. Aside from having brightly colored buildings of yellow, red, green, blue, orange (it`s a common Colombian weekend getaway) and a beautiful central plaza to go with, Salento is just a quick jeep ride and hike away from the Valle de Cocora, home of the wax palm, Colombia´s national tree and the tallest palm tree in the world.
Owing to my good luck, it rained and poured my entire stay. Rain loves me. It made for some muddy walking in and around the Cocora Valley and, for better or worse the visibility was not too great but the sight of hundreds of waxed palms shooting straight up from the valley floor only to disappear into the blanket of fog moving down the hillsides, settling in the valley floor was a unique and spectacular sight. The distant view may have not been the greatest at the time but I am accustomed to Firs, Pines and Juniper trees so it was a setting unlike anything I`ve seen before. Wet, foggy or lack there of, Valle de Cocora is incredible. That and the wet and dreary setting made for A LOT of good hot coffee drinking!
note - fire flies in the area. My First experience.
Leaving appropriately dubbed 'Surgi-Cali` behind and ready to experience some more of the beautiful and `non-enhanced` Colombian countryside, my next stop on the road north was the small town of Salento nestled in the beautiful Quindio providence of Colombia, the heart of Colombian coffee production. As it turns out, like most countries which specialize in coffee production or whatever other type of commodity, the best quality coffee beans from Colombia are exported to other countries around the world leaving the second rate beans back home so that coffee addicts in every Starbucks cafe around the world can read about the latest politician caught having a infidelity scandal while enjoying a blueberry strudel and sipping excellent top quality coffee. Regardless of the domestic coffee quality or the huge coffee bean exports from Colombia, I still managed to get my hands on some excellent tasting beans and in the end, Salento turned out to be the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the verdant coffee plantations filling up the hillsides as well as a nice respite from the rigors of travel and tough, tough life without work