I left Medellín on Sunday morning. I had booked a single night at the Mirardor Finca Morrogacho and planned to arrive there before making the rest of my plan in the area. Looking back now, this was another golden example of the benefits of the “get there first then start planning” method of travel.
I rode the bus with my temporary travel partner, Jara. It was a relatively uneventful 4-hour ride apart from the windy roads and trying to keep down all the bandeja paisa that we ate in Medellín. We got off the bus, as the driver recommended, a little bit early in order to take a cab to Morrogacho and find the hostel. It was just about a 7 minute walk up the hill to where we found our hostel. “Hostel” probably isn’t the right word to use to describe Majid’s beautiful house with the most specatcular view. I’d recommend this place to anyone looking to stay in Manizales or who wants a place to get away from it all for a while. The exact words in my diary entry from this first night are “might stay longer than planned”
The first night, we though we’d be lazy and take dinner right at the house rather than venturing into town to explore. This ended up being a great choice since the all vegan meal was unreal. In a country filled with fried meat and starch, the meal was a much needed break. Ended the day by watching some nature documentary on volcanoes in Tonga.
The following morning, after waking up to the smell of pancakes, we had breakfast (amazing as well) and then set off to find the bus into town. I’m loving public transport within cities in Colombia. There is typically a flat hop-on rate (here in Manizales it is COP $1.700) and you can get just about anywhere in the city and surrounding neighborhoods.
Once we arrived in city center, I did what I always do and started sniffing out the nearest hip coffee shop. I came to Santo Kaffeto, which in addition to fantastic coffee from their own finca in La Linda, also has a sort of museum to different brew methods. While making our plans for the day on the Wi-Fi, we we’re approached by one of the baristas, Juan Filipe, who offered to show us around the city when we got off of work at 3. We gladly accepted and went off to find some lunch to eat while Juan Filipe was still working.
Getting shown up after I said I know how to pour cappuccinos
Upon returning, we all went out to walk the city. Some highlights were the Catedral Basilica Nuestra Señora del Rosario (a neo gothic church overlooking Plaza de Bolivar), Chipre (also known as The Sunset Factory), and good conversation about multiverse. We had dinner in town which was nice but nowhere near as good as dinner at the hostel. We vowed to not skip another dinner from the hostel.
Catedral with the half-man, half-condor of my nightmares
View from the top
Graffiti with real heart
Over the next few days, I got to know the area around the hostel a bit better and had several wonderful dinner with the different guests rotating through the hostel. There were:
Different couples from The Netherlands, Germany, and Canada
Colombians on weekend holiday
An American family with a 4-year old and a 18-month old
A freelance writer who had spent a month here
Sets of siblings from Australia and from the UK
Other solo travels
And Jara and myself
Mirardor Finca had a different family every night for dinner and one that I was happy to share my Thanksgiving with. Although, unsurprisingly, when we did get into political discussions, we were all of the same opinion.
One morning, Jara and I went down the hill from Majid’s to find a friend of his with the L-shaped roof whom he said would be happy to show us around his finca. “Take Cielo with you, she knows the way” he said before we left. Cielo is his golden lab. Well… Cielo was leading us the right way but we stopped at a house we thought might be the place or close enough to ask. “Estamos buscando por una finca”. The older couple waved us in, speaking in rapid Spanish. We were greeted warmly and then Hugo took us through the whole coffee process from picking, washing, drying, and sorting. Luz then took us through the rest of the garden while we tasted every fruit and vegetable on the way. It was only then that we realized that this was not the house with the L-shaped roof that Majid had need pointing to. Welp… we were friends now. Jara and I stayed to help sort the beans with Hugo. Afterwards, Luz made us an amazing lunch from the garden. Jara left the next day to continue her trip in Salento, but I returned back to the finca the next morning as well with a bottle of wine from both of us to say thank you. I stayed again for bean sorting and lunch.
Beans are inside the berries
Coffee drying in the sun
Good stuff / bad stuff
Whole salad in my hand
Another morning I set out with Cielo on another walk and this time didn’t stop to ask anyone directions. I wasn’t sure exactly where we we’re going but Cielo seemed pretty excited to get there. After walking about an hour through thick brush and fields of coffee, we came upon the river and a waterfall. Thanks Cielo!
I checked out of the hostel on Friday. Very happy that the one night stay had turned into a week in paradise within the capital of the Coffee Triangle. And once again, the sunsets were majestic.