The 'Finca Trails' - Salento Stop

Trip Start Dec 10, 2011
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Trip End Sep 29, 2012


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Where I stayed
La Serrana
What I did
Valle de Cocora

Flag of Colombia  , Quindío,
Monday, March 19, 2012

Hope you are not eating your breakfast reading this, as I started this journey from Medellin to Salento on a quite bumpy start and was sick into a plastic bag at the back of the bus for a few hours after a self-inflicted hangover of 'Medellin rum' the night before that was free for ladies, when something is free you take more so I drank a lot and danced the night away, it was my last night in Medellin after all.

Big mistake as rum hangovers and winding roads on a long bus journey really do not mix I discovered. I have not in fact drunk any rum since. I travel with Matt a British guy who I met in the hostal in Medellin and we stop at a service station to break the journey. I feel quite dizzy and weak, and watch Matt eat a large plate of fried chicken, just looking at it made me feel naseous! When we carried on the bus I was sick even more, oh god I thought let it stop please. We got dropped by the bus at literally the side of the road outside of Pereira in the coffee triangle region, and were only just in time to connect with our next bus from the main terminal to Salento at 5pm. When we arrived it was there was a large busy market in the main plaza, we were up in the clouds again and it was colder due to the altitude people wearing raincoats and warm jumpers. I asked around how to take a taxi to our hostal and a man helped us call another local guy to pick up us in his moto-taxi. In the spanglish confusion I thought he meant we were going on a back of a motorbike and was relieved to see this egg shape tuk-tuk style bike instead. Although was it any safer on a very wet muddy dirt track? No. We slided along a few times, just like you do when a car hits black ice.

La Serrana the hostal we stayed is in a beautiful location a little out of town, about 1.5km, set high up into the mountains and in the clouds, simply stunning views. I ate my first meal of the day, homous, salad and meatball and chatted to guys I knew from the last hostal Black Sheep in Medellin.

The next day I visited a coffee plantation on the Finca (farm) called Sacha Mama. It was a big walk to get there and took about 1.5 hours each way, in parts traversing carefully down a steep hill and then crossing rivers in a couple of points. We were met by Mar, the wife at the farm and we arrived to our first coffee of the day sitting over their garden and beautiful view of their finca from their balcony.  We had a interesting tour of his farm from Pedro showing us the type of plants, animals and lots of birds including I saw my first Toucan today. I had heard them before but they are crafty birds staying far up high at the top of the trees waiting to swoop down so till now I had not see one so close as I did here, unfortunately my photo is just a shadow of it but clearly showing the large beak that Toucans have. We picked coffee beans, grinded them in his 100 year old machine and he talked about the whole coffee making process. He spoke in Spanish, I was translating where I could for Matt. Wow I would not have been able to do that a couple of months ago, it was still Spanglish though but I had several hours of listening carefully and learning new words too.

We then visited his smaller house where he roasts the coffee beans we picked and we then also tried this coffee, woah was it strong for me, I absolutely detest coffee so for me to try this was a big deal and I made that kind of face when you drink an alcoholic drink and it's too strong. I am in Colombia, and they say when in Rome... I had to try this coffee.

On my second day in Salento, I took a jeep from the main plaza to Valle de Cocora after having a nice breakfast that was included in the price of the hostal with a freshly cooked scone from Nadine from Australia. Weather was wet this day and it was muddy on the ground. As we drove off Corbin from Canada sat next to me in the jeep and we shared travel stories since we last met when we got off the night bus from Cartagena in Medellin, the traveller world is a small one, believe me. On the way there the view is amazing, green rolling hills and we can see palm trees tall in the sky with a light mist over them. We started our walk here about 10am and returned around 3pm, a full day of about 12km distance, good practice for me for the Inca Trail later on in my trip, except this one was affectionately named the 'Finca Trail' as we headed up to a farm for a bowl of chocolate before getting to where we really wanted to get to to see the valley of palm trees. We were lucky the misty clouds passing through did so at the opportune moment so we could see the wonderful view. As we left for the day the rain started again and heavy, I had to put my hood up on my jacket from the rain spashing into the back of the open jeep back to town. However I had it lucky as the woman riding the step on the back was soaked when she got off for break holiding on for dear life.
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