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We packed up the little van for one more trip. We left about 7:30, an hour later than we wanted to leave to try to bypass the Bogota rush hour. 6 bags, 2 Colombians, 2 Kiwis and 1 American. Tom and Nick took their full travel bags because they had no plans of returning to Bogota, Danielle and myself traveled lighter with most of our cold weather clothes staying behind at Magicville.

The first leg of our grand coffee tour was Bogota – Guatape. A town known for it’s Peñol rock, some 405km west of the Capital. Our first stop was a little BBQ place with a rodizio for lunch, we all ordered the beef and pork with a beer.

After a few hours and a few hundred km, I was the only one puking.  We decided to seek refuge in , right at the fork between Medellin and Gautape instead of heading all the way into the city and having to backtrack in the morning. It was a really basic room with a private bathroom, my illness lasted until the early morning hours.

Morning came and I was back. After a hearty breakfast for the crew and something basic for me, we headed to Gautape. We admired the vast reservoir and the small islands connected by bridges that spanned the dark blue water. Before we knew it, the rock was looming tall in front of us. 561 step later and a beautiful panoramic view of the El Peñol laid before us.

After a cup of coffee and some water from the cafe perched on top of the rock giant, we climbed down and drove into the Guatape town, it happened to be Colombia’s Independence Day and the town was hosting a little parade/event to commemorate the occasion. We were able to catch the last few minutes of it and snap some photos with the soldiers before they went to the next town to do it all over again.

The drive into Medellin, 40km of beautiful roads, didn’t take much. Soon, we were looking for the address of a hostel we had looked up. It happened to be a kiwi run spot where we tried to bargain a bit since it was 5 of us but we are unsuccessful. We ended up renting a private room with 3 doubles and a bathroom at Hostel Casa Blanca in El Poblado, just down the road from the other hostel, for a great price.

Our first few hours in the city of flowers, were quite tame. Just a quick trip to the store to pick up ingredients to make a gluten free curry. The night ended with our bellies full of awesome, in bed early.

The following day, we ventured out into the city. We rode the metro up and down the steep hills around the city that gives you a pretty good panoramic view of the city. We had lunch in el Poblado and picked up a few maracuyas to make the most amazing drink known to mankind.

During our hike to el cocuy, we purchased a bottle of Flor De Caña rum, it was meant to the a celebratory drink after climbing up and down the mountain that never got drunk since Nick suffered from pulmonary edema and it just didn’t feel right to drink it while he was down. So, while he was in Bogota waiting for his plane to come meet us, we drank it. It was the first of three bottles of rum during our second night in Medellin. Needless to say, we didn’t make our walking tour the next day.

Nick showed up around noon, pumped and ready to go. All of us still hungover/lazy. We packed up as he checked up on things on-line. We visited the Antioquia museum, walked around the plaza and had an amazing bandeja paisa, it was not nearly as much as we wanted to see of Medellin, but it was a lot of fun.

It was now time to head to one of the cities that some of our friends loved so much they spent weeks, but we only had time to be there for 4 days; Salento and the Cocora Valley.

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