Traditional Antioquia

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 13, 2006

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Leaving Medellin again I took a bus up into the mountains to a village at the heart of Antioquia - Jerico. Here I found a great hotel - The Rio Piedras (stone river) - and bagged a room with a great view of the main plaza and the overlooking mountains. The village has 16 churches and no shortage of old houses either so it is a delight to walk up, down and around the narrow streets. Lots of the locals still wear the traditional clothing and hats and there are usually more horses and cows around the centre than cars. There is a mix of modern and old though - you occasionally see horses tied up outside the local internet cafe!! The people are really friendly and I was soon 'kidnapped' by a group of local students who wanted to show me around. We walked up to the 'Cristo Rey' overlooking the village for some great views and they also pointed out a waterfall and shrine in the mountains above, the local 'piscina' (swimming pool) and neighbouring stadium for football matches. It was also a holiday weekend with everyone having the Monday off so the partying had begun and the plaza was full of people. The local campesinos were having a parade through the town and this was great fun with lots of highly decorated cars, horses and children! Lots of singing and dancing with a mix of costumes both funny and traditional. I met a really nice Italian man, Georgio, who owns a coffee finca outside the village and was invited to have lunch with his Colombian girlfriend and her (huge) family. This was great fun and my Spanish was put to the test as no-one else spoke English - a few hours and more than a few beers later we were all still chatting merrily! On the Monday Georgio took me in his jeep out to his coffee finca and showed me around. It is in a beautiful location overlooking the village and as well as coffee he has cows, sheep, fruit trees, forest, streams and much more on his land. It is a beautiful place and I really enjoyed the visit, despite being attacked at one point by some angry ants who objected to my presence. It was lovely to find such an unspoilt village and I think it has jumped to the top of my list of favourite places in Colombia!!
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