Where are we?

Wax Palm Trees - Colombia's National Tree

Saturday Nov 2nd

We got up early since we were parked next to the highway and traffic starts early! Seems like the traffic is back to normal, so maybe whatever was slowing it down yesterday has cleared up :)  Had a quick breakfast, and see the guy that owns the property and give him a few pesos for "squatting" on his land and head out.
My first Colombian Squirrel :) 
Doesnt take long before we realize why the traffic was backed up - one lane closure due to road construction! We are lucky this morning because we don't have to wait, so we zoom along except the road is SO rough not able to do much zoom zoom!!







Guys hanging by ropes putting anchors into the rock to hold the netting

The road is one lane for miles at a time, then when it is 2 lanes, that's where the lineups begin
At one long stop Dwayne has to take a pee break and while he's in the bathroom the traffic starts to move so I jump in the driver's seat YEAH!!! The traffic only goes ahead a few feet then stops. But I have my seatbelt on and when Dwayne comes out I tell him it's my turn to drive, he can look at the scenery. He didnt seem too excited!! Oh well 😉



Eventually the traffic gets going and I finally get to drive!  We are heading to a park outside of the town of Manizales. It's only an 1.5 hrs away and since we got an early start we have lots of time. The park sounds nice, has a butterfly enclosure, hiking trails, flowers and a cable car ride.  We get to a turnoff to the town and I follow maps.me directions. After awhile it goes in circles and tells me to do a uturn.  I eventually pull over to a gas station (Dwayne is not a navigator!) so I can see where I should go. It seems to turn up ahead into the town and I figure should follow it. Well that was dumb because maps.me started to go around in circles again!! I eventually have to give up the driver's seat and go back to the navigator seat to figure out how to get us out of here. After many turns and feeling lost we start getting directions from the locals as we park and I wait for the stupid app to let me figure out a route out! At that point a big truck pulls over and comes to help us out. I try to explain we want to get to Hwy 50 - he starts to point and tell us where to turn - then he decides to just show us the way. He gets in his truck and we follow him to the highway. Great people here in Colombia - have I said that before?? LOL!! We get close to the highway and he pulls over to tell us to go right. I offer them 10,000 gracias por tu ayuda y empanadas ( for your help and empanadas) No No! Mucho gusto!! (my pleasure!)  We wave and off we go. We decide to forget the park after driving around in that narrow little town! We'll head on further south.

We stop at a new little rest stop/cafe place called Tambo. They have free wifi and  you can overnight no problem. We are just outside another large city - Pereira and really dont want to drive through on a Saturday afternoon. So we decide to park and stay at Tambo until tomorrow.  Great spot over looking the city. We go for coffee and I finish up my last blog. This place gets really busy, lots of people coming up for coffee and a view. While we are up here it starts to rain with lightning and thunder! This goes on for a couple of hours, the rain only for awhile but lightning and thunder continues. During a break I head back to Vanna - Dwayne has been in there reading. Time to get supper ready.

It's really raining down in the next city!

I'm able to get a shot of the lightning that is constantly going on with loud thunder!
Tomorrow we plan on seeing the Wax Palms which should be interesting.


Sunday Nov 3

We only have about 1.5 hr drive to Salento and the wax palms. But as we get started within 30 minutes we come to a crawl and eventually stop. We find out that there is a bicycle race going on and we cant continue until it's finished. We get closer to the front only because cars are turning around and going back. When we get close to the front we find out that we have another hour to wait.  So we read and wait. We are parked just before a toll both so as it gets closer to the race being finished, girls come out and start collecting the toll from everyone - guess to quicken the time spent at the booth. As it turns out when we do get to the booth we give up the piece of paper we were given and in return we get an actual receipt. And off we go again.

Yes quite the mess once traffic is opened again. People parked on the opposite side to let others out to turn around and go back.
We arrive in the town of Salento around 1pm and its pretty busy with tourists! So we just head our of town to where we will stay for the night and hike up to see the wax palms. The road to the campsite is windy and narrow.  Always have to slow down when we meet oncoming traffic. They always like to hug the yellow line!! We find a spot to park in Las Palmas Restaurant and Camping. There are lots of tents setup, I guess for the weekend. They should probably be leaving later today. But I find out later that tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos  Day of the dead.  So it's a long weekend for the Colombians. And there are lots visiting this area. Hiking and going by horseback to get closer to the wax palms.

