Trip Start Jan 01, 2001
Trip End Dec 28, 2010

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Set off to route further south this morning. We were on a main road so in general the roads were very good, that said we came across some 20 instances where there had been landslides. We do not know if these where recent or old, although a couple were obviously recent as people were digging them clear. Some of the landslides consisted of stuff landing on the road and others consisted of the road falling into the valley. A bit alarming to say the least. The road went up and down as we were going through the mountains again; the highest we reached was 3,300 m above sea level. Eventually we reached the Valle de Cauca, a huge valley which is devoted mainly to growing sugar cane. The whole area seemed to be very pretty, the houses in general looked quite adequate and all still had the festive decorations up. It seems here that they burn a guy for the New Year; we did not see any burning but saw the remains of lots. We eventually arrived at the town of Amaime, the home of a couple of ancient haciendas that we want to see. Unfortunately the main one was closed today and so we had to find somewhere else to stay. We managed to find a parquedaro (N W on the edge of the town where we could stay for a couple of nights.
2nd- Went back this morning to the first hacienda Piedechinche, this is also the home of a sugar cane museum. The first sugar was grown by the Spanish and the first mill was built in 1565 and they still have it in the museum. The museum consisted of a self guided walk through the landscaped gardens of the hacienda, worth it on its own, through 21 different positions. Each of these shows a different type of sugar press or factory method for extracting the sugar. Although all the information was in Spanish it was fairly easy to follow except for the main museum building which went into great detail about the production and so was impossible to follow. The last exhibits showed the aqueduct and water mill used to crush the cane in the 19th century, the steam driven mill which followed and finally the colonial house with attached factory for processing the sugar. The house was built about 1835 and today you are not actually allowed inside but can see the furnished interiors through the doors and windows. The house itself is surrounded by 2 channels of water, about 8" wide, which provides extra cooling and is still effective today. We tried some sugar cane juice which tasted OK even if I needed lemon juice in mine. After lunch we drove to the next Hacienda, this one was more of a disappointment because it was built in 1926 so not really old. It is most famous because one of their main authors wrote a book about one of the girls who lived there. This house you could go around and it showed the rooms of the various people in the book. It was a nice building and the views over the valley were quite amazing. Here again it had a large garden, although this time mainly roses. From here it's back to the night stop again
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