Don Matias – Yarumal – Tarazá

On Monday, 15th August, I left Don Matias early. At the beginning it was raining lightly, but the rain soon stopped. It was a day with clouds and sun, and more sun in the afternoon. After the ascend to Don Matias the day before I thought that I wouldn’t need to climb up much any more, but now I’m not so sure. At the beginning I had to climb up to about 2900m, with a steeper and harder ascend at the beginning, and later it got easier. The landscape was wonderful. But my legs were a little bit tired after the climb the day before – and the second day is always the hardest...

After getting to the highest point there came a descend of more or less 20km, down to little more than 2000m. And already from far away I could see Yarumal on the side of the mountain – and unfortunately the last 5km I had to again climb up to Yarumal.

In Yarumal I was received by a friend of a friend of a friend, who invited me to his house. After a shower and a little rest we went for a walk through the village. We drank a few beers, and met some more friends of his. Unfortunately the only vegetarian restaurant of the village was closed, and in the end we went to another friend of his who is also vegetarian, and who prepared me a fabulous dinner. Thank you!

The next day I again left early – at 6:30am – for the last part of the mountains (until the end of my trip, when I have to climb up to Bogotá). In the morning it was still a bit chilly, but soon the sun came out and the temperature got very agreeable. I didn’t have to climb up too much any more. After Las Ventanas began the descend – from 2200m down to little more than 150m. It was a long descend, with some irrelevant small ascends in between, and unfortunately the road was in places in a bad condition, so I had to be quite careful (and brake a lot). Again, the landscape was impressive. With the descend the temperature climbed up and by the time I got to Puerto Valdivia on the Rio Cauca the humid heat began to tire me quite a bit. I stopped some kilometres later at a small restaurant for lunch – scrambled eggs and salad – and then did the last 20km to Tarazá (in total 90km).

In Tarazá I stayed in a hotel on the main square (Hotel Metropol), and after a shower and some necessary rest I did a small walk through the village. There isn’t much in the village, which is situated on the bank of the river of the same name a few kilometres before it joins the Rio Cauca.

For dinner I went to a basic restaurant next to the hotel, and they improvised a menu of arepa, scrambled eggs (again!) and salad. I expect to eat a lot of eggs during these holidays. While I was eating a powerful thunderstorm began, and even though the distance between restaurant and hotel was only 25m, that was sufficient to get me quite wet.