The following post may lead to unplanned expenses in the form of a trip to Colombia. UMMaventura is not responsible of it. Everyone reads at their own risk 🙂
With UMM reborn and pumped up we took on the next Colombian roads. Nothing scare us anymore!
From Bogota we went east, in the direction of, what else, a volcano! Nevado del Ruiz, protagonist of one of the most tragic disasters in the 20th century. We made our way up almost alone. No one on the road. Of course, the ride took us more time than we thought and we had to set camp at 4,000 m above sea level. We have to mention that it was one of the coldest nights of our trip. The blankets, from Diane, were not enough to warm us up, but at least we did not freeze. In the morning, at sunrise, we could admire Nevado del Ruiz in all its glory, including the glacier at the very top. It was even possible to photograph steam being released before the clouds cover it for the rest of the day. While braking camp we had a trip of students from nearby Manizales.
Still sticking to the decision to use free roads, we passed one of the most beautiful roads so far. We made camp in the spruce grove. We lighted a fire, the first one in months, grilled some sausages and a couple of paprika. But it was not easy. Around, plenty of wood but all damp so you can imagine the clouds of smoke that we generated! But apart from us, nobody seemed to be around.
We decide to take a break from the cold weather and made our way to Tatacoa desert. Phew how hot! However, it did not please us 🙂 We stayed one day and one night. Besides the heat tiny flies were attempting to eat us alive. Black flies from Canada came to our memory. How do cows endure it all is beyond our comprehension. We are full of compassion for the grazing cows in this area. Seriously.
What is Colombia famous for, besides Pablo Escobar? Who knows? Coffee of course! It is the third exporter in the world (after Brazil and Vietnam). We cannot leave without visiting the coffee region. We went to San Agustin to learn something about coffee. We met Olivia in Coffee Mujer for a tour. We’re up at 8 am and went to the plantation. We got acquainted with the coffee tree, picking up ripe berries and listen to Hector’s and Jose Edwardo lesson about growing coffee. It turned out that the coffee tree is a tree and not a bush, but for the convenience of harvesting it’s not allowed to grow. This family produces organic coffee, using the traditional method. On the patio the hostess presents us with the methods of peeling the fruit grain – once on a stone, then in something like a meat grinder. I will add that the fruit pulp is sweet. Then, the grains, are submerged in water to get rid of the remains of the fruit pulp and to separate does that are to be discarded. Only the grains that do not float are good enough to produce high quality coffee. Grains will stay in water for a period of twelve to forty eight hours. The floating grains are not without value. Coffee companies will buy it, very cheap, blending it with other grains. After dried comes the husking. Sérgio took the job very seriously, after all we would buy the end product. Once we have obtained the pure seeds, we can start to roast, stirring constantly. And then, after cooling, you just have to pack them. We took part in the whole process and packed it ourselves. After returning back home, we invite you all for coffee! A small one, just to get the taste of it.
Everything that is good ends quickly. Before we cross the border with Ecuador, we visited the Las Lajas Sanctuary, which is one of the most visited places in South America. It’s something worthwhile seeing especially after dark.
After more than a month, we said goodbye to Colombia. This country is one of our favourites. We felt at home here, and Colombians are one of the most welcoming people we have met so far. Not to mention the country’s natural beauty! And we did not saw everything. See you Colombia!!!