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Monday, May 5, 2014

Day 376 Monday May 5, 2014

The ADVenture is now in Medellin, Colombia. I left Villa de Leyva last Thursday morning and had no problems. The national strike that began on Monday seems to be having little effect on the country as a whole. I had intended to ride over half way from Leyva to Medellin when I departed and I was moving right along when I stopped at a highway junction in the town of Velez to check my GPS against Google Maps and Mapswithme. After a few moments I looked up from the maps I was studying and the bike and I were surrounded by curious people. I was caught by surprise, not expecting to be noticed. My first thought was to wave and proceed but instead decided I would visit for a moment. That moment turned into two hours of coffee and passing around my cell phone with Google was Q&A time. I was given a tour of the town, a tour of a local candy factory, and a free taxi ride to eat lunch. After eating lunch it was back to coffee and Q&A and pretty soon it was 2:30 and thundering. One of the men that had been with me for the whole time got on his bike and led me to a nice hotel with secure parking for the bike. After checking in and making two trips hauling my gear to the third floor I was relaxing for a bit when there was a knock at the door. I slipped on my pants and opened the door. There was the desk clerk and two young men in the hall outside. One of the young men was in the uniform of the National Police and he did most of the talking. The other young man was from the office of the mayor. They were sent by their superiors to welcome me to Velez. I was given the phone numbers for the mayors office and the office of the commanding General of the National Police in Velez.

At about 6:00PM I was downstairs and a man struck up a conversation. We talked for a bit when he asked me if I had seen the Museum of Culture and I answered that I had not. He got on the phone and called the museum, flagged a taxi, and off we went. I was thoroughly entertained for the next two hours with music and costumes by the curator of the museum. I took photos until the battery in my point & shoot camera died. After leaving the museum the curator and I did a walkabout in town.

I was up early the next morning and departed for Medellin around 7:30. It would be a long days ride to reach Medellin. Most of the day the bike was in second, third, and fourth gears...spectacular mountain roads with beautiful scenery.

About 5:00PM I pulled off the freeway just north of the intercity to get my bearings and take a break. A man with his young daughter in the car pulled alongside me and asked if I needed anything. I told him where I was going and he informed me that it might be difficult to get to the Shamrock Irish Pub because there were demonstrations today that might delay my arrival. He suggested I follow him to a nice hotel for the evening. I was tired and took his advice. The gentleman led me to the Hotel Patron, which is at least a four star hotel, where I stayed for the night.

Sunday morning I contacted Albert Crutcher, my host in Medellin. We met at the Shamrock...went for coffee and Albert gave me a room above the pub where I plan to stay while in Medellin.

This is Carlos Julian Sanchez Quiroga and his family. Julian was one of the people that surrounded me when I first stopped in Velez. He took me for a tour of the town and arranged for me to tour the candy factory. He is also the brother-in-law of the museum curator.

The candy factory.

This is Eva, my guide for the tour.

This was taken in front of the Colombian National Police Academy in Velez.

This was on the taxi tour I was given. The man pictured with me is Carlos who led me to the hotel.

The Museum of Culture.

Cromos was the Latin edition Life Magazine.

Arriving in Velez.

The Shamrock is located in a posh part of Medellin. This is a beautiful city and I am through's time to explore.

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