eje cafetero: day 5: salento

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On Wednesday Seth and I awoke with sore calves and achy feet. We decided to take the day easy, starting with two cups of hot coffee and a big, leisurely breakfast. Alongside my usual fried eggs and pan de queso paipa I ordered a glass of mora (Andean blackberry) juice blended with farm-fresh milk. It was one of the most delicious drinks I had ever tasted. We relaxed, sipped our coffee, and ate, occasionally pausing to chat with other travelers who passed by our table. Once most of our fellow lodgers had fled the hostel to participate in various Salento-area activities, Seth and I each slipped into a hammock for some quality reading time.

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That afternoon I got a little antsy for some activity myself, so I convinced Seth to walk to Salento and climb the 100 or so steps to the town’s viewing point, Alto de la Cruz. Compared to those at the Valle de Cocora, the views at Alto de la Cruz were not anything special. We descended only minutes after we arrived, ready to explore the artisan markets and (maybe) spend a little money. In one of the Calle Real shops I spotted the most covetable and finely crafted mochila Arhuaca, but at COP$300,000 it was significantly beyond my price range. Moments later I was thisclose to impulse-buying a black, white, brown, and beige mochila Wayúu, but I resisted because I reasoned I could score a better deal back in Bogotá.

After looking at all of the bright and beautiful things, Seth and I had worked up a bit of an appetite. We tucked into a misnamed “beer garden” in hopes of scoring an imported lager, but as soon as we took a glance at the menu our spirits deflated. Despite the twenty-something plaques on the wall—one dedicated to Murphy’s Stout, another to Heineken, and so on—the establishment offered only Colombian beers, and not the good kind. We ordered two Club Colombias and were quickly on our way.

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For dinner we stopped at a cute little Colombian/Mediterranean/Indian restaurant I had noted on Trip Advisor. We ordered a Chilean Cabernet at market price and two pizzas—one with tandoori chicken and another with pepperoni (!), jalapeños (!), and red onion. From Restaurante La Eliana‘s balcony we were able to enjoy gorgeous views of the sunset and the company of two adorable cocker spaniels. (At one point during dinner, I not-so-secretly shimmied away from the table to pet the pups and accidentally let one out of the gate. So there I went, chasing a pudgy puppy down a slow Salento street. Oops.)

We returned to the hostel immediately following our meal. The wine and pizza sent me into a blissful slumber.

[Restaurante La Eliana: Carrera 2 # 6-45, Salento-Colombia]

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