This is a heart warming report from the last E-zine. In many ways it sounds like one of the best places to Visit.
"I write to tell you that my latest sojourn is coming to an end as Cecilia and I head to the house of a new biker friend that has offered to store my bike here in Bogotá. This is the completion of a 14,000 KM journey, the 15th odyssey I have made on this bike and I am proud to tell you that it is still in stellar condition.
After crossing this wonderful country for the 12th time, four times on motorbike, I would highly agree with just about every other traveller and writer and say that Colombia has to be one of the most misunderstood countries in the world, that it is so much more that just drugs, terrorism and violence. It is one of the most diverse Countries in the world, the only country in South America where the Cordillera actually split into three, offering the most spectacular scenery and roads. And with two rainy seasons it has the greenest topography of any country that I have ever seen. The people are some of the most hospitable in the world and if you had the chance to read about the largest sociological study ever made about which countries have the happiest people, you would have read that Colombia took first place! A far cry from the common perception that the average person has of this country.
Like every other person that gets bombarded with all the bad press about Colombia, I too was weary and made a commitment to stick to certain rules: travel early in the day, stick to the main roads, and constantly ask questions about the particular area we were crossing at the time. The difference for me was that I learned much from all my other experiences in Colombia and knew that while certain risks exist, they can be avoided with a little common sense. I guess if I had listened to every travel advisory that the USA ever issued I would have a fraction of the experiences that I enjoy today.
The President of Colombia seems to have made a firm commitment to send the guerillas back to the jungle and this was made clear by the highest military presence I’ve yet seen anywhere in Latin America. From the Border of Ecuador to Cali, along the Pan American Highway, foot soldiers were placed at close intervals, all with sophisticated weaponry and a very serious composure. I even noticed snipers hanging from trees. For a person not familiar with this kind of environment, it appears intimidating, or at the very least surreal. But for us, it was the extra bit of confidence we needed to have a secure ride.
In short, I would say that this ride was everything I was hoping to find when I returned to this wonderful Continent: hospitable happy people, great scenery, spectacular bike adventures and the pleasure to meet so many other biker friends after years of email contact. After a five week stay in the house of Latin America’s Biker Ambassador Ricardo Rocco, it was more than inspirational to know that so many of us could come together and bond with different ideas and share freely all in the name of biker travel camaraderie. All the best my friend, Daniel".