Took a 9hr bus to Salento - well that took up all our day! We had some food in the square in the evening - I sampled the traditional trout dish whilst Chris stuck to a strict chicken, rice (and beer) diet. Salento is so pretty and friendly! We loved it already and immediately booked an extra night in the hostel.
The thing that everyone does in Salento is hike through the Cocora valley to marvel at the huge palm trees that seem to come out of nowhere, so we set off early with plenty of others and caught the ‘Willys’ (jeeps) from the town square which took us to the start of the route. We had been warned to set off early for less chance of rain, and we did our best but still got caught out halfway through whilst in the ‘cloud jungle’ (more like rain cloud jungle!). We finally got to the Palm trees after 5 hours, they were a bit misty, which made them all the more mysterious! We opted to go off piste through the trees which led to some awesome photos. Tired and sodden we got the Willys home, showered and went for a well earned beer and lunch.
Then we went to play ‘Tejo’, an excellent game consisting of throwing rocks at gunpowder to make explosions whilst drinking beer. Ended the day with dinner and a few games of pool in a local pool house. A very good day.
The other thing everyone does in Salento is visit the coffee plantations. During the walk to the plantation we seemed to adopt a stray dog, who would run ahead, look behind to wait for us and make sure we were still following, then run head again. This continued for the whole hour walk and we made the mistake of naming him (Alfie), became increasingly fond of him and panicked every time a car came past, and by the time we got to the plantation we were considering how to arrange for a doggy passport so he could continue leading us right around the world... But then the coffee plantation owner chased him away with a bamboo stick, so that was the end of that. This was a small (3 hectare) plantation which only makes a small amount of coffee to sell locally and to tourists who visit, we learned everything from the planting of the coffee trees through to the roasting. We are now connoisseurs and total coffee snobs.
Following a nice hike back to Salento we stopped off for some American brunch - a big fat burger and some ribs. Lovely.