Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Journey Through Colombian Paradise

During my childhood in the states, summertime was my favorite time of the year. School was on a three-month hiatus. Sweet corn season was in full bloom. The county fair highlighted the middle of the summer docket. Family trips to the ballpark were a consistent source of enjoyment. Warm days and long nights were soaked in by all.

Here in Peace Corps Colombia, the term "summertime" has taken on a bit of a different meaning. In this land of "eternal summer", where the temperature nevers seems to dip below 80 and the sun scorches the earth for days on end, that summer feeling is constant. Even the school year refuses to take a three month break, instead settling for a three week break from the middle of June to the beginning of July. It was during this recent break that I took my latest trip into the interior of Colombia.

My fellow volunteer, Jordan, and I took advantage of this free time and spent five glorious days in the coffee triangle region of Colombia. This area, made up of land between the cities of Pereira, Manizales, and Armenia, is home to the production of some of the world's best coffee. The weather, scenery, and people made this a trip that I would do over again and again. Instead of rambling on for paragraphs upon paragraphs about our trip, here are some photographic highlights to show off the region!

A panoramic view of the landscape outside of our hostel
 
Yes, I know these are just cows, but after living on the coast and seeing emaciated livestock every day, it was a refreshing sight to see healthy, robust farm animals again!

Jordan and I enjoying one of the many rivers in the region
 
One of the many bridges we had to traverse during our hike in the Valle de Cocora


Hummingbirds at the Hummingbird House - it was quite a feat to get this photo!

The iconic wax palm tres that dot the valley - these trees grow to be as tall as 230 feet tall!

I felt pretty small standing next to this guy!

Buried under that delicious cheese sauce is some of the best trout I have ever had!

Beautiful views of the town of Salento where we stayed

Ready to embark on a tour of a traditional coffee farm!

Jordan practicing her coffee pod picking skills

Definitely not gonna quit my day job!

My first "tinto" (pure black coffee) here in Colombia - still not a fan and won't be converting anytime son...
I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the rest of my service here in Colombia (which is quickly coming to an end!)