If ever there were two people who should never be confident about driving somewhere it would be us.
We got to San Jeronimo, turned left at the Texaco, fine! Into the very small town, immediately lost. Drive drive drive, uh-oh I think we've surely missed it, turn around. Uh-oh, we're lost. Let's just head back toward Santa Fe and try the approach again. Back toward San Jeronimo, left at the Texaco, into town LOST. Again. Turn this way -- yeah, this is surely it, uh-oh we've surely gone too far and we're lost. Repeat. Finally we found our way back to San Jeronimo and stopped in the square. I parked along a curb and Marc went into an Internet cafe, hoping someone there might speak a little English. While I waited in the car, a police officer stuck his head in my window.
"No habla espanol," I said. He said something to me in Spanish, to which I held my palms up and shrugged, the universal sign of lost people everywhere. Then I pointed at the Internet cafe and said, "Mi esposa no habla espanol." My wife does not speak Spanish. He laughed and walked toward the cafe, where Marc and three other officers joined him.
|They were SO NICE|
Recognizing how hopeless we were, two police climbed on a motorcycle to escort us to the Hostal La Finca, up a rocky, rutted, unpaved road 7km up the mountain. We bounced along behind them, crawling in first gear, and they rode in front of us sweating in their heavy gear. When we finally arrived, we hopped out and asked Mathilde if it would be appropriate for us to offer them some money for their help. She asked and they said, "We wouldn't say no."
Hostal La Finca is run by a young couple, Mathilde and Alexis. She's from Stuttgart and he is from Munich and Medellin (his dad is German and his mom is Colombian). They are absolutely adorable, and their grace and energy are really what make the place so special. They have a system of volunteers; if you work ~6 hours/day, you can stay for free. Right now there is a tree surgeon staying/working here. An American woman stayed here for a while and cooked for the guests and taught Mathilde how to make bread. It's a pretty cool way to keep the property going and growing. The property includes dorms and one big room with a huge deck around it; that one's ours.
|the view from our deck|
|Everywhere. Just everywhere.|
|We could watch the changing sky forever.|
|They have big plans for their property, which means we'll just have to go back to see the changes!|
|In addition to the gorgeous scenery, they also have this great pool.|
|There's Caña, at the edge of the waterfalls. Such a great dog -- we miss her already!|
Because it's a hostel, there is a community kitchen and if you bring your own food you can prepare your meals here. OR, for such a shockingly small price Mathilde will cook for you, and we can't believe how great her food is. The first night here we had the best sauerkraut I've ever had, a mash of potatoes and beets and carrots, a thick slice of ham, a great little salad with juicy red cherry tomatoes, avocado, and bits of mango, and homemade bread -- plus a smoothie of ginger and something, I can't remember now. Breakfasts are big and include homemade bread and jams; our first morning the eggs were scrambled with cheese and tomatoes, and this morning it was a Spanish tortilla. The jam yesterday was orange, so delicious, and this morning it was mango and banana. Last night she made us a Belgian stew, a salad of shredded carrots and tomato in a fantastic orangey dressing, and homemade rolls -- with fresh blackberry juice (really good, by the way!). Dinner is ~$6.
We're so glad our last few days of our vacation are here, in this remote, beautiful place. We could wander the enormous grounds for days, take walks up and down the mountain, or drive to nearby villages. Or just swing in hammocks, read, nap, walk, listen to the birds and to Mathilde's great laugh.
We took a lot of walks up and down the hill from La Finca. The first afternoon we walked to a church a short ways up the mountain.
|look at the top of that tree --|
|the church also has a school|
|coffee bushes, banana plants, and mangos|
|the cattle are MAGNIFICENT|
|Marc getting a good shot -- one of his art shots, he always says. That makes me smile.|
|These orchids are just everywhere.|
|And this -- looks like it's been outlined.|
|No filters on this picture, just the ordinary brilliance of that red.|
|What? Don't your chickens sit on swings?|
|Sigh. Gosh we miss these views.|
|You would too. The Colombian Andes, so beautiful.|
|Cows on all the hillsides.|