December 31, 2018

Today we visited Medellin. Since we live up in the mountains above Medellin we had to travel down to the town. We did this with the Metro Cable. This ropeway connects some parts of the town with the metro system. We took the metro into the center of the town. Here the best thing we saw is the Botero Plaza where 23 sculptures of Fernando Botero are exhibited. The picture shows a part of Medellin viewed from a gondola of the Metro Cable. We celebrated New Year's Eve alone in our RV because all restaurants near the campground were closed. For this, we bought today a bottle of Prosecco.

December 30, 2018

Today we traveled from Socorro to Medellin (191 km). The hotel we were last night was at an altitude of 590 meters. Today the road went up to the mountains. When we were at an altitude of 2000 meters we thought we reached the top of the pass. I made some pictures like the one I attach here. You see the road climbing up the mountain. But then it went up again. The highest point we measured was 2800 meters. And then it went down on a very steep road. And then it went up again. We are on a campground in Santa Elena. This is in the mountains above Medellin at an altitude of 2600 meters. It is quite fresh here. We use pullovers the first time since we started our journey in Mexico.

December 29, 2018

Today we traveled from Sincelejo to Socorro (Valdivia) (298 km). The road was almost perfect today. But it was small and winding. Maximum allowed speed was 80 km/h. And we got slowed down by a lot of slow trucks. It was difficult to pass them on these winding roads. We drove 6 hours and made 298 km! When it was time to find a place for the night, we stood in front of a restaurant/hotel (K'Piros Hotel & Restaurant) on a pass like road up some hills. Since the next possibilities were too far away we took a room and had dinner here. I took the picture just on the opposite side of the road from the hotel. If there would not be a road we would be in the midst of nature. But luckily our internet device still has some connection to the world.

December 28, 2018

Today we traveled from Cartagena to Sincelejo (163 km). We didn't reach the destination we have planned to reach. The roads were quite rough and a lot of roadworks stopped us. The problem with the roads was another as for the countries we crossed until now. Here not the potholes but very uneven roads is the problem. Mostly we drove between 30 and 60 km/h. The picture is from Cartagena. It shows some of the spires of the old town

 

 

 

 

December 27, 2018

Today we went to get the parcel with the new diesel filter case in the other hotel. Yes, it was there and we got it. Then we went to the car workshop and by the evening the new diesel filter case was installed in our RV. This problem is now solved and we are ready to travel again. When we walked from the parking to the hotel we saw again people dancing in the Plaza del Reloj (Clock Square). Each time we saw them I tried to do pictures. But the low light and the fast movements make it difficult to take good pictures. But anyway I attach now such a picture.

December 26, 2018

Today we stayed in Cartagena. On our daily strolls through the old town, we went to see Plaza de Santo Domingo again. The sculpture «La Gordo Gertrudis» of the world-famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero is «laying» here as my picture shows. This morning the tracking of our parcel said it will arrive on December 28. Tonight it said it was already delivered on December 24. This would mean that the parcel was faster than the tracking! And we are not there where the parcel is. We let it send to the hotel we were before we changed to the one we are now. Therefore we have to get it tomorrow.

December 25, 2018

Today we did a stroll through Cartagena. Slowly we start to know the old city. We know where to drink coffee, where to eat and where to shop. On our way through the city we crossed the Centenario Park again. Here live some animals like quite big iguanas who climb on the trees, little monkeys, squirrels, birds, and sloths. Sloths are for me the more strange animals. We were already in the park and didn't see one. But today we found one and watched it for a long time. And suddenly it started to climb down from the tree to get to another one. It came this close to me that I was able to get its portrait. The highlight of the day was a video call with my family (brothers and sister and their families) as they were celebrating Christmas together.

December 24, 2018

Today we visited the Inquisition Museum in Cartagena. Maybe not a real Christmas theme. The inquisition is a European invention. The Spanish government organized it very well. They did not only use it in the Americas but at home too. In the evening we had a nice dinner. Not like a Christmas dinner at home but it was delicious. The picture was made in a courtyard of the museum.

