Friday, January 14, 2011
Salento & Medellin
After Bogota we headed 7 hours north to Salento, a small town in the coffee region. Salento is surrounded by verdant green hills and valleys and an economy based in the production and exportation of coffee beans. Salento happened to be celebrating the 169th anniversary of its founding when we arrived, meaning lots of people, beer, and street food.
This parade celebrating the founding of Salento features citizens dressed as the original settlers of Salento 169 years ago.
Just outside of Salento is the Cocora Valley, where we did a day hike. The valley is home to the iconic Wax Palm trees of Colombia. The Wax Palms are some of the tallest trees in the world, reaching up to 60 meters.
After Salento we headed to Medellin. Set in a valley in the heart of the Zona Cafetera, Medellin is a urban metropolis with new buildings, speedy public transportation, and a reputation in Colombia for being home to the most beautiful people on Earth.
Medellin was the birthplace of the aforementioned Fernando Botero. Botero has a statue park in the heart of downtown. Locals believe that touching certain parts of the statues will bring good luck.
Riding a cable car up from the valley floor provides a great view of the city (if theres no smog).