The first step was to hop on the motorcycle for the ~2 hour ride out there. Of course, the one morning that I wanted to take the motorcycle in Medellin, the sky was threatening rain. It was a little chilly too, so I donned the rain gear both for warmth and just in case, and headed out. As it turned out, the rain never came and I got hot about halfway there and had to take it off - like usual, putting on the rain gear was just as effective as bringing an umbrella for scaring off the rain.
The clouds stayed overhead though, and were still there when I pulled up on El Peñón - a giant rock that seems to stick up out of nowhere in the middle of the hills.
|Amazing views. A few less clouds would have been nice though.|
|The obligatory panorama.|
|The "down" stairs were inside the rock.|
|Couldn't leave before a photo opportunity with Hidalgo.|
|Cute little houses and stripes.|
|A little square in the middle.|
|Pretty quiet waterfront.|
|I'm probably going to have hundreds of pictures of various churches by the end of the trip, but this one was pretty cool.|
After another night with a few beers and the Medellin Beer Factory, I called it a night and prepared to head out in the morning. Albert had given me quite a few good places to check out on the way, so in the morning I picked the first one on the way and plotted a path for Santa Rosa. (But not until I'd had my standard breakfast and cappuccino.) Six nights in Medellin weren't enough fo me, really, but it was time to move on.
When I packed up the bike in the morning, I noticed at some point that my middle finger on my right hand hurt a little bit - it felt like I'd tweaked it at some point, but couldn't remember how. I didn't think much of it, and hopped on the bike for a day of riding.
When I first stopped a few hours later, however, I realized that the finger was in pretty poor shape. I'd spent the entire ride with it curled around either the throttle or the brake, and when I got off the bike I noticed that I couldn't straighten it out without severe pain. As I sat and ate a pastry I tried to stretch it out some, and by the time I got back on the bike I had a little bit more movement from it, but it still wasn't doing great.
The road out of Medellin was, as most Colombian roads had been for me so far, curvy and with great views. But as the day went on, I descended down into some plains which meant hot weather. I sweated it out for a bit, but finally the road headed back up into the mountains as I approached Santa Rosa.
I pulled into Santa Rosa around 3:30 and found a room at Coffee Town Hostel, and talked to the owner a bit about what Santa Rosa had to offer - the primary attraction being the hot springs. He suggested catching the 4:00 bus, so I scrambled to get the bike unpacked and get some things together to head over. The finger was, if anything, worse than before, but I didn't want to miss out on the gorgeous views of the hot springs.
|I missed the bus, but someone pointed out a jeep going that way so I ran to catch up with it and hopped on while it was moving..|
|It reminded me of the streams in Palenque - I wonder if it's a similar kind of sediment?|
|There they are in the back, pouring down the hill.|
|They make a good backdrop to the thermal pools.|
My finger slowly got worse as I was there as well. I continued trying to stretch it out while keeping it out of the water as much as possible, but the increased bloodflow from being in the pools wasn't helping the swelling one bit. I finally decided I'd had enough, and after a shower and change of clothes I headed back down the hill to wait for the jeep with a beer in hand.
When I got back into town, I wandered around the main square a bit instead of going straight to the hostel. I ended up getting coffee at a little cart, and after inquiring on where to get the best chorizo in the city, made my way to a restaurant to get some of the famed "Santarosina chorizo" that I'd seen signs for the last few miles before coming into town. It was pretty good as far as chorizo goes, though I can't say it blew my mind or anything.
|I spent quite a bit of time just talking with the woman who made the coffee while I sat and drank it.|
|The cat decided he was one of the attractions of the city that you needed to check out.|
But by 11:00, through some combination of coffee and exercising the finger, it was almost back to normal - well, at least as normal as it had been the day before when I was riding. Since checkout was noon, I packed up my things and checked out, and headed onward to Salento - with plans of staying one night, but those plans only lasted a very, very brief period after I arrived.