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18th March - 5th April 2015 - Salento, Cocora Valley - Colombia

  • This country really resonates with me, or other way around. I felt very safe and the whole atmosphere suited me. These people and these places are very much alive. People are very polite and friendly, sometimes even too much. You find here the most exotic bunch of people, like in Brazil: native inhabitants, Spanish descendants, Africans (originally brought to the country as slaves), and the last century's immigrants, especially from Europe. So far, in total these are the most interesting and inspiring countries for me in South America. Colombian beauty queens many times got into the best 15 at Miss Universe.
    Most of the time I was just wandering around the places, did not visit too many cultural sites, just enjoyed being there and was watching how they live. Colombia has a lot to offer: archaeological ruins, very well preserved colonial cities, the Amazon jungle, the Andes, cloudforest mountains, Pacific and Caribbean coast. Has a lot to offer for outdoor adventure-lovers too: diving, rock climbing, rafting, trekking and so on. Travelling is cheap and anywhere you go you, you can hear some lively music.
  • 18 March 2015 - Salento
    Salento lies in the heart of the country. A perfect place to get to know Colombian coffee as there are lots of family coffee farms around here. I went to see a small "finca" as I wanted to see the original method of coffee producing instead of some modern machines. The grandson of the owner showed me around the plantation, which meant a short walk through coffee, banana and plantain plants.
    Then he explained the steps of making the coffee we drink:
    1 planting the coffee seeds and wait min. 2 years to grow
    2. picking the beans by hand
    3. peeling the raw coffee cherries
    4. washing them
    5. drying the beans (takes 2-4 weeks to dry entirely)
    6. roasting the beans in a pan on the fire for about 45 min. and until the beans noticeably grow
    7. grinding it -the best part! you can smell the very strong and great aroma in the air
    8. now just relax and enjoy your cup of coffee
    Colombia ranks second (Brazil is the biggest) in yearly production of coffee and work very hard to maintain a high standard of excellence. 
  • Salento is a small colonial town with nicely renovated colorful houses with balconies, lots of handicraft shops and coffee shops, bars and a beautiful scenery around.
  • This was a truly long, and amazing day as I also went from Salento to the Cocora valley. Cool jeeps take you to the valley where the 4-5 hour long hiking begins. Here grows Colombia's national plant, the wax palm, up to 60 meters high. The landscape is amazing, all around the highest palms on the green hills and lots of happy cows and horses (all around in Colombia). I was just standing there for a good while, enjoyed this beauty, despite of the cloudy weather. How good it was to be there, on my 1st day in Colombia. Was definitely a good start! The track into the cloud forest led us up to the home of 18 species of hummingbirds. Again a view that you can watch for hours. These birds got so used to the visitors that they fly extremely close to you and their flapping of their wings sound really loud.  here were many swinging bridges over the stream, where even a street dog accompanied me.