway to Guatapé!! Trying to get us to drive thru the town of El Santuario and the app kept going in circles so obviously more lost than us!! So I looked at google maps and figured there was no reason to get off the main highway yet! So found the way back to the highway and continued on. Only about a 15 minute delay driving around! LOL!!

We get close to Guatapé and we see THE ROCK also known as Piedra del Peńol or El Peñol. A monolith rising 200m above the land. We see the stairway that has 740 steps to get to the top. The first person to climb it was Luis Edwardo Lopez in 1954.  And he used sticks attached to the rock to get to the top!!! Crazy guy! But then you have to think of the men that built the stairway! Not sure how it was originally built but there are 2 stairwells, one for going up and another intertwines going down. I remember a similar stairwell built in Orvieto, Italy underground to a well. Never went on it since it looked tight!!

And there is El Peñol with the staircase

The local buses are really cool looking!

We arrive in town around 4:30 and decide to wait until the next day to drop off laundry since it won't get done today anyway. We drive to a spot near the centre just across a bridge that I found on iOverlander.  It seems to be a nice spot, there are some local buses parked there right now waiting until they have to take the tourists back to wherever :)  But there is room for us to park and set up. Its a real pretty spot overlooking a small arm of the the Peñol-Guatapé Reservoir. A HUGE reservoir when a dam was built in the late 60's.  Looking at a map there are so many arms to this reservoir that it gets very busy on the weekends with boats, seadoos, houseboats! Lots of waterfront property on this reservoir that's for sure.






Our spot for the night, you can see El Penól in the background
We bring out our reclining chairs and chill with some wine and beer :)  Such a nice quiet spot with a great view!  I decide tonight we will have beef veg soup since I have some leftover meat in the freezer that I can use to it. I get all the vegetables cleaned and chopped and add them to the pressure cooker. I put in a jar of chicken broth I made a couple of weeks ago from leftover chicken bones from the roast chicken we bought at Jumbo. Then add some more water plus seasoning, and the cooked meat,  tightened the lid, had a glass of wine while waiting for the pressure to build up. Once it was steaming I turned down the heat put on the timer went outside until the timer went then turned off the stove, went back outside had another glass of wine and told Dwayne "supper's ready" LOL!! Of course its so hot we stayed outside for at least another 30 mins. Then inside for some yummy soup and bread for Dwayne.

Next morning we're up pretty early because motos are going by and so are the tuktuks getting people to school and work. We look outside and can't even see El Peñol because it has a cloud surrounding it. I'm sure it will be fine later in the day because best to climb after lunch because the sun will be on the other side. We get our laundry together and head to the centre of town to find the lavadria. As we are walking we see why this town is so popular with tourists, it's really cute! All the different colors of houses/businesses and then they all have paintings on the bottom - which are called Zócalos.  Which is strange because I've always known the central parks in Mexico to be called Zócalos. Oh well there are a few different Spanish words here. Guess that is one of them. The Zócalos are relief paintings along the bottom of the buildings. Not sure why they started this but it sure makes this pueblo a beautiful little place and the most colourful Pueblo in Colombia! Only about 5000 people actually live in the town. But there are lots of restaurants here especially along the malecón which looks pretty new.

Walking to the lavadria 





We saw this at the river, guys in boats would bring sand from another area, off load by shovel and then load onto trucks by hand!
Couldn't get really close, but here the guys in the boat off load sand 




Wonder about that windmill beside El Penól?



Nice wood interior 





After dropping off the laundry we walk around some more then start walking to El Peñol. But its a steep climb up and still 3kms away. So we decide to go back to Vanna and drive her up to the parking area at the bottom of the stairs. But along the way I decide I need my hair cut, so stop off at beauty salon and hope she can do a good job cuz I'm to lazy to do it myself 😂 plus it's nice to have someone else do it once in awhile. Price - 10,000COP ($4C) so once I'm done, and I'm happy with the results I ask her "corta de pelo mi esposo?" "Si"  So for $8 we're both cleaned up - Dwayne got his eyebrows done, his ears done and his nose!! LOL!!! When she was doing his neck she kept pulling down his shirt collar - Dwayne thought maybe he should just take off his shirt 😂😂

So after that we walked back to Vanna, had lunch and drove to El Peñol. We drive up to the parking area and pay the 5000COP charge and  get parked. Unfortunately there were no trees to park under to keep Vanna and El Perro cool! LOL!!! We walk towards the ticket office, pay the 18,000COP each (total $15C) and start putting one foot in front of the other to get to the top by 740 steps!!! I'm a little apprehensive because afraid I might not make it to the top. That's a lot of steps!! The number of steps are marked every 25 steps. So that's a good motivator! We stop every 25-30 steps to look at the view,  oh and take a rest! LOL!! But I surprise myself by passing a couple of WAY younger girls and get to the top in 20 minutes!! YES I DID IT!!! WoW and the view from the top is magnificent! The reservoir is really cool - so many islands. Just amazing!! We hang around for a bit, have an ice cream - always have to have a treat after a big walk!! Then we head down. I find that my quads are doing more work going down then up! Guess going up my lungs were doing more work then my quads 😀 We get down in about 15 minutes, head to Vanna, turn on the a/c and sit and stare up the stairs we actually climbed!! Not bad for a couple of old farts HAHA!!



There is our challenge for today!!


Almost there!!





Gotta have that treat after all that work!!


Patio on top of El Penól

There's Vanna WAY down :) 






The up and down staircases 

This was a pretty narrow part

We decide to check out a camping spot that is suppose to be nice, with a pool, showers, power, water. But they charge 20000 per person so $16/n.  We drive up to the house and find the spot we can park at - kinda out in the middle of the driveway. There is a nice big pool, but its cloudy - doesn't impress Dwayne much. I check out the shower and it has what is called a "Widow maker" shower! Not my favourite - you have to turn on the water slow (there is only one tap) and the water heats up somehow thur the electric wiring??? I don't know but I'm not crazy about those types!  We figure it's definitely not worth the price. So we say Gracias and Adios. We're just going to head back to where we were but a little farther from the road towards the water.

This would have been a great spot but a little to far out of town

I wonder if they asked Disney Inc if they could use their name on this tour boat??

This is a play area outside a school. Rope climbing, wall climbing and slides 

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Now this is one fancy dinner boat!
We pick up our laundry as we drive thru town and go park at the new spot. The spot actually works really well. I can see see what's happening on the water and it's away from the road noise. Dwayne gets the BBQ out because tonight he is cooking pork chops.  I got 4 nice loin chops for $3! Prices here are so good! Had some salad left from the other night and I fried up potatoes for Dwayne. Gotta keep the cook happy :)

I think the potatoes here look more like rocks :)
After dinner the chairs and table are put away, the awning closed up just in time before the rain and thunder started!! Guess we'll watch another movie tonight. Tomorrow we head to Medellín and hopefully meet up with Paul and Tanya from New Zealand that we meet as we left the Caribbean coast to go inland 😊



Dwayne loves these old well kept trucks. There are lots of them 


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