On a hill that overlooks small garden patches and a large grazing pasture criss-crossed by barbwire, with dairy cows wading slowly through grass that carpets all within view, there are two small cottages well away from the main road. Connecting each building is a Spanish tile awning that keeps the walkway between kitchen and bedroom dry during the fits of rain that last no longer than a short afternoon nap. The first floor hammock and dining table, with wooden benches eight persons deep and a perennials centerpiece, are ideal for siestas and conversation, the timing of each weather dependent but guaranteed on even the cloudiest of days. The second story hammock, my bed, sways like an autumn leaf, the slightest breeze inflicting R.E.M. dreams.
The entire complex worships fresh air, which makes sense: the designers (and dog Rambo) traveled continents by bicycle, exposed to indiscriminate winds, nights a thousand shades of black, and stars that covered their tent, both above and below the equator, with a dome of brilliance that blended into the horizon. The wrap-around porch, the wooden windows that hinge open to the sky, the floor that bends sun streaks and plays shadow against light, the outdoor bike flags that are pinned to the rafters, with country patches proudly displayed like passport stamps, keep the German couple’s travel memories alive, their nomadic tendencies tuned like their bikes, even though they’ve now settled into a what most would call a utopian existence.
I spent five nights in this cozy utopia, doing mostly nothing, but loving it with the same satisfaction as a hard day on the bike. Even though the farm is many miles away from this computer, the descriptive images that come to mind seem very vivid even now.
Morning on the farm is a rustle of steel deadbolts and cookware; an electric lighter kissing blue flame. Waking is a slow, unhurried affair where even the dogs hold their yawns longer than necessary. Mid-morning is a tinto and muffled German. Noon is a lazy sun, incapable of cancerous burns. If the garden has been tended the chance of afternoon beer is high, Costeña of course, bien fria. Maybe yoga late-afternoon, maybe a book, perhaps nothing. Evening is playful dog wrestling, ambiance music one notch lower, more fresh-baked bread.
Igel and Paola, the German couple pictured above, invite long-distance cyclists into their home outside San Agustin, Colombia. If you are traveling South America by bike, their home—which will be your home—is worth a visit, even if it means tacking miles onto your trip. Those extra miles will be washed away with relaxation and, most likely, cold beers and warm conversation.
For more information click Casa de Ciclista