As I’m not and have never been a coffee drinker, I wondered what a coffee plantation would have to offer me. Well, after the Hacienda Venecia didn’t get our booking from the website, they bumped us up to their luxury accommodation from their backpackers. Picture us
lazing around the pool in this tropical paradise and you wouldn’t have realised that we were on a budget. We looked the part within minutes. This place had everything for us; freshly picked and roasted coffee for Thomas and fruit off the trees for me. We even had a cat to cuddle. Due to the huge variety of flora in the manicured gardens, we had a viewpoint for bird and butterfly watching. Just when we were starting to feel thirsty we would be brought a freshly squeezed juice from the ‘housekeeper’. Photos of
the four generations of owners were placed on the walls of the antique furnished room. It was extremely romantic.
A well spoken young man gave us a plantation tour and gave us an insight to the current political situation in Colombia. Not only did we learn about the main aromas and essences of coffee but also about how to stay out of trouble in Colombia too.
Our next stop was Salento, a beautiful mountain village. Our room was in a small house away from the main hostel and we shared it with two other couples. We had a great
kitchen and a fireplace which got well utilised. The view down into the various valleys was magnificent. We took a horse ride that took us down into a valley to a freezing cold waterfall. Thomas felt sorry for the horse and walked up the mountain giving his horse a lucky break. Well, he’s a big guy – with a big heart. I enjoyed the ride up hill and found the horse I was on quite quick.
Nearly everyone staying at the hostel opted for a hike in
a nearby valley the next day. The hike took us up to a high altitude where a humming bird sanctuary was situated. It was quite a demanding walk that took us over some rickety bridges over rocky streams. This
valley was home to Colombia’s national tree, the wax palm. These palms stood majestically throughout the valley in clear fields of grass that only accentuated their height.
When we reached the sanctuary we were treated to the national culinary treat of hot chocolate with a piece of cheese sitting in the bottom of it. It was warmly received. Once again, we were treated to some of the most amazing scenes filled with birds and butterflies.
Next, we went of to Manizales where we organised a tour into the nearby national park; Los Nervados. The description of volcanoes and five different landscapes lured us to high altitudes. The road was rough and we had breakfast in a local farmer’s house after a three hour slow drive. Then we headed off on our five hour hike up to a glacier at the top of one of the smaller volcanoes.
The landscape was completely different to anything we’d ever seen before. With the air getting thinner, we had to pace ourselves. Some had to turn back. It was a fantastic feeling getting to the top and standing on the glacier. Just after this, it began to rain and I thought my fingers were going to drop off.
The trip back to our hostel was torture after our long hike. The rain had seemed to have
washed a bit of the road away and it was rougher than before. Another couple in the four wheel drive both had a headache from the high altitude so we were feeling pretty lucky. Thomas did had a bit of a drunken feeling up towards the top of the mountain but I was fine. Just my normal hyperactive self.