At Buga we changed buses to Armenia and in Armenia we changed again for a bus to Salento after grabbing a cheese and ham sandwich for lunch. We arrived into Salento at around 4pm in the pouring rain and walked to the hostel Plantation House. Unfortunately, we were told that they had no room, but we could try their finca (coffee farmhouse) 10mins down a dirt track. On the way to the hostel we had picked up a chap from Switzerland and they thought we were all together. We decided to take a look at the finca, so dropped our bags at the hostel and walked so far, but the track got really muddy and quite steep, so we headed back to collect our bags and try somewhere else. Before leaving we asked if they had a double for tomorrow night and they said, oh we have one today if you like (the Swiss gentleman had disappeared off to try to find another hostel, so they realised we were not together)
! So we booked in and then headed to the laundry on the way into town to buy some supplies at the supermarket. Also on the way we checked out another hostel/hotel and the room they had available for tomorrow night was much nicer and included a cable TV (only one cable channel in Spanish!) and breakfast with "toast"! So we reserved the room and then picked up our supplies and went back to the hostel to cook dinner. Whilst cooking our tuna carbonara for dinner, we got chatting to a family who are from France but have lived in Brighton most of their lives. The son was making a chorizo sausage casserole but on the hob which smelled lovely, so we got the recipe from him and decided to make it for tomorrow night. After our lovely dinner we went back to our room and settled in with a movie (Bourne Ultimatum) and then off to bed.
Woke up to the sound of rain again and had a bit of a lie in till 9.30am and then had breakfast. Before checking out of our room we did a bit of surfing and emails and then walked down to the other hostel we'd booked yesterday. The room was ready so we dumped our bags and then walked up to the top of the two lookout points. The walk up was via 200 steps with 14 stones depicting the journey of Jesus being sentenced to death and being nailed to the cross and at the top was a plain looking cross
. There was also a nice view of the town and surrounding trees with a playground on top. There was also some hippies (Glyn you know what I mean) trying to sell their jewelery! We got chatting to an Australian about movies whilst swinging on the swings and then walked the narrow path to the lookout of the amazing Cocora valley. This is coffee country and the landscape is beautiful with a distinct aroma of coffee in the air. We then walked back to the main plaza and to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for our chorizo sausage casserole that we would have tonight. We then dropped the shopping off in the room and headed to a cafe for lunch and then went for a walk to Boquia. Boquia is a village at the bottom of a windy hill which has the river running through and has some lovely views on the way down. We decided to catch the bus back to town and went back to the hostel to have a rest in our room for an hour or so. At around 6pm we cooked our dinner, (which was very nice) and after we headed up to Plantation House to find out what time the coffee farm tour would be tomorrow. Needing some dessert we hunted for an ice cream parlour and settled for an ice cream from a local shop as the ice cream parlour was shut. Back at the hostel we showered and then settled in for a relaxing evening.
Got up at 8am and had a nice breakfast of scrambled egg on toast, (not had toast in months) and then walked up to Plantation House to check on the times of the coffee farm tour
. Lucky we did, as it was at 10 and not the 2pm that we were told yesterday. As we had an hour to wait we used the internet when it was free and had a look round Plantation House 2. At 10 we headed off down the very muddy track and stopped at the top of the neighbours farm where it was pointed out a traditional arabica coffee plant. We then walked down to finca Don Edwardo's (or to us Tim Edward - Tim wasn't spanish sounding enough so they used his middle name) which was beautifully set on a hillside with the river flowing at the bottom. At the farm, Tim showed us the process from picking, planting and shipping which was quite interesting considering that the end product looked the same as the beginning because that was what you started with, a coffee seed. He invited us to pick a coffee cherry and pop out the seed and suck it, and it was strangely sweet as it had a slimy sweet outer shell. We then tried some coffee but for me it's still too bitter and I'll stick with tea thanks very much! After having a look at the pineapples and bananas (mainly grown for shade for the coffee plants), we had a look at the bamboo growing rapidly at the bottom and then headed back up to the main house and back up the muddy lane to the hostel. We then checked our emails again and looked up some hostels in Bogota where we'd be heading tomorrow. For lunch we went back to the panadaria that we went to yesterday and had the same hawian pastry and a few cookies for afters. After lunch we decided to walk down into the valley from the lookout but after getting quite muddy only after 10mins we decided to walk back up and try the road route
. We only got so far down the road and it looked like it went on for miles, so we enjoyed the view that we had and then walked back to the main plaza to get some bits for dinner. After dinner, we decided that as this was our last evening in Salento we should try out their local game, Tejo. This consists of throwing a heavy metal disc at a wooden box filled with clay and in the centre contains a metal ring with gunpowder paper packets (mechas) on it. You gained points if your disc is the nearest to the centre, if you get a bullseye or if you explode a mecha. It was a slow night and the only people there, were an English couple, Anna & Richard. We joined in with them and had a great time trying to create a bang. Cat was the first to create a massive bang, which made her jump. Soon afterwards, everyone was getting noisy! We then went back to our room and finish off the film (Beowulf) we started last night.
11th Apr. cont.