Coffee Region

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Flag of Colombia  , Quindio Department,
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To get to Salento, we had to pass through Armenia. This was a bustling little city and a gateway to the coffee region. Salento itself was so picturesque and definitely a recommendation of ours. The hostel we stayed at was situated in the midst of a coffee plantation. Night one, we grabbed really nice food in a local restaurant and then just strolled around the town. Even midweek, the town was packed with tourists and locals. There was a real Spanish vibe about the shops and
streets. Day 2, we got a tour of the coffee plantation around our hostel. This was excellent and lasted 2 and a half hours. We learnt how to grow, maintain and harvest coffee plants. Coffee is huge for Colombians as it is one of their biggest exports (previously cocaine). The guide owned the plantation and as a result, he was really enthusiastic and informative. After the tour, we literally jumped on the back of a jeep for 30 minutes with about 8 other people (Eoin was standing over the car reg, hanging on for dear life) and headed to Cocora. From here, we hiked to the most amazing viewpoint where we were surrounded by hummingbirds. We could see mountains and valleys covered in huge palm trees. The day was really enjoyable. That night, we checked out a local bar that promised beer, heavy weights and gun powder! Out the back of the bar is a yard where you can play the Colombian game of Tejo. Basically you stand anything up to 30 meters away from a small, inclined bank filled with clay. In the middle of the bank there is a metal ring with two little sacks of gun powder placed against it. You are given a metal weight which you have to throw at the bank with the hope of hitting the gunpowder and the ring. If you are successful, there will be a loud bang from the gun powder. This game mixed with beer made it a very enjoyable night. After this, we got the last local bus to Armenia. 
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