Saturday (Sabado) 31st July, 2010
Day 505

Villa de Leva, Colombia
Villa de Leva, Colombia
Miles: 50,113
N 05.64853°
W 73.51888°

Since we made such little distance yesterday we made a very early start today, and planned on making it a long day, in the hope of recovering some of the wasted time of yesterday.

The mountainous descent continued until the town of Ibaque. There after the route was flat, lush, large scale farming land until Giradot.

From Girador to La Mesa the road travelled through relatively low altitude country 700-800 m. The road was two lane and somewhat twisting. Along this we passed many country properties set up for the local tourist trade. Outdoor restaurants, hotels, many of these with sporting facilities (swimming pools, football fields) to attract the tourist.

From La Mesa the road climbed steeply to gain the Bogota plateau at around 2800 m. Once on the plateau we followed the map, our GPS, our memory and used some guess work to negotiate the western bypass of Bogota. We were heading for a township on the north of Bogota called Chia. There is a nice modern mall at Chia that has a well stocked though expensive supermarket. Last time we visited it, this supermarket had a good selection of deli foods. And we were really looking forward to buying up a good supply.

After our supermarket binge we were heading north looking for a route to Villa De Leiva, where we planned to spend two nights. We had a number of navigational adventures, and more experience of Colombian road works, and Colombian traffic. Perhaps the most notable of these was a 100 km section of highway that was under construction. It seems that for some reason they built the new road in 2 km sections 2 km apart. The effect of this was particularly interesting. For 2 kms one traveled on a 4 lane divided highway at 60 mph. At the end of this section traffic was directed onto a detour back on the the broken surface of the old road. After 2 km of the old road another detour directed traffic onto a 4 lane divided road. We found this perplexing and speculated that the road builders had decided to do all the easy bits first in the hope of completing as many kms of new road in as short a time as possible.

Memory, maps, GPS and some directions from locals eventually got us to Villa De Leiva just on dark, just before 6:00 and just short of 12 hours traveling. It's a good indication of traveling conditions that we spent 12 hours on the road today, minus maybe 1 1/2 hours shopping, so say 10 hours driving for a total distance of 250 miles. And it felt like a big day. I was certainly pleased to stop.