Coffee Heaven and Palm Trees

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Monday, July 13, 2009

Another great thing about Colombia is the coffee, after experiencing the worst coffee throughout all South America, it was time to feed my habit again and check out the coffee region that makes us all coffee junkies around the world.

Another nightmare bus journey, dropped us in a town 3 hours before the one we had asked for, the bus driver just dropped our bags on the street and ran... lucky man because he may not have been able to run too much more if we had caught up with him... finally after travelling for 20 kmph for 4 hours more we arrived at our destination Salento in the heart of the coffee region.
Salento coffee valley

Salento was definitely one of the highlights of Colombia, small chilled back town, everbody sitting in their rocking chairs, playing billiards and drinking the local spirit aguadiente (as cheap as water here). Really nice hostel where the owner just left at 7 at night and nice kitchen where we spent most of our time cooking with the other French and Swiss guests.

Then we ventured to a coffee farm, lovely walk down the valley for an hour and half until we arrived at Finca Don Elises, 75 year old man waiting to give us a tour, nicest man ever, showed us his eco garden which consisted of everything from banana trees and green banana trees, green bananas are served with all food here (deep fried of course) and the other bananas are just for eating normally, palm trees, yuca trees and of course coffee plants. This was one of the most interesting tours we have done so far, definitely appreciate the effort that goes into coffee now, then at the end got to taste the beans we had just grinded, amazing.
Stephen picking coffee beansDrying coffee beansGrinding coffee beans

Time for some hiking again, took a trip to the Cocora valley and to check out the national symbol, the wax palm trees, these trees were the tallest trees we have ever seen, another beautiful walk up a river valley and crossing some treacherous bridges and then a trip back to town holding onto dear life to a back of a jeep, not for the faint hearted. When we got back to town there was people everywhere riding on horseback wearing t shirts with picture of young guy on them and drinking copious amounts of alcohol, we thought it was a stag party until one of the locals explained that the 26 year old guy was shot in the head while sleeping last week, some way to celebrate a funeral....i guess Colombia is still Colombia in some ways..
Wax palm treesCocora valleyCocora

Then off to Pereira, one of the main cities in the coffee region, not much to do but played more pool and drank some more cheap beers.

We definitely will have some cherished memories of the coffee regions, good place to chill out with the locals for a while.... now it was time to check out the Carribean coast...

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