December 23, 2018

Greetings from Cartagena in Colombia. We wish you and your family Merry Christmas.

December 22, 2018

Today we had an easy day in Cartagena. We went to do some shopping and I found a hairdresser to cut my hear. Since someone some weeks ago wanted to see a new picture of me I made now one with the new haircut. It's the first official picture of me as a retiree. The package we wait for is still in Bogota.

December 21, 2018

Today we moved to another hotel. We live now in a very nice part of Cartagena. Here are many tourists and the prices are quite high. But our RV is in secure parking and we can go out the door of the hotel and have a lot of choices for restaurants and shops. The picture was made just outside our hotel. On the way between the hotels, we found a workshop to check the alignment of our RV. The guy said that everything is perfect just the oil from the diesel which drops down does have a bad influence. I can't believe this but I will let check it again when the diesel filter case is repaired. By the way, the tracking informed me today that the diesel filter arrived in Bogota. This means the parcel needed three days from Switzerland to Colombia but now it will take a week from Bogota to Cartagena? We will see!

December 20, 2018

Today we had to decide what we do with the time until the diesel filter case arrives here in Cartagena. We decided not to drive with the RV. The diesel leakage gets bigger every day and driving with the bad alignment uses the tires too much. We don't want to stay in the hotel we are now because the environment is not nice. There are no restaurants here and someone warned us that it can be dangerous at night. Our RV stands on the street in front of the hotel what I don't like. Therefore we drove today into the old town (3 km) and searched for secure parking and found one. Then we went to a laundry shop to let wash our clothes. This was done in two hours, Then we searched for a hotel in the old city and found one in our price range. And it seems it even has hot water in the bathroom. Here in Colombia, even more expensive hotels have only cold water in the bathroom. I don't like cold showers but maybe I have to adapt to it. The picture shows one of the many small streets of Cartagena at sunset time.

December 19, 2018

Today we started the procedure of repairing our RV. First, we went to a carwash to let our RV clean. It was full of salt from the shipment. It was as an open container on top of the normal containers and like this fully exposed to the sea weather. Second, we went to a car workshop my Colombian friend recommended. They will mount the new diesel filter case as soon as it is here. But they can't look at the alignment, because they don't have the data of our car on their alignment computer. We tried to find another workshop but were not successful today. The new diesel filter case was sent away in Switzerland by another friend yesterday. Today the tracking says it will arrive here in Cartagena on December 28. Instead of the expected 4 days, it will need 9 days to arrive here. We have to create an idea of what we do during this time. The picture shows the sunset from the city wall in Cartagena

December 18, 2018

Today the procedure to get the motorhome out of the port got into the second day. When I arrived at the port at 8 am the guy there told me that I can't enter the port with shorts and sandals. Since I had no other clothes with me I took a taxi to a mall where I bought long leave trousers and a pair of shoes. When I was back at the port I just came right to drive our motorhome from the flat rack. It seems that our motorhome had no damages and everything is fine. But with this, the process was not finished. I had now to walk 15 minutes to customs to get the TIP and from there another 20 minutes to an office to buy insurance for the motorhome. When we (we were 4 motorhome owners: Klaus and Werner from Germany, Henry from England and me) were back at the port it was lunch time and we had to wait for 1.5 hours. After this, we had to fill in more forms and then to wait until we got other forms with which, we were allowed to go to our vehicles in the port and had to wait there another hour until everything was clear and we could drive out of the port. It was 4 pm by then. I think this is the worst shipment of a motorhome worldwide! And we survived it!!

December 17, 2018

Today we started the procedure to get our RV out of the port. I run together with some other travelers from 8 am until 5 pm from office to office and filled forms in and paid money. At lunchtime, we had a break for two hours since the office we needed closing down for this time. The procedure will continue tomorrow at 8 am. At 5 pm I walked back to the hotel. On the way, I shot the picture of the sunset behind some high rising buildings.