Where we are parked we can see the wax palms.  This is the only area that they grow in. Guess temperature and altitude (7200ft) is what they like. We are now in the cloud forest. But we are lucky today because it is not that cloudy and looks like no rain. So we change into our hiking shoes and start to head out. It's now 2pm so we are going to do the 5km loop. There is a rise of 700 ft in 2km so I think that's enough for this gal 😉. We pay our 4000COP each entrance fee and start walking. This palms grow up to 200ft. Not the nicest looking tree but interesting. The wax on the trunk was used to make candles back before electricity. The palms were also used for Palm Sunday during Semana Santa - which came from the young trees and therefore few trees got to be full grown. Now they are protected, since only found in a small area of Colombia in the Andes and are Colombia's national tree. When the berries ripen they are a beautiful red color. Similar to the ones we have at our house in Honduras. Hope those 2 trees dont grow to 200ft!!!

The hike up is pretty slow going for me. Dwayne is always ahead and then gets to rest while I have to keep pluggin' along! We get to the top and have a beautiful view of the valley. We rest awhile and then head back down. The trail we follow down is also used by horses so have to watch out for both horse and poop!! Not hard to miss that cuz it's pretty stinky!!


Couldn't get a shot without somebody in the pic! And Dwayne didn't want to run up there to be in the pic so we could have our turn ;) 



Dwayne standing at the base of the palm 



Down below is the start of the path. The little white spots are people 😃

I was running down the hill and caught this tree to stop! LOL!!




Some pretty plants along the way








One of MANY stables that rent out the horses


Got Dwayne a job delivering coffee 😂

When we get down to the bottom it's taken us 1.5 hrs to walk the loop!! Yikes, I'm pretty slow at high altitudes.  We have our ice cream and head back to Vanna. I lay down because my back is really sore and Dwayne goes to check out the Slingshot ride!  The guy is harnessed in and attached by a rope that is attached to a Suzuki. The Suzuki takes off and just at the right moment lets the rope go and the guy shoots out over the valley and boy do those guys scream like little girls!!!  So funny!! Probably a lot of fun. But not for us LOL!!!



Suzuki attached waiting for next sucker to get slingshot out!!

And there he is getting into the harness!

I think I slept off and on for almost 2 hrs! I was pretty wiped. Dwayne makes us toasted egg sandwiches for supper. Prefect!! Then we start watching a series that I downloaded from Paul's movie collection. It's called Killing Eve and Tanya says its really good. We end up watching 2 episodes and decided we better get to bed. Since it's a long weekend the locals are still having fun outside around the campfire. And since I'm pretty tired it doesn't take long for me to fall asleep.

Monday Nov 4

Didnt even get up until 7:30. Pretty quite around here. But the tourists are starting to arrive. So we pack up and head into Salento to check out the village.


Here come the tourists by the Willy full!!

Nice restaurant along the road


Got to watch not to go over to the right to much otherwise it will rip the side out of Vanna!!

Very beautiful up here
We get into the village find a parking spot - 1000COP and hour on the street. Head to the main street and check out the stores. We see there is a walk up to the top with stairs. So that will be our exercise for the day LOL!! As it turns out there are 250 steps to get to the top 😅

We have a nice view of the town and valley. Lots of vendors up at the top selling food/jewelry. I find a guy selling ear cuffs! I've been looking for a replacement for my lost one for a year and here I find it on the top of the hill in Salento!!!  Bought it for 25,000cop $10C.  Then we walk back down, stop for a Cold Irish Coffee - different! Wouldn't have it again, but always have to try it once. Then walk along the streets and towards the main central square. Which is busy with fruit stands, bbq corn stands and restaurants set up for the day. Lots of little cars for kids to have a trip around the square in - operatored by the vendor.  After an hour we are ready to hit the road again. Of course getting out of town is no simple task!! We look one direction and the hill is so steep we can't see the bottom! And afraid to go that way incase we have to try and come back up because the road doesn't go out of town! The other direction takes us towards the square but I can get us around it.  The streets go up and down, Dwayne is more worried about loosing the plumbing on these roads - not a good thing to happen!!! 😱

We finally get out with the plumbing intact and we're still talking! LOL!!! From here we are going to Buga to a lake outside of town. Again I'm out of wifi so stopped at another Tambo along the way to do my blog. Drove thru the city of Armenia and off course the Cláro store was closed :(  Guess we'll find one tomorrow in Buga to recharge my wifi.




Its only 10:15 but think these guys are already into the cervezas!!


There are the stairs

View from the top

Going back down

This poor bassett hound had to go up all those stairs!!


My new ear cuff - isn't it cute?!?! He's hangin' on tight! 

Lots of bright colours in this town to

Iced Irish Coffe 


The old Willy's are used for everything

Finally tried some - 😝 Pretty tough stuff!!





Wanna buy a pot plant??? 


2 comments:

  1. We loved the little town of Salento. We stayed in a little farm/hostel a couple of kilometres away and walked into town several times. That area is so beautiful. I think we stayed about 5 days or so there. Glad that you were able to get up to see the wax palms.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a cute place, still liked Guatepé more :) This was a very busy place on holiday Monday and there are sooooo many souvenir stores!

      Delete

Thanks for leaving your comments :)