Monday, September 21, 2015

#travelpost - Salento and Cali... the coffee region and the world capital of salsa

After a full week in Medellin we moved down to the coffee region of Salento, famous for it's tall palms and coffee tours. We arrived late in the afternoon just before sunset... sunset is around 6pm which is super early and makes travelling difficult when you want to arrive in a new place in the daylight especially with long bus journeys... but we made it! 

A 20 minute walk down a dusty out of town path led us to our hostel for two nights, a big cosy house filled with arm chairs, two big dogs and empty wine bottles on the ceiling. The first night we just had a walk back into town torches at the ready and found a great little place with two courses for 6000 cops.. about £1.50. We finished it off with a beer on the steps in the main square and dog watched... yes dog watched! It was dogs galore... our favourite stray Fernando followed us for the 2km walk home... he was still there the night after, being pampered by the other groups! 

For our full day in Salento we had breakfast and took a jeep to Cocora valley. The plan was to take a 5 hour hike through the valley to a well deserved ending of endless palm trees and a good cup of coffee but the morning we left, me and Harry admitted to another two guys staying at our hostel that we weren't big hikers and they kindly told us their secret from the day before... if we avoided the main gate to the valley and went straight another 10 minutes then we'd come straight to the palms and miss an uphill battle through the forest... and that's what we did!! We gave the hike a try but after an hour we were bored and tired so headed back the way we came and grabbed that coffee. We finished our day trip with another coffee, a fancy one this time... chemex, v60, aeropress and french presses were all lined up as we carefully chose which we wanted. That night we stayed in, sent Jordan on a beer run down the dusty dark lane with a backpack and two torches celotaped to his hat and watched a super cheesy eighties thriller on the most old school of tvs. 

The next morning we had to catch a 6 hour bus to Cali but first me, Haz and Jordan did a little coffee tour with a few others from the hostel. We looked at the plants, the picking, the roasting and the tasting.. it was a cool little family run plantation with the nan in the kitchen cooking lunch as we were shown through the house and garden. It was a nice end to a laid back two days! 

So off we went to Cali, the world capital of salsa dancing and maybe not as glamorous, was the 4th most dangerous city in the works 5 years ago but we left our wits about us and started in a fairly safe and nice post of town. Back to the salsa, it naturally meant we had to finally take some classes... lucky for us our hostel offered free classes. We arrived late around half 7 which meant we missed the salsa so we went straight out for some well deserved pizza that I'd been craving for days!! That night me, Haz and Jordan aka Dj Deckchair had a few beers by the pool and people watched as everyone practiced their salsa. 

The next day I played it lazy and had a morning stroll around town before I soaked up the pros of booking a hostel with a pool... not forgetting our midday salsa class of which I immediately regretted but once the doors were shut there was no going back. At one point the wifi stopped which meant the teacher couldn't load his music and for a split second I kinda hoped he might have to cut it short haha but once we got going it was alright. That night after the boys had a walk round town and a siesta me and Haz hit the kitchen and had a much needed cooking session! We hit up happy hour and headed to a salsa bar with a few from the hostel... you could sit there all night and just watch people's feet!!

So that's it for Colombia!!

As I write this, me and Haz have enjoyed an afternoon in the white washed Popayan and are now cosy in our pjs waiting for a long bus ride tomorrow day down to the border town next to Ecuador and on Tuesday morning we'll cross over and head to the capital Quito to meet Joss and Jordan.

Wish us luck, ciao xx

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