Published: June 20th 2011June 18th 2011
People always say that time is money, so when we were choosing a bus company with which to travel, we chose the one that would get us there in 4 hours instead of 5. It seemed logical....but sometimes you have to ask yourself how can one get from point A to point B so much faster by taking the same highway. Well, let me enlighten you....like I was enligthened on Friday when we took a mini bus (more like a large van) from Medellin to Manizales. The route is a two way highway with no division that winds through the mountains, so in order to pass, one has to go into the oncoming traffic lane, which is exactly what my driver did every time there was a car in front of him. This is how he was able to save so much time, he also used tailgating tactics and speeding:) This being said, he might very well be the best driver I have ever driven with, to be able to maneuver through all those twists and turns and pass in the oncoming traffic lane without having the bus fall off the cliff or the bus be squashed by a truck is
impressive, but I was still extremely relieved when I arrived in Manizales in one piece!
The next morning we woke up fairly early to have breakfast at our hostel, before the manager of a Coffee Finca (Hacienda Venecia) came to pick us up to take us on a tour of his estate. It soon became one of my favourite parts of my travel thus far. I learned so much about coffee; it has over 1000 arromas (more than wine which only has a couple hundred), there are 2 main varieties of coffee bean (Arabica and Robusta), it can only be grown in the tropics like cocoa, sugarcane etc., it originated in Ethiopia etc. Furthermore, apart from tasting great coffee and a classroom session, we got to walk through the plantation and see the entire process from the nursery to when it is bagged for export. The estate itself is very green, and full of beautiful flowers, butterflies and birds.
I took a lot away from the Finca, and from now on I will try to put less milk and sugar in my coffee....this is frowned upon. Also, I will try and buy beans and grind them as required,
as this slows oxidation. I will also keep my coffee in the fridge as this helps to preserve it....
After all this learning we headed back to Manizales and walked around the city center and bought our tickets for Bogota, as tonight we are taking a 10 hour night bus.
There are more photos below