The GPS we rented with our car wasn't always good about knowing whether a street was one-way or not, so as we wound our way into Sopetran, sure enough it sent us the wrong way down a one-way street. I turned on the next possible street and ran into a traffic jam getting into the square; a man who was trying to sell DirectTV said something to me, I said my usual (no habla espanol, lo siento) and he immediately smiled and helped direct me through the mess. So friendly and warm and helpful, nearly everyone we encountered.
We were there on a busy Saturday morning, and the square was filled with music, trucks, buses, cars, and people.
|A big church anchors the square, as always|
|inside the church|
|paintings of Jesus lined the ceiling|
Here's what we got:
|Pollo, arroz, frijoles, plantain, papas, y lettuce. I don't know the word for lettuce.|
Also, a couple of arepas.
The darling waitress had our number, and when we were finished and it was time to pay the bill, she didn't bring the check. She brought the actual kind of money we needed to pay her:
|She just held one of these in her hands. It's ~$7.70 US. For both our big lunches, plus two drinks and a beer. Good food, cheap.|
We walked around a bit more and kept hearing very loud music. Each little place was blasting music, one place after another. Restaurants, cafes, shops, billiards, and even people's homes. We were standing on a corner, trying to figure out where the very loud music was coming from, and then we noticed the large speaker in the open window of someone's home, facing outward to the street. Lots of music everywhere.
|There were all kinds of buses -- some big with dark windows and air conditioning, and some like this:|
brightly colored, open sides, and used to deliver both goods AND people.
|Back at La Finca; we usually ate our dinners at that little table.|
The next morning, after breakfast, we packed and piddled and enjoyed the views and felt increasingly reluctant for the hours to pass. When it was time to say goodbye, I kept crying and feeling sad to leave that beautiful, beautiful place. We hugged Mathilde and Alexis and I pulled out of their driveway with eyes full of tears. What a beautiful place, what wonderful people. I can only smile when I remember them both.
I had been dreading the trip back to the airport; getting through Medellin the first time was very stressful and I kept getting lost, and I anticipated it would be the same in reverse. And it was. The GPS system kept us from being eternally lost, because when I'd miss a turn it would at least shift gears and give us a new route, but it always seemed to be confusing right when I needed clarity the most. Right when I most needed to see the route on the little map, text would pop up over my current location and I couldn't see the intersection. We did get lost a couple of times and then we hit really terrible traffic and road construction, all on the uphill climb. I spent a lot of time riding the clutch in first gear, stopping and pausing and inching ahead and stopping. By the time we got to the airport and turned in the car, I was exhausted.
Our flight left Medellin at 6:45pm for a quick trip to Panama City. We had a short layover, and left for NYC around 9:30pm, and arrived at JFK at 3:30am. By the time we got home it was 5:30-ish, and 27 degrees. The beautiful, warm loveliness of Hostal La Finca seems so far away. Of course this is a thing to love about travel -- now we carry that place, those beautiful people, with us wherever we go. Now we know what it's like there, and if we need to, we can close our eyes and revisit Colombia, Cartagena, Medellin, San Jeronimo (Heronimo, Lori!), Sopetran, the Hostal La Finca, Mathilde and Alexis.