A great stop in Salento

Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
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Trip End Apr 20, 2013


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Flag of Colombia  , Quindio Department,
Thursday, November 22, 2012

We spent five days in the beautiful, hillside town of Salento, which was located just below 2000metres. We were surrounded by lush, green hills in all directions and it was a cool, fresh but sunny climate.  The hostel was 2km out of town, managed by an Aussie, and was a really peaceful, beautiful place to hangout area.  When the sky was clear, we could see mountains all around and even Tolima volcano, which towers in at over 5200 metres.  It was beautiful to sit outside in the morning sun, having breakfast, looking up at a snow covered volcano peeking out behind the mountains. 

As you can imagine, the vibe of the area was generally rest, relax and enjoy the vistas; which of course we easily managed to do.  I still felt under the weather for the first couple of days, hence the extended stay, but it was a great place to recuperate.  The hostel also provided a family style, everyone around a big table and all tuck in type dinner each night, which was really tasty and also encouraged everyone to chat and swap travel stories.

We decided to walk down to a coffee plantation with a few of the other travellers on the third day.  It was a really small, family owned operation compared to the tour we did the other day.  It was interesting to see the differences involved with the small scale production, without the washing/drying/sorting machines and it was a beautiful hour walk to the farm, which we both thoroughly enjoyed.  The travellers that we did the tour with all bought coffee beans to take home with them, but neither of us fancied carrying anymore weight on our bikes than we already have, so we left the gift buying to them.

We spent our fourth day walking in the Valley de Coroca, which was the main tourist attraction in the area.  There were a few other people doing the walk but it wasn't too busy.  The walk took us along the valley floor, to a small house, which was surrounded by hummingbirds of all colours and sizes.  Then it climbed up 500m to what should have been a beautiful viewpoint but the clouds were just at that height.  Thankfully as soon as we continued along the path slightly we were low enough to see the valley sweeping out below us.  There were also palm trees all around us that were over 100meters tall.  They stood like spindly ladders up to the sky and were really interesting to see, because I don’t think I have seen anything similar to it in other places.  We had been considering leaving today, without doing the walk, but I’m really pleased that we did, as the walk was really enjoyable and the views were magnificent.

After doing the walk we were both ready to head off.  The stay in Salento had been great; it was beautiful and relaxing; in the evenings after eating a huge western flavoured meal, we could relax in front of the tv and watch a movie from their large collection, whilst eating their homemade chocolate brownies.  However, that was not what we came to Colombia to do, we wanted to experience the real Colombia and be forced to interact with locals in Spanish, rather than chat to the foreign staff in English.  We wanted to explore!  So, after a long four day stay we are heading off tomorrow towards Cali and Popayan, before reaching Ecuador.

Well that was the plan, but during the night I woke up to discover I was covered in a rash from head to toe.  Touching my arms was like trying to read braille and my legs were huge, with a swollen, red mass of spots.  I woke Kory up to show him and was almost driven crazy with the itching.  As it was 3am there wasn’t much we could do but try to go back to sleep and not scratch.  When we woke at 6am the rash was completely gone and I thought I was just going crazy.  So, we continued with our plan to get the bikes ready and to leave, but within half an hour I was pickled again.  This time it didn’t look quite so bad but I couldn’t sit still with the itchiness.   One of the cooks at the hostel took one look at my legs and said it was from pollen in the valley that we had walked the previous day and that I needed an injection or else it would progressively get worse.  We headed straight into town to the pharmacy that she had directed us to.  The pharmacy guy said that he thought it was something that I had eaten as I was covered; it was in my hair and everywhere.  Either way, he said I needed an injection of Dexamethasone.  After watching him prepare it with complete sterility I agreed and prayed that it would help me, along with some anti-histamine tablets.  Thankfully within an hour the itchiness had reduced and by the afternoon I was completely rash free.  I have no idea what caused the rash and hope it isn’t a food allergy that will plague me for the rest of the trip.  It is quite the mystery as it did not affect any of the others who I walked along with in the valley and who ate exactly the same as I did all day.            
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Comments

Grandma on

Too bad about the rash you got Gemma!!!! Was glad that the shot cured it though. I got that one time when we were in B.C. We were coming home with a trlr. full of cherries, and I was allergic to them. No fun is it???

Julianne on

The long spindly palm trees are fascinating. Enjoying the blog. x

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