Happy New Year! May it bring you all that your heart desires!
We woke up bright and early today and were attended to by very tired and hung-over hotel staff. Esteban and I were very pleased with our decision to go to bed early. Traveling with kids is a marathon and we have to pace ourselves.
Today we drove back to Rio Claro, with a detour to El Penol, a gigantic boulder (the biggest we have ever seen) set on a lake shore. We climbed the boulder, all 650 steps, which afforded us spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains. The lake is actually a man-made reservoir and the whole area looks more like the lakes region in Chile than Colombia, but it was spectacular nonetheless. Even the girls made the climb all the way to the top. I made the climb with Saige on my back. Esteban was coughing all the way up (his body still isn’t 100% recovered from his recent illness) and I joked about the racket he has going on: since I am always the one who wants to go hike/explore/sightsee and he always says “and what about Saige?”, I always respond with “I will carry Saige” in my effort to get him to do whatever it is I am dying to do… so I always carry Saige. I don’t mind actually. It’s hard to get the concentrated exercise that my body needs while traveling with kids so I figure this is just a little more exercise for my body.
We arrived back in the Rio Claro region but this time we are staying at a hotel near the reserve. This is because we were originally going to go to Hacienda Napoles (Pablo Escobar’s former estate which has been turned into a theme park), rather than to the reserve. Plus, my husband was not willing to forgo air conditioning anymore.
I tried to have a good attitude about the hotel, Los Colores, but I really longed to be in the rain forest at the reserve. I love being in nature as pure and unadulterated as possible and I found the hotel’s manicured grounds too manicured and contrived. It’s like they stripped nature of all its naturalness and wildness. And the hotel itself was a bit shabby and run down for the price. (We paid nearly $200 per night for the family lodging and breakfast and dinner. This is a lot by Colombian middle-of-nowhere standards.) The pool needed a good cleaning and so did the bathrooms. And don’t even get me started on the beds. The full size beds (for the adults) were the most uncomfortable beds I have ever laid down on. Ever. They felt like planks of wood with soft spaces in between. Never, having visited over fifty countries and having slept in all sorts of accommodations, from five star hotels to $2 per night huts, have I laid on such uncomfortable beds.
Ok, so I grumbled abit but then decided to make the best of it. Swimming in the pool felt good after the day’s hiking and driving.