Salento

I stopped by in Medellin again for a few days to break up the trip from Cartagena to Cali. It’s a great city and I was so glad to be back in the land of hot showers, reasonable temperatures and free from mosquitoes! I managed to squeeze in seeing Luisa, Alberto and Norida again. I had an amazing white chocolate fondue, saw a couple of prospective venues for Alberto’s new tattoo shop as well as finally… I went to Gautapé with Norida and a couple of friends. Definitely worth it, and despite having to wake up early I motored up the steps of the peñol stone which is huge… and we were rewarded with an awesome view. I also treated myself to a michelada with mango biche.

Norida kindly waved me off at the terminal and I had long day travelling then got to salento at last with a two hour bus delay and snuck into bed as quietly as possible in the hostel, estrellas sin fronteras which was run by a really nice French guy.

Oats and yoghurt for a basic breakfast then spoke briefly to a Dutch guy, Tony, who was heading with a French girl to do the main hike here in the valley of corocora. He invited me to tag along with them so we headed out together to the plaza and made our way to the starting point hanging out the back of a jeep. Some great scenery on the hike as well as a few dubious bridges and we saw the famous wax palm trees which I was told are the tallest in the world here and that’s believable given how they grow significantly higher than the rest of the surrounding canopy. Near the top of the mountain we took a break to visit the house of hummingbirds and observe these cute creatures for a while and get some lunch in before heading back. My knees were a bit sore so I headed back the way we came and forewent the rest of the loop… really should get these looked at as they haven’t been right since peru…! We got a solid amount of table tennis in and went out for a nice dinner altogether with a couple more people in the hostel. I had a quesadilla and a peanut butter brownie milkshake. It was amazing! I ate half and had the other half of both for lunch the next day!

The next day Tony and I headed to the ocaso coffee farm and did a cool tour there overlooking some beautiful landscapes and ending with the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. We made our way back to the plaza for lunch but this time using a Jeep as my knees were failing again. Such an old man. We played a load more table tennis and chilled for the rest of the afternoon before heading out for dinner.

I mentioned that I really wanted to play some Tejo at some point and later that night as if by magic an American guy came up to us and said he was going to play some with a Belgian girl also in the hostal if anyone wanted to join, so I went with them. He was a curious fellow who “didn’t believe in names”. I wasn’t sure if he was for real with this, but for the purpose of practicality opted to give him the name of Alejandro, which stuck for the night. Anyways, the game was good fun and Alejandro managed to find another group of girls outside bolstering our numbers to the recommended eight (two teams of four). The game is essentially lobbing rocks at a bed of clay with a horseshoe in the middle and you get points for blowing up little sachets of gunpowder or landing your rock in the middle of the horseshoe.

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