Called the Coffee Triangle, the countryside from Pereira airpordt to our drop dead gorgeous Hacienda BuenaVista, is full of fincas(farms), bamboo forests, plantations of pineapple, banana and avocado,fruits and flowers of all colors hugging the windy road. We imagine everything we see are coffee bushes but it’s not true.
We learn most of the coffee operations are small and family owned. Farmers join a collective to operate, distribute and sell. Santiago, our coffee owner, runs his family farm with his sister and they will travel to Portland soon for coffee testing/competition and contacts. The business is many-layered and Santiago is a young man with a vision.
From the infinity pool and terrace, the river valley spreads below us in silent, vulnerable beauty beneath mountains often covered in morning mist. Late in the day we take a drink on our balcony while we scan for bird life. We are rewarded with flashes of fluorescent scarlet and brilliant yellow. We walk out the front door to a nearby path with binocs in hand.
We visit the famous wax palms and have lunch of river trout with the locals. Again, more lush green and bougainvillea and who knows the names of all these blossoms? Or birds? Rob S., where are you when I need you?
Colombia is huge so it takes another plane and car to deliver us to an ecolodge retreat on the ocean. Our drivers is lost, it is very hot and we slap at mosquitoes as we check in. Two dogs greet us affectionately but Dan is allergic so we are careful. The ocean pounds away as we find fisherman hauling in a catch and the sun sets on an idyllic curve of Robinsoe Crusoe beach beneath a range of mighty mountains.
No one speaks English or so it seems since the 8 other guests only smile and nod at us. We play cards as we sip mojitos, then drink table wine with really fresh fish. The starry night rivals Sedona. We enjoy our private, al fresco shower often especially after yoga and tubing the river. We have the guide and river ( which ends at ocean’s edge) to ourselves, a great privilege.
Colombian tourism is growing rapidly and we certainly hope for a new Santa Marta airport for all concerned. It is rainy when we are greeted in Medellin and arrive at a lovely part of town, high in the hills. We get a good work out daily as we wander and explore. Booming and coming into its own after too much violence, there is construction everywhere and it is noisy near us, too bad. High rise buildings own the skyline even as a creek runs almost outside our door, next to chic cafes with a Latin beat.
We learn a little about the bus and metro as we navigate to the University and Botanic Gardens. Tomorrow we will draw and paint at home and at a gallery around the corner (after Paula’s pedicure). Just another day in Medellin.
PS Later for Cartegna and Bogota…running too long!