Kathy and I spent the last 3 days in Armenia. We stayed at a nice hotel. While in Armenia we want to Parque Nacional del Café! It wad a beautiful park. The best part was the dance show, unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos 😔
We went out to dinner and had a few drinks as well. Armenia was nice, but I enjoyed Salento a lot more. There was more nature and more activities to do.
Kathy and I went to Coffee country from October 6-12, 2014. We spent 3 days in Salento at an amazing hostel called La Serrana. They had amazing dinners and an awesome atmosphere.
We spent an entire day hiking the Valle de Cocora. What we thought was an easy hike turned into a 6 hour adventure of crossing rivers and then seeing the bridge, getting lost in a field of cows and horses, and making our way over countless questionable bridges. Kathy does not enjoy bridges which made it difficult and hysterical at the same time.
The next day we (well just me) went on a horseback riding trip to a waterfall. Kathy made it down one hill before she decided that her horse and her were not going to be friends. I went to the waterfall in a group of 10 people, it was pretty amazing. On our way back, it started to downpour. I don’t think I have ever been so wet!
We spent a few hours at a cafe where they gave us a class on making coffee. That was a lot of fun! He prepared the coffee 5 different ways and showed us how each one tasted differently. Wew bet to a coffee plantation called Don Elias which was a small family finca. It was a lot of fun until I dropped my phone in the toilet! No worries, I was able to save it!
Our three days in Salento were jam packed and amazing! I look forward to going back to Salento again!
A few weeks ago, Vincent Ventura (literacy consultant) came to Cartagena to visit and consult us on our balanced literacy practice. While he was here, I finally went to La Popa to over look the city. It is defenitly a different side of Cartagena that I do not see everyday. It is amazing how sheltered you can feel in such a large city.
The monistery at the top is beautiful as well!
This just reminds me that there are always new places to see and go. Often times I feel like I have seen the city until I go to places like this. Let the exploring begin!
This last picture is the community of La Popa walking up to the church for Sunday night Mass. I have never been a church goer, but it gave me goosebumps to see the sense of community and love that these people showed.
The Saturday after the street parade, the beauty queens participate in a water parade. Two beauty queens are on each boat with 5-7 Navy officers in uniform rowing the boat. It only cost 45 mil which is about $22.50 in dollars to get a seat on a boat to watch the parade. There was a whole group of us who went together to watch the parade. It was an extremely hot day and we were going to be sitting on a boat for 4 hours with no shade… My white skin and I were prepared. I bought a hat and reapplied sunscreen every 30 minutes or so.
This was the waiting area to board the boats. The straw hat ladies…. and John. Leah and I before we really got covered in foam.
After standing in the hot sun for about an hour, we boarded a small boat that help almost 20 people.. Tight quarters if I say so myself. The boat drove around the bay for about an hour passing big party boats with bands, music, and even DJs. As you can see from the pictures, there were boats of every size.
Once the parade began, we parked our boat next to the rope and watched the beauty queens row by. Once they finished, all the little boats revered their engines and sped to the next location to watch the parade all over again. I am not sure why we needed to see them three more times, but it was fun to speed by all of the big boats. The water was so crowded… I am surprised there were not more accidents. We did collide or bump into three boats, but everyone was very calm about it. At every location along the parade route, people would throw colored water balloons (aka little bags of colored water) at each other, foam each other, and even throw buckets of bay water at each other. It was overall a good time.
Right in the middle of the parade, we looked up and saw this rainbow. It was such a beautiful day. I will say there are not a lot of events going on in Cartagena throughout the year, but when there is something they go big. Expense does not matter and it is a good time had by all. Go BIG or go home!!!!
During the month of November, Cartagena celebrates it’s independence from Spain. They have parades, music, fireworks, and lots of fiestas. We went to the parade Thursday afternoon and it was amazing. The parade includes Colombian beauty queens from each region of Colombia. The people perform different dances based on their culture from their region. It was awesome to see the different costumes and dances. We were warned ahead of time that there are a lot of thefts during these celebrations and that we should not carry a lot of money or expensive cameras with us. During the entire parade, I felt safe. We did not see any theft or anyone getting hurt. After the parade, a few locals told us that this was a small year for the fiesta. Most people did not come out because they could not afford to travel due to the economy being low.
With the parade comes a little fun as well. They sell these hug bottles of foam and everyone is spraying everyone. Also, people throw colored powder on each other or they just walk up to you and paint your face with their hands. It was a lot of fun. I was lucky enough to get my whole face painted for FREE!!!!
Sweet revenge was given once we got our own bottles of foam…
Leah and I before things started to get really crazy.
I must have been standing in a bad place because my face was covered. Everyone else only had a few spots of blue on their faces. I look like I belong in the movie Braveheart.
Not only was it fun being foamed and colored, but it was a lot of fun watching the parade and seeing the cultural dances that each part of Colombia had to offer. That is one thing that is amazing about Cartagena… it is very culture rich.