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Colombia - Zona Cafetero

It was with great excitement that we left Bogotá, the van was fixed and after a three week delay we could continue on with our journey south, heading this time for the Zona Cafetero - Quindío, lush, green, cool mountains and the coffee growing capital of Colombia.

Sadly, some 200km later we had a failure in the new turbo, a screw came off and shredded through the turbine, which brought us to a grinding halt on the windiest, steepest, busiest road we could choose. With assistance from the Transport Police, a very helpful local mechanic who stopped to assist, and another gruá (tow-truck), we were dropped off outside VW - Los Coches, Armenia. Little did we know that Armenia was going to be home for a month.

After a night in the van outside VW, followed by a night in a hotel, we found Alyeda and Edgar's place through AirBnB and became their regular guests. Taking some time out for kiting in Calima, but returning to Armenia as our base to check on the progress with the van and the parts and to visit the local area. We found English beer in a local bar and it turned out Aleyda had a stock of Typhoo tea! We'd clearly landed on our feet.

During our time in Armenia, we were able to visit many places, including the beautiful town of Salento, the Valle del Corcora with its magnificent wax palms, the Botanical Gardens of Quindío and their Mariposaria, and the towns of Filandia, Quimbaya, the gold museum and Buenavista.

Sadly the first turbo we ordered went missing, turned out it never left Germany, but managed to get damaged in the short 84km it travelled! So after some three weeks we ordered another and went about extending both our visas and the vehicle temporary import permit, as our 3 months were up. The local immigration were brilliant and as we couldn't bring the van to the DIAN, who were dealing with the paperwork, they sent someone out to check up on it in the garage - a round trip for them of some 50km. All our paperwork intact, we headed back to Caliima for some more kiting.

Shortly after we returned, Aleyda and Edgar arranged for us to stay with their very good friend, Mariá-Luísa, who lived up the road. We got to meet one of her sisters, visiting from New York and her son who was visiting from Medellín with his family. It was a lot of fun, especially for Declan watching the Colombia matches on the TV.

When the replacement part finally arrived, the guys at VW - Los Coches worked non-stop to get the van back to us. Cleaning the ducts and the tubes took some time as any debris left in the system from the shredded turbine, would simply serve to destroy the new one. With fingers crossed, we picked up the van on Easter Saturday and headed off, back to Filandia to trial the van, before returning to VW for a final check Monday. We were given a clean bill of health, had a farewell lunch with our friends in Armenia before heading off, south towards the Ecuador border.

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