Hola. My last day in Salento was Monday. I met up with some others and we did a tour of the Kasaguadua Natural Reserve kasaguaduanaturalreserve.org. It was amazing!
It’s about 1.5 km walk out of Salento, of which you get to see some pretty spectacular views of the countryside. The reserve was started several years ago by 2 guys, Carlos and Nicholas. They opened their doors for tours in December last year. Carlos gave an amazing tour. He and Nicholas are very ambitious and passionate about the reserve, its biodiversity and preserving and educating others on the area. If ever you come to Colombia, Salento is a must visit and so is this reserve. Understanding the natural of how the forest regenerates and protects itself was very cool. How the guadua (bamboo) grows and is used for structure was very cool. How the wax palms grow. And how the different ecosystems support one another. All without human intervention. They are also building a model of a geodome type house to see how the might cohabitate with the forest. Very cool. The tour was about 4 hours, and then we went to a neighbouring finca for lunch. It was awesome. I have pictures, just cant figure out how to transfer from my camera card to my tablet permanently, or insert here!
Tuesday was a travel day to Medellin. 7.50 am from Salento to Pereira, then to Medellin… 6.5 hours. Another crazy making ride on Colombian highways. And the up and down and round and round… my head is not too bad today. I traveled here with 3 people from Ireland. Me staying in a different hostel than them. To bad for me, they are very nice and fun to hang with.
Let me tell you about my ride to my hostel from the bus station. We met a guy on the medellin bus who was very helpful. He organized a discount for several of us for bus tickets. In medellin he organized taxis for us too. I get in my taxi as I’m staying in a different part of the city than the others. Again the crazy traffic scene where they make 3, 4, sometimes 5 lanes from 2! Motos, cars, cube style trucks, cyclists, its all here. Well the driver has no idea where the address is! Why he took the fare I have no idea. So here we are driving around in approximately the area of the hostel, but he cant find it. All the streets are one way and he has no idea. Every light he asks a taxi driver next to him, they explain, he cant find it. He asks other drivers, a policia man, a woman on the corner and so it goes. He even suggested, through hand signs I get out and walk! That was definitely not going to happen. You recall I’m not the best back seat rider, especially after 7-8 hours riding a bus through the Andes. Finally he finds the place. He wants me to pay full fare. So we go into the hostel and I find someone to help translate. I say he shouldn’t have taken me if he didn’t know where he was going, he says the meter says I have to pay, the person translating is telling me look its only x amount in USD its not much, I’m saying in my mind that is irrelevant as I’m in Colombia and paying COP. After several minutes of this I pay the man 10,000 cop, which is what the guy at the bus station said it shouldn’t be more than! Oi vey. What a stress schmoz that was. The taxi guy got 99% of the metered fare.
The hostel I booked into came recommended by another traveller. It sucked. No breakfast included. My bed was lumpy and full of springs, and everything was tile and open and I could hear people in the lobby 3 floors below. The sheets were thin as was the blanket and the street light shone in my eyes as I slept. And it wasn’t all that clean. Its located in a funky area, but! I should have booked with the Irish kids. So I’ve moved.
Now to figure out what to do here and how to get about. Its warmer in Medellin. Its not as large as Bogota, seems cleaner. The metro system is supposed to be very good. I’ll let you know.
Ive been doing loads of walking. Cant say I’ve acclimated to the altitude changes yet.
Thats all for now. Ciao.