After two brilliant weeks in two amazing cities, we were a bit exhausted of the hustle and bustle of city life. We were more than ready to take a break from the crazy taxis, never ending traffic, and exhaust fumes. Fortunately for us, we found the perfect remedy. We found paradise. We took a 3 hour bus ride to Jardín where we stayed at the most perfect Airbnb ever. Actually, it was just outside of Jardín as we were picked up by our host in a jeep (willy) and driven 20 minutes down a dirt road where our paradise was waiting. Our “finca” was a two-story cottage on a coffee plantation with the most amazing views I have ever seen. For as far as the eye can see are the rolling Andes mountains covered with the lush vegetation of coffee trees, banana trees, and flowers. I could have sat on that back porch forever. It was so refreshing with the clean air and pleasant sounds of nature. As we were sitting there thinking about how lucky we are and feeling as though we couldn’t be more relaxed, it began to rain. We then entered a state of catharsis as we listened to the peaceful rain drops land on the coffee plants beneath us. In doing so, it released the most beautiful aroma from the luscious plants all around. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Our caretakers, Gustavo and Martha, lived in a house straight down from us. They were extremely nice and helpful, and although we speak very little Spanish and they speak very little English, we got along great. Martha prepared all of our meals except for breakfast. It was a really unique experience walking down to their home for dinner and being welcomed in as family. We would play with her super cute little girl, Maria del Mar, and Martha would teach us Spanish. She prepared traditional Colombian dishes that were very tasty. All the dishes were organic and came straight from their garden or farm animals. With fried plantains served at most every meal, I was always happy. Martha also went with us on a horseback riding trip up the mountain to see a waterfall. We jumped on the back of a willy jeep that was piled in with about 15 Colombians to get to the horses – we felt just like locals! On the horse ride back down, we stopped at her friend’s house that just so happens to be a masseur. We were both treated to an hour of Reflexology. If you’ve never had this type of massage before, I recommend doing so – your feet will thank you. Reflexology coincides with a philosophy that your feet can tell a lot about your health and the type person you are. We learned that Hanna is a dreamer, and Lucas tries to carry the world on his shoulders. We walked back to Jardín (as the horses had left us) and Martha helped us with some errands around town. This was quite a relief as we were concerned with how we were going to get from Jardín to Cali. Before taking a tuk-tuk back home, we stopped by Martha’s son’s apartment and met his little boy and Martha’s mom. Sitting on the couch in the cramped house as motorcycles and townspeople went by on the street, we gained a true sense of how it would be to live there.
Our last day we decided to relax at our finca and only have a coffee tour in our backyard. It was a cool learning experience and would probably be even better if we knew more Spanish. We learned the stages the coffee berry goes through before the bean is ready to become coffee. I’ve always thought coffee was extremely overpriced, but after learning all the hard work it takes, I have changed my mind. Many coffee farms take the bean from any stage of development. However, most Colombian coffee farms pride themselves in waiting until the berry turns from green to red, right before it spoils. This is the stage the berry is ripe. Colombian coffee farms also still hand pick their berries – such a long and excruciating process! Perhaps these two factors are why Colombian coffee is so coveted.
The last night was bitter sweet sitting on our balcony as we watched the sun go down with a bottle of wine. We were extremely sad to leave this picturesque paradise, but excited for our next country, Ecuador.