We saw very little of Cartago. We didn’t even go to the city center. We worked, exercised (our host, Christian, has a small gym), did laundry, and just relaxed.
Lately, we’ve been getting quite exhausted from the road. In every city and place, we only stay for 2-3 days before moving on. We’d love for someone to say something like, ‘You can stay longer if you want, guys!’ But at the same time, we want to cross South America as quickly as possible. Right now, it’s like we’re on the home stretch of our journey across the entire South American continent. So it’s normal that we keep moving.
Cartago. Hiking on coffee farm
Cartago is part of the coffee region in Colombia, known as the ‘Coffee Triangle.’ Colombian coffee is considered one of the best in the world. So, Christian wanted to introduce us to this region and the coffee culture. We planned a short hike for last Saturday, but Christian had various commitments, so we happily stayed for one more day and went on the hike on Sunday with his girlfriend and colleague, Juliana.
Our hike started from the small town of Alcalá (with the stress on the last syllable), where we drove to and parked the car. We bought a couple of snacks near a cafe belonging to another friend of Christian, then began our trek. However, this route seemed odd from the beginning. First, we walked through a rural area where poor people lived, and it felt a bit uncomfortable as everyone stared at us as if we were aliens.
When we left the houses behind, we finally entered the coffee farms. We expected the road to be more picturesque, imagining that we would be climbing a mountain with endless coffee plantations stretching around us. Instead, we were simply walking on some road through the forest, occasionally passing by small plantations that resembled more like gardens.
Along the way, we took a few photos and shot some videos. Then the road ended, or rather, there was a turn to the right leading to the main road. We didn’t want to walk on it because that wouldn’t feel like a hike anymore. So, we found a little trail that seemed to be recently used by cows, and that was our mistake.
The trail led us through the jungle, and the road was extremely muddy. It was impossible to walk. At first, Nastya stepped into the mud with one foot while crossing a stream. After that, I slipped while trying to navigate a steep section along the road and thankfully, I just got one hand dirty. But after that, we didn’t care anymore and simply walked down the middle of the road, splashing through the mud.
Our hike ended in Quimbaya at the main square. We sat down at a table in one of the cafes, ordered passion fruit juice and empanadas, and celebrated the successful completion of the trek. Then we returned to Alcala, to Christian’s friend’s cafe, where we spent a bit more time, sipping coffee. Christian’s friend shared a lot of interesting information about coffee with us, and we found it fascinating
The Road to Pereira
Christian took us back to Cartago, but in the morning, we packed our backpacks, took them with us, and were ready to head further to Pereira. We walked to the road not far from the city exit and started trying to hitchhike. To our surprise, a motorcyclist named David stopped. We thought we’d have to explain what we were doing, but he immediately understood, decided to help, and put us on a bus.
And within an hour, we were in Pereira, visiting Johan, watching football, and (of course) drinking coffee.
With love from Colombia, Vasya and Nastya