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Published: December 8th 2011
Since being in Colombia, we had been slightly disappointed in the coffee that had been on offer so far. We assumed as Colombia produces so much of the stuff, and having tried it back home, it would be in abundance here. Unfortunately it wasn’t, and therefore we decided a trip to Manizales coffee district would be just the ticket.
The 5 hour bus journey there was fairly rough due to the twists and turns of the mountain roads, but was balanced out a little due to some of the funny randomness of the trip. This included the funniest DVD we had seen in a while. The DVD wasn’t supposed to be funny, but had Donna and I literally laughing out loud to it. The film was basically a collection of Colombian Singers from the 70’s and 80’s where the haircuts, clothes and singing, just seemed to get worst the longer the DVD went on….needless to say, it kept us entertained for quite a while! Other strange things on the bus that day were the freaky looking large pictures of the Pope and a Priest looking directly at us throughout the journey which was giving me the willies, as well as
the ticket inspector of the bus desperately trying to flog me his watch, to which, I politely declined.
Once arriving at the hostel it was apparent straight away that we would have to call upon our broken Spanish again, as the three people running the place didn’t speak a word of English, and therefore made the afternoon quite amusing trying to work out what was going on for the most part. We seemed to get there in the end though, and all had a good chuckle in the process! That evening, we decided to hit the Cinema as it was only round the corner, and we hadn’t done this since being away. Unfortunately there was nothing on at the time we got there, and so we decided to improvise. We bought a large popcorn and a couple of drinks, and asked if we could take them away with us to the bemusement of the girls serving us. They looked at us then at each other, and then after probably deciding we were bonkers, proceeded to make the drinks and scoop the popcorn into a bucket. Walking back to the Hostel with a bucket of Popcorn and 2 large drinks
did raise a few eyebrows from the locals, but this was nothing new, and frankly, we didn’t care. We were bringing the Cinema to our room, and spent the night watching a film on the laptop with the luxury of proper Salted Popcorn and large Cokes…. Genius!
The next day, we had booked ourselves into a Coffee Finca for the night, and were looking forward to getting a decent cup of coffee and a tour of the Coffee farm. After a hectic 20 minutes hanging out the back of a jeep to get there, we arrived safely and were straight into our first cup, which by the way was Heaven! This was followed by a history of the Finca and the coffee production itself by the local guide, as well as getting to pick the best beans from a large batch in order to roast, and eventually drink later in the day. It was here we found out why the coffee in Colombia wasn’t up to scratch, as it was explained to us that of all the coffee that Colombia produces, they only get to keep 1% of the good stuff! Therefore the coffee that is served in Colombia
is called Tinto, and is made from the imperfect beans that didn’t make it to the good batch that is bound for export. It all started to make sense! After this, we got on the wellies, and were taken on a tour of the Finca with our guide. The place was vast, and the views were fantastic due to the position high up in the hills with beautiful surroundings. All this plus the local knowledge of our guide made the tour well worth the trip here. Part of the tour, included a visit to the owners house which was a huge and gorgeous one story home overlooking the mountains, fields and river which was stunning, and as close to postcard perfect as you’re likely to see.
Once the tour had ended, the rest of the time here was our own to spend as we pleased. For us, this meant hanging out in hammocks; chilling and reading whilst watching the local hummingbirds drink from the water bottle above us. All this in perfect quiet surroundings with all the fresh coffee we could drink…Bliss! The evening was spent hanging out and drinking a few beers and swapping tales with one of
the guys we had shared the tour with. A great end to a great day.
It was difficult to leave the place come morning as we finished breakfast and sipped the last of our free espresso’s, but time wasn’t our friend, and we needed to head back to Medellin to meet with friends we had met back in El Salvador, before finally getting our flight out of Colombia. This wasn’t something we were looking forward to as after 5 weeks here we had really embraced everything this amazing country had to offer, and really love this place with a passion. We could have spent another few weeks here, although in all honestly, that could just as easily be amended to months, as there is still so much to see and do. It is easy to see why so many people we have spoken to have got “stuck” here, and just don’t want to leave, and therefore sacrificing other countries to stay. For us however, this just isn’t an option, as we want to see what else South America has to offer and we are looking forward to discovering it. So as much as we love the place, it’s time
to say goodbye and move on. For anyone reading this thinking of coming to Colombia but are maybe unsure as to the safety of the place, I would urge you to throw out you’re perceptions of what you think you know about Colombia, and spend some time here. As the tourist slogan of Colombia reads ‘’the only danger in Colombia, is wanting to stay’’. A statement, we can both agree is valid and accurate.
Goodbye Colombia, Hello Ecuador!
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