America Latina by bike….. el Caribe to Santiago

This is the second part of a trip I started a couple of years ago when I flew to Santiago and biked from Villarica  (about 1000km south) to Ushuaia. That was my first cycle touring mission but I immediately took to it. The scenery was amazing, the encounters with the people sublime and what a great way to travel. After having traversed the southern tip of the Andes it was only naturally that I now ‘needed’ to traverse the rest of the Andes, to complete the trip….a plan was made.

At the end of April I flew to Cartagena on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. It’s a beautiful well preserved Colonial town, an architectural gem. It was founded in 1533 and grew to the most important port in the ‘New World’. The core of the city was built on an island and completely walled in for defense purposes. This very thick impressive wall one can stroll along on top today. The city itself has spread onto the mainland and has over a million inhabitants today and makes for a busy place. It’s nice just to stroll through the streets and hang out on the plazas of the old town, drink cafe and take in the atmosphere. I stayed for a few days, just enough to get over the culture shock and the jet lag. I did a trip out to Playa Blanca for some beach time and than headed south east to a small town called Mompox, a Unesco World heritage Site on the eastern arm of the Rio Magdalena. Founded in 1540, Mompox is now one of Colombia’s most beautiful colonial towns. Rows of well preserved white one story buildings have served as a backdrop in many Colombian films.


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I decided to start my trip here in Mompox, and not in  Cartagena as there was too much traffic and it seemed too hot and too far away from the mountains. I now am a couple of hundred kilometers closer to the hills, but Mompox lies 15m below sea level and therefore is hotter than Cartagena! I also just realized that now is the start of the rainy season and most rain falls in May and June. I finally decided on my route and will head east to El Banco tomorrow, a 85km dirt road ride to start me off….I guess there is no easy way!! At least it will be a flat ride and hopefully it wont rain over night, nor tomorrow?!

And here she is mi MARIPOSA…..out of the box and ready to go!!!

Mi Mariposa


Time has been getting away on me….AGAIN! The exhibition went well and produced some good sales and lots of interest in follow ups. Once the exhibition was over I concentrated on my next project which was a trip to Bali for a Hoop Dance workshop. A friend sold me a Hulla Hoop a while ago and I was immediately intrigued. Dance and yoga is as much part of me as art and architecture, and what a great way to combine the two. Also it wasn’t as easy as I remembered from when I was a little girl, but luckily the size and weight of a beginner Hoop has increased quite a lot since and therefore I was soon able to spin it round the waist and bring it up to the chest….all looking a bit uncoordinated to start of!

I found quite a few tutorials on you tube which helped me to get going and than came across a web site which offered a Hoop Dance retreat in Bali: Sacred Circularities. I didn’t have to think twice and signed up…..and I managed to get a free flight through my air points collected for many years! I love how that works:) It was ment to BE! I had the best time! We first went to the Gili Islands for some tropical beach time, than rented a couple of scooters to explore the south coast of Lombok Island and than we headed to Ubud, Bali for a week of movement meditation and Hoop Dance. It was love on first sight…..with my hoop. The retreat accommodation and surroundings were absolutely stunning, the teachers sublime, the teachings fantastic and the group super enthusiastic, which all lead to an amazing energy being created. What a pleasure, how fun and what a great experience to have….I feel blessed!

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                                            Why Hooping?

Hoop dance workshop

‘We use the hoop to create spin; a circular force in the universe and in our lives, that produces energy. With the power of our hearts, we channel that energy into pure joy and creativity. The channeling process is fueled less by the mind and more by the heart. Indeed, hooping is part of an alchemical recipe that alters and transforms our bodies, minds, and spirits toward positive projection/expression whether we are mentally aware of it or not. All we have to do is commit to the practice. Get in the Hoop. Step on the Mat. Open your heart. Stillness. Movement. Breath. This is one of the ways that hula hooping relates to other mind-body-spirit practices like yoga, ecstatic dance, and tai-chi. When you feel this force, and it begins to work on you, the impossible becomes possible.’ Excerpt from the Sacred Circularities Newsletter 12.20.11

And I finally got a dance partner……my HOOP!

And the Hoop will also come onto my next trip…..America Latina by bike! Well…. I’m already there, in Cartagena, Colombia. I will catch up in a few days. Hasta pronto!