December 16, 2018

Today we walked to the beach of the Caribean Sea. I was here four years ago as a speaker at a conference. The conference hotel was farther down at the beach. Then we walked around the old city on the city wall and watched the sunset.

December 15, 2018

Today we stayed in Cartagena. We started to plan our journey through Colombia. Then we went to visit the Castillo de San Felipe. The Spanish did start to build the fortification in 1536 and enlarged it over more than 100 years. It is a huge fortification. From here one has a good overview of Cartagena.

December 14, 2018

Today we visited Cartagena. When we left our hotel we run into the other people who brought their RV's to the port in Colón at the same time as we did. It is a couple from England and a guy from Germany. His wife is back home at the moment. We walked together through Cartagena and even went for dinner together. Like this, we had a very entertaining afternoon and evening. While we walked through the city we saw several marriages. One wedding party walked through the city accompanied by dancers and drummers. This is what the picture shows.

December 13, 2018

Today we flew from Panama City in Panama to Cartagena in Colombia. Everything worked really well. After some sleep in the afternoon, we made the first walk through the old town. Cartagena is a lively and colorful city. My picture shows how the streets look like here. Our RV is on the boat and should arrive here tomorrow. Then there will be a two-day procedure until we can get the RV out of the port. We will see how stressful this will be.

December 12, 2018

Today we had a day to visit Panama City. We wanted to travel by Metro. But we found not enough information on how to use it. Therefore we decided to travel by taxis. They are relatively cheap at least in comparison with Switzerland. Like this, we went to see the sightseeing hotspots. By accident, I found out that Frank Gehry has built the Biomuseum here. We walked there and I liked the colorful building as my picture shows it. On our travels, we saw already building by Frank Gehry in Bilbao in Spain, and Cleveland in the USA. They are all very special.

December 11, 2018

Today we brought our RV to the shipping company in Colón port (6 km). But this goes not easy. It needed 3 hours. We had to go to three different offices at three different sites to get stamps and papers until we could bring it into the port. There were a lot of controls, even narcotic until we could leave. We had planned to travel to Colombia by sailboat. But this morning the sailboat trip was canceled. So we had to organize our trip to Colombia anew. We took a bus back to Panama City and moved into a hotel room. Thursday we will fly to Cartagena. The picture was made in the bus terminal at Panama City. I just had the camera ready when the three ladies crossed me. The last one has some traditional clothes on. And the first one a modernized version of it.

December 10, 2018

Today we traveled from Panama City to Colón (77 km). This means we crossed the whole country of Panama from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribean Sea in about 1.5 hours. But before we had an interesting day. We had to be at 7 am at a place for an inspection of our car. The customs do inspect every car which leaves the country. They found that in our TIP the VIN number was written wrongly. We had to drive to another site of the customs. They had to correct the TIP. Then we went back to the inspection site and got the OK. Then we went back to the hotel. There I found that I have lost the official car document. We rushed back to the customs office. They didn't have it. Then we went to the inspection site. There we found it. What a relief! I don't know how we could have traveled through South America without this document. At 2 pm we had to go to a third site of the customs to get the document which confirms that our car belongs to us. With this document, we are now able to leave Panama. Then we drove to Colón. Colón didn't look nice. It is a port town with all the negative things that such places have. My picture shows that this city has already seen better days.

December 9, 2018

Today we went to visit the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Docks (11 km). We learned about the interesting history of the canal and saw some big freight ships going through the docks. The picture shows ships coming from the Atlantic and going to the Pacific. They need about 12 hours to cross the country. On the far left is a ship in the new canal which is wider and has much larger docks. Like this, about 60% more goods can be transported through the canal now.

December 8, 2018

Today we stayed in Panama City. Here was Mothers Day and most businesses were closed. But we found open shops to do our laundry and let our RV wash. Two guys washed it by hand for about a half an hour for $ 9.-. By the way here in Panama US$ is the currency which is used everywhere. In the last three countries, US$ was always an option. But here the ATMs give you only US$. Today was the shipment of our RV from Panama to Colombia confirmed. Next Tuesday we have to bring it to the port in Colón. On Monday we have to go to an inspection of the customs. Now we have to organize how we two get to Colombia.

December 7, 2018

Today we stayed in Panama City. In the morning we drove to the car workshop which promised to fix the diesel filter case leak and check the alignment. But we had bad luck. It seems that in the diesel filter case exists a high-pressure what doesn't let any repair work. Now it's clear we have to find a new device either in Colombia or import it from Europe. And they said the alignment is not correct because the tires have different pressures. I can't believe this. But I will test this tomorrow. The picture shows the new Skytrain line which is built right now. This is just outside the car workshop where we spent the whole day.

December 6, 2018

Today we stayed in Panama City. First, we drove to the Fiat dealer. They couldn't find a diesel filter case in Panama. This means we have to import such a device from Europe ourselves. Then we drove to a tire dealer. I just wanted to have the damaged rim repaired. But the guys there judged the tires as used up and made me a good offer for new ones. Like this, our RV stands now on four new tires. With the new tires, I was now sure that the alignment is not correct. On a traveler website, I read about a car workshop who was already able to fix such problems without new parts. Therefore we drove there. And yes they agreed to fix the diesel filter case and the alignment. We will go there tomorrow in the morning and hope they can do it. The picture shows a highway along the Pacific Ocean and some high rising buildings in Panama City.

December 5, 2018

Today we traveled from Santiago de Veraguas to Panama City (249 km). After the bad mountain road of yesterday, I hoped that the Nr. 1 highway of Panama is a very good road. But it's not. For kilometers, it was a concrete road with had every 3 meters a gap. Our RV was jumping in a rhythm which was not nice. It was frustrating. And the rest of the road was bad too. Again a lot of huge potholes. But we reached Panama City without problems. We even crossed the Panama Canal just a few kilometers before the city. The picture shows our arrival in Panama City. For a long time, we didn't see such high rising buildings anymore.

December 4. 2018

Today we traveled from Hornito to Santiago de Veraguas (216 km). This was an interesting day. First, the view from the mountain hotel was beautiful. The Baru volcano was wonderful to see. Second, I drove around thousands of potholes in the last few weeks. But today I hit one which resulted in a flat tire. It was an experience to change a tire on a small mountain road with quite some traffic. Third, at one stop all women had special colorful dresses on. I don't know what this is or means. Fourth, before the hotel we wanted to go we couldn't park our RV. Therefore we searched for another. The second one didn't exist. The one we are now is about double the price we want to spend usually. There was nothing cheaper available in this city but it is very nice.

December 3, 2018

Today we traveled from Cahuita in Costa Rica to Hornito in Panama (206 km). The border formalities were quite straightforward. Only to get the TIP on the Panama side took about half an hour. On the way, we saw a lot of banana plantations and three packing sites. At one I made the attached picture. They have a rail from the plantation to the packing side. The banana bunches hang there and can be pushed to the packing plant. There the bananas are cleaned, packed and shipped. What I didn't realize when I planned today's journey was the topography. We had to climb from sea level up to 1250 meters. When we arrived at the site of the hotel we found out that we can reach the hotel only by walking. It was about 15 minutes from the street up through the jungle. And there was no restaurant as described. We had to buy the food and cock ourselves. We arrived here in the darkness. We will see tomorrow morning if the view from here is this fantastic as the description promised.

December 1 + 2, 2018

On December 1 as usually on the first day of the month was my office day. On December 2 we went again into the Cahuita National Park. They have built a 2.5 km long boardwalk into the jungle. We did it forth and back. Here you get a good feeling of how it is in the jungle. Down at the ground, its quite dark and in the treetops is the sunshine. We saw even some monkeys in the treetops. The picture shows the boardwalk in the jungle. In the evening we were invited by my brother's friend for dinner. We got a typical Caribbean fish meal. Thank you, Estella and Peter.