Hola! It’s been a busy few days traveling around the coffee region with limited access to Wi-Fi, which has been both a curse and a blessing. I'm currently in Cali, but I was hanging out in Salento for a few days. It's a spectacularly beautiful town located in the coffee region. It was supposed to take 4 hours from Medellin, but it ended up taking 7 (ahh Colombian time!)
But anyway, the town was absolutely beautiful. It’s green and hilly and just breathtaking. I’ve was staying at an eco-farm/hostel called La Serrena, which was highlyyyyy recommended to me by a few different people I’ve met on my trip. It lived up to it's hype—the location is a little outside of the main square, but it’s perfectly situated between of all the hills and the food is amazinggggg.. everything is grown right on their premise and fresh and delicious. Luckily, I’ve been able to balance out all the eating with some hikes in Cocora Valley, which has the most amazing trees I’ve ever seen in my life, some biking/getting lost around the area, and tejo, a traditional Colombian game that involves explosions and gunpowder. I’ve also been chugging coffee like no one’s business, but when in Rome (or I guess Salento)… right?
The Cocora Valley is absolutely amazing. To get there, you have to go to the town’s center and drive about 40 minutes for less than $1 (3500COP). The trees are unlike anything I’ve seen in my life. They look like humongous , skinny palm trees right in the middle of the mountain.. kind of like some skinny, lanky men I know with a good head of hair.. hehe. But seriously, it looked like Jurassic Park. I was expecting to run into a roaming dinosaur somewhere in the park. Anywhose, I ended up hiking with a Dutch girl who also quit her job and is solo traveling around Colombia. We had the most perfect weather & took a million of photos.... It was good I ended up wih a partner because otherwise I would have been taking selfless all day and there was no way my big head AND the big trees were going to fit in one frame. And since it was her last night in Salento, we decided to play tejo along with some other chicas we met in the jeep.
SO TEJO WAS SO HARD. Here's the (Wikipedia) explanation of the game, but mainly you throw a big metal disc (tejo) at a target that has gunpowder packets and the objective is to get the packets to blow up & if you're really lucky... catch on fire.
ANYWAY, out of the six girls, none of us could actually hit the target and make the shit blow up... which was obviously the reason why we wanted to play (along with the cultural aspect, blah blah blah.) You’re supposed to throw it underhand but but he end of the night, we were hurling the stones at the target. One of the guy’s at the bar finally came out and dropped the gunpowder packet , which was followed by a loud boom and a huge cheer from our group.
The next day I decided to visit a Don Eduadro's coffee farm in the area. He's actually not Colombian, as you would probably infer from his name, but instead, he's a heavyset, rosy cheeked British man who had a witty sense of humor and an undeniable passion for coffee. He explained how coffee is made and we were even able to watch them wash the beans, remove the skin, roast them, grind them, and finally, drink it (which was obviously the most important part.)
It was still pretty early when the tour finished, so I decided to go bike riding. I found a shop that would let me rent a bike and got lost for a few hours… literally, lost. When I asked the lady at the shop where to go, she drew me a map and told me that it was an EASY LOOP. Both were lies. It was neither easy, nor a loop. I got all the way down to the river, biked back up to another town, and when I asked how to get back to Salento, they pointed back down to the river and at the path that I had just ridden. This meant I had to go back up, which meant I ended up pushing my bike and complaining and cursing at myself, wishing I had actually tried harder during spin and actually turn the knob during class to add resistance instead of faking. UGH. But whatever, I made it to the top, and had a celebratory glass of wineeeeeee.
And now i'm in Cali--it was quite an adventure to get here, but I'll fill ya in next time :)