Monday, 30 January 2017

Zona Cafetera

With my usual impeccable timing, by the time I got to the coffee growing area in the foothills of the Andes, the  harvest was finished so not much to see except lots of little green bushes. Oh well, the area is very picturesque, I did a two day hike up through the rolling hills up into the cloud forest and into a national park; stayed overnight in a little wood cabin surrounded by hummingbirds and some weird animal that I'd never seen before.
Up through rolling farmland

across Indiana Jones bridge

Into cloud forest

Butterflies loved my rucksack 

King of hummingbirds

Never seen a black & white one before

No idea what this is

Stayed a couple of days in Salento, a town that was having a (6 day) festival to celebrate coffee harvest; the WWII Willys jeep is very popular here as a workhorse for transporting sacks of coffee, they even had a a procession using kid-sized jeeps to celebrate their popularity.

Still in use

Kiddie-sized jeep

Moved on to Santa Rosa to visit the hot springs - stayed in a lovely old hotel reminiscent of a Swiss chalet up in the mountains; cascading waterfalls, a hot spring falling into a man-made pool where I spent a couple of days relaxing.

Thats steam not mist

Hot spring

Cold water fall

lovely old hotel interior

Drove on down towards Cali, the salsa capital of Colombia (that's the dance, not the hot sauce ;) - yeah, a young lady I attempted to dance with at the fiesta in Salento was not impressed with my 'Dad' dancing and suggested I go to Cali to take dance lessons. Stopped off at a town called Buga that has a famous Basilica where pilgrims come from all over Colombia to get healed of illness - not sure if it works, but there was a lovely old colonial hotel across the road with a swimming pool and jacuzzi where I scored an executive suite overlooking the pool for such a ridiculously cheap price that I just had to stay there!
Basilica with virgin in front

Spent many hours in this lovely swimming pool

So hectic here!
To be honest the countryside is so pretty and the people so friendly that I've got sort of bogged-down here, slowed right down to Colombian pace of life.