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Jardin, Colombia

After a long day on the bus, I finally arrived to this quaint little town in the middle of the mountains of southern Colombia called Jardin. The bus ride was absolutely stunning with the vast coffee plants and scenery was just breathtaking, I loved the ride. I arrived at my hostel, Sergeant Peppers and ran into the same British group that I had seen at Dreamers in Palomino (doing Karaoke)...they were a funny bunch. I knew I didn't have much time before sunset so I dropped off my stuff and walked to the main square where there was this ancient tall basilica church with a colorful garden in the middle and many locals sitting outside drinking in front of the restaurants and talking. Kind of reminded me a little of Amsterdam in a small way, but more cowboy-style. I found that the deeper inland I went, the more cowboy-style locals dressed and overall different looking Colombians in general from appearance and attire, it was interesting to see the vast change from rural to suburban, poorer, indigenous towns. I got a beer at one of the bars in the square and then walked around and stumbled upon this Italian restaurant close by for some pesto pasta! Went back to the hostel and talked with the host, who gave me some pointers on the tour I was doing the next day to this waterfall cave. We ended up hanging out and chatting all night and went to bed a little later than expected. Woke up to go on the tour by 9am and met a gay couple from Medellin, another couple from San Diego (living in Tel Aviv) and another couple from Puerto Rico. It was really fun experience riding on the back of a jeep up these mountains with one of the gay guys from Medellin. We talked about our relationships and local gems of Colombia and just random things along the way - there and back (which took about 30-45 minutes each way...we had to go the long way because there was a small avalanche). We arrived at the top and were greeted with a snack of corn flatbread with salsa and a nice yummy hot herbal tea. Went on the hike to this cave which had a waterfall coming through it and it was so cool! Nothing I've seen before. Got back and were greeted with a ball of potato-like snack and a nice berry drink (can't remember the name because it's local and we don't have it in the US). We made it back to the town around 1pm and I went to have a local meal for lunch which was absolutely delicious! It was somewhat of a "ajiaco" which is a soup with yuca and corn and beef, with a side of salad, avocado and rice. It was everything I needed and more! I was going to try to make it to a coffee tour but it was too much so I went to this cafe that was recommended and I got a chai latte and chilled out for a bit. I had also heard about this gondola ride in town so I went to check it out and I'm really glad I did - it was the oldest gondola ride I've ever been on and a bit scary because of how old it was but really fun in all (see pictures below). It took me across the mountains to the other side of town which had a. restaurant and view of the town (beautiful view) so I got a beer and enjoyed the view for a little while. Went back to the hostel and did some yoga and then went to dinner and had a nice light meal since I had such a big eating day already. I did some computer work/research and tried to go to bed early, but it was a Friday night so everyone was out and about. I sat out on the balcony like I had the night before and then finally watched a Netflix show for the first time in a long time and went to bed since I had to be up and ready by 8am for my bus to Salento (the more well-known coffee town)!

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