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Journey to Salento

Sunday morning arrived bright and warm and David, riding his bike and I set off toward Salento, some 24km distant according to my official guide. Not speaking the language is a disadvantage when it comes to knowing whats going on and I was surprised when we took a turning up a track, leaving the road behind. The track was actually marked on the map, however the words used to describe it were not in my dictionary. So now I know what ‘interveredal’ means and why the only means of transport along the road was horse, mountain bike, jeep or trucks hauling away the trees.

However what it lacked in vehicle-friendliness was more than made up for by the beautiful scenery that has made Quindio a national treasure. The road followed the river valley to the village of Boquia where it met the paved road going to Salento. Without cold weather to contend with, the year is a total growing season and the lush vegetation is home to many birds and insects –  not too many mosquitoes which is a blessing considering how many New York has.


The sun hasn’t been too much of a problem though I have been caught out once or twice and got burnt. After a few hundred meters this morning the sun came out and immediately I could feel it and I wasn’t wearing a hat. I had thought about it earlier when I was rummaging around in my bag  or the thought came to me when I saw a hat. Marvellous I thought, however the route was shaded enough for me to survive and when I got home I found that I had in fact put the hat in my bag. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Usually in the morning there is a little cloud cover and the low angle of the sun is gentle enough not to be a problem. When its overhead though it’s really intense and will burn very quickly.


It took 2 hours to get to Boquia and there was a shop where we got some water. We sat for a few minutes, relaxing in the mid morning warmth. A man sat nearby told us that it was about 5km to Salento, 5 km uphill so it would be a run walk strategy as the altitude has an affect even though not great, the body still has to work a bit harder. We stopped several times on the way up and I took a few photos. We turned around at the top of the hill where the outskirts of the town begin and enjoyed our descent, restocked with water after we stopped by the river where there was a zip-line that people were having fun on and I took some more photos before we headed back along the rough road. Every now and again I would see a moth or brightly coloured butterfly I have never seen before and then we disturbed a small cloud of butterflies that rose spinning and floating before settling again in the warm sunshine.


It’s a boon to be here now when New York is coming to the end of a prolonged cold spell and in the UK it’ll be cool at best and its 22-25 degrees here which also means I’m drinking a lot of water. I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle.


There’s lots of colourful birds as well, sometimes it’s like being in an exotic aviary.

Leaving the country road we headed back into Armenia and with about a km to go I stopped to refill my water bottle and as I began to runagain I felt a tight pain above the back of the knee. I don’t know the name of the muscle but the pain came very suddenly and even though I tried stretching it and running again, it wasn’t having any of it and so I walked back home, satisfied enough with the duration of the run. My watch showed 5:15 when we got back and that probably gave a net running time of a good 4½ hours.