After our one-month stay in Germany, due to the sale of our house, we are again on the road with Shujaa. Germany was stressful and intensive, as we know it from our previous life, but of course also due to the specific situation: clearing out the house, organizing storage, relocation, hand-over of the house etc. But now we have reduced our complexity in Germany, which is also a value per se, even if it was very difficult for us emotionally to sell our beloved house in Herrsching am Ammersee after 15 years. Despite the tightly timed program, there was time to meet up with good friends (we were no longer used to so much social interaction after 8 months travelling more or less alone) and so we have the good feeling to have a good home base back in Germany even without owning a house.
In addition, we had the opportunity to discuss our overland travel experiences at a very interesting event for German family entrepreneurs on the topic of “I’m away”. Our panel discussion right at the start of the event on the specific topic “You have to do it, when you want it” fits in very well, especially because family entrepreneurs are having a hard time leaving their business behind. We had a lot of fun at the event, which also provided a good framework to combine our new life with our old, professional experience. In addition, we met some old acquaintances again, the world is small.
We found Shujaa safely on our long-term parking spot near Bogota and were very happy to be able to continue our self-determined travel life again. Unfortunately, one of our two inverters did not start when we switched on the power again – it already had problems shortly before our departure and the new communication cable, brought from Germany, and a software update did not lead to the desired success. Since the two inverters are installed “in series” we had to remove the defective inverter from the circuit and reprogram the new to the “master” setup in a nightly Whats-App conference with Peter – the boss of our cabine builder company “Discover Mobil”. After a lot of back and forth, we did this as a non-technicians, we had again a 220 volt power supply for our kitchen appliances, etc. – however with only half the capacity. After more than 48 hours on the legs we fell completely exhausted to bed. We’ve seen that redundancy of critical equipment and expert and timely technical support are extremely important in cases like ours.
After a day of recovery from these initial strains, we started off to North Colombia. After a few kilometers, our MAN, who has run so far without any problems, has its say. The error message “Engine control malfunction” does not sound too promising… The MAN, however, continues driving without problems, despite the red exclamation mark and “stop” note in the dashboard. Consultations with our MAN experts at home show that this is likely due to the poor fuel quality. A liter of oil in our diesel tank for better lubrication of the injectors fixes the problem immediately …. A quite pragmatic approach. Again, we are glad to have built up a network of very experienced and accessible experts. In addition, they have become friends for us. Thank you!
After these challenges and a bulk purchase of food, we finally go to Barichara, a small, very beautiful colonial village about 300 km north of Bogota, where we also hike a bit on the Camino Real trail. Again, the driving in the mountains is annoying: there is almost no flat and curve-free stretch of road even on the main road from Bogota to the north of the country. The traffic is extremely dense, the Colombians are masters in wild overtaking maneuvers, even with semitrailers in curves. The heavy traffic is extremely slow. Accordingly, we are happy when we finally arrive in the swampy lowlands at Mompos – another picturesque colonial town – leaving the endless curves behind us. However, the visiting program in extreme humidity and with temperatures around 40 degrees is a true challenge. We are curious if this will change on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. What a prelude to the second part of our trip to South America!