22nd October 2019
This is Salento, the coffee region of Colombia. It’s a small, colourful town surrounded by rich countryside. It feels like an old wild western, with dusty taverns, wooden swinging doors and locals wearing crisp cowboy hats as they ride their horses through the square.
I spent this week at a beautiful hostel, called Yambolombia, that’s a thirty minute walk from the town centre down a dirt track. It’s deeply set in nature and a home to three dogs, two horses and many a contented traveller. On arrival, Chris gave me fresh local coffee and a bracelet of the Colombian colours: red, yellow and blue.
That day I met Patrick from the US, Elodie from the Netherlands and Ashleigh from Scotland and we became fast friends. It started off as dinner, then cocktails, then days full of adventures.
Together we went horse-riding through the valley, danced salsa with locals to live music, played Tejo in a bar (a traditional Colombian sport of making packets of gunpowder explode on impact), saw the world’s tallest palm trees in Cocora Valley, went swimming in waterfalls and even planned out our matching tattoos.
On one of the nights, I was sleepy and relaxing on the sofa. Laying there, with a glass of red wine that Patrick had given me and a slice of homemade cake from Ashleigh, listening to the beautiful music and the sounds of travellers playing games around the dining table, I felt warmed by connection and community.
As I stroked Rasta, the German Shepherd, I looked around at the bright artwork on the walls, the patterned fabrics and the people I had come to know. I smiled to myself, recognising that this was my home away from home.