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September 24th 2006
Published: October 5th 2006
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22nd september- 24th september

Driving into Salento on that very early morning bus (am really getting used to sleeping on those overnight buses!), was definitely an eye opening bus ride- couldn´t help but keep my eyes opened and glued to the amazing scenery along the way- lush green majestic mountains with the sun rising ever so slowly to reveal the full splendour of the land.

I stayed in a hostel called ¨The Plantation Hostel¨, crashed immediately, and woke to explore the town. Its a small town, centered around The main plaza. People greet you kindly and are polite in a way that you would rarely experience in large towns. Hiking up the viewpoint, you can appreciate the small size of the town that, which despite its beauty, has not expanded into a city like these places often do.

I met Neil and Schwin at the hostel, and together we explored the nearby Coffee Plantation. when i mean explored, we went to a coffee theme park! well so it was labelled. a fusion of coffee for the adults, and rides to keep the kids entertained. There were rides at one end like a roller-coaster, go-karts
coffee, coffee..everywhere coffee!coffee, coffee..everywhere coffee!coffee, coffee..everywhere coffee!

i have never seen a larger collection of coffee from all around the world!
etc....however there was obviously no attempt to reinforce the theme! i saw no coffee bean carriages, or coffee cup seats!!! We walked through the plantation, exploring the different coffee beans. we were educated about the coffee processes, from harvesting right through to when it reaches your coffee cup! We treated ourselves to some Juan Vladez- the most international renowned coffee maker in Columbia!

Another day was spent exploring ¨Valle de Cocoa¨, what i really came to Salento for. The region is famous for its Palm trees. They are around 30 metres high, and are spread throughout the Valley. I somehow always thought that Palm trees are only found near the sea! This place is one of the few places in the world that you can find these Palms, and it is said to be the best place in the world to actually see them! Admittedly, we were sent on the longest possible route to get there. walking up and down many mountains, we lost some of the group along the way due to fatigue, but the 3 of us that persisted were treated to an amazing view of the Valley filled with these palms! wow!

The town really comes alive on the weekends, where mainly columbians come to visit the town ,and enjoy the fetivities, which are often centred around the main plaza. kids playing and running around, teenagers playing volleyball, and at night, people are dancing in the makeshift outdoor restaurants whilst the beats of salsa echo throughtout the plaza...

missed out on seeing it on its busiest night- Sunday- even bigger than friday and saturday! and rushed to get on the inevitably long and painstaking journey to Quito!

Additional photos below
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valley of palmsvalley of palms
valley of palms

with schwinn- a guy from taiwan. asians travelling is rare in south america! this guy has been here for 2 years!

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