We woke up early for a flight to Manizales, in Colombia’s coffee region. Just my three girls and I. The flight was delayed; we were stuck waiting on the runway for forty minutes during which time no announcement was made (interesting cultural observation – all of the other passengers on board seemed relaxed and content as we sat there waiting, while I, the gringa, desperately needed to know what was going on and was really annoyed not to hear the Spanish version of “This is your captain speaking, folks. We apologize for the delay which is due to…”); rerouted to Pereira, a city which is 2 hours away from Manizales; waited almost an hour for the bus service provided by Avianca, the Colombian airline, to take us to Manizales; had to ask the bus driver to change the horror movie playing at top volume as it was sure to give my girls nightmares and finally arrived at our destination at 3:30 pm, over four hours behind schedule and famished since there was no way to get lunch throughout the transcourse of this day.
The girls were real troopers throughout the whole thing (I believe that travel really does make kids more flexible.) but we were all very happy to arrive in paradise, The Secret Garden Hostel. Perched on a cliff overlooking gorgeous cloud covered green mountains, with basic but clean acommodations, great food, super friendly and helpful owners, and plenty of hammocks to lounge around in, this inn is truly a gem.
As the younger girls lounged around in the hammocks under the watchful eyes of our nanny who met us at the inn and will be with us for the week until my husband gets here (no, I am not that spoiled. It is just prudent to have an