Monday, 26 January 2009

Cali, Salento and Medellin

We travelled up to the north of Ecuador and spent a couple of days in Atacames, Ecuador`s very own Blackpool! Then we flew from Esmeraldas into Cali for our first taste of Colombia. Cali is a bustling city and is supposedly the plastic surgery capital of the world, and after strolling round the city for a while we think we can safely say this title is deserved! We visited Cali zoo which was quite good as far as zoos go although after seeing so many different animals in the wild in Galapagos it was a little tame!From Cali we travelled to the coffee region, or the Zona Cafetera, to a beautiful little town called Salento. The countryside is so green and lush, not unlike good old Britain, although the massive wax palm trees are a constant reminder we haven´t accidentally ended up in Wales! We stayed in a lovely hostel called The Plantation House owned by an English guy and his Colombian wife. It used to be a coffee finca and is set on the top of a hill at the side of town with incredible views (especially from the hammocks at the bottom of the garden!). He also recently bought a coffee farm down the lane that we visited which again is stunning. One of the benefits to staying in the hostals here is free great coffee available 24/7, although having consumed about a gallon between us on our first day and not getting a great deal of sleep we learned to moderate our intake! We took one of the local jeeps (that take the place of buses in this rural area!) out to the Valle de Cocora and did a lovely hike (if a little muddy!) up to a place called Acaime.There`s a simple little cafe set in the cloud forest and there are hundreds of different coloured hummingbirds constantly buzzing around.
On our final night the owner asked if we were going to head into town to play `Tejo´. He explained that it was like boule or petanque but things are made more interesting by the addition of little paper triangle targets that are filled with gunpowder! Hearing this we decided we needed to try it out, the added bonus being it´s free to play as long as you buy some beer! We walked down to the Tejo bar with a couple we´d met a few minutes previously (hello Siobhan and Anthony!) who were also filled with intrigue to find the owner only too willing to show us the ropes (and ply us with beer!). The game is great fun (even better when you modify it by adding a few more triangle targets to make bigger explosions!) and makes me think that the French really need to re-write the rules of petanque!
We then bussed it from Salento up to the once infamous city of Medellin where we stayed last night on our way up to the Caribbean coast (and a few weeks of lazing around in the sunshine!). From the little we´ve seen of Medellin it´s no longer the danger zone it once was and everyone we´ve met seems really welcoming and friendly. In fact Colombia as a whole has, so far, been so welcoming and great to travel round!

Keep on keeping in touch!

Lots of love,

Jo and Al x x


Anonymous said...

Hi Al & Jo,
still great fun to follow you on the blog. that petanque thing looks like explosive fun!

btw, we booked our vacation for 2009.
we have a flight at the end of october to ..... tedeeum ... Guatemala. Initial plan is to do honduras as well and get a diving certification there. But plans can still change ;)

hope we can meet again in the summer!

rb said...

Hiya, we're about to head to Salento and then Cartegena so it was great to read your blog and get some tips.

Richard and Kate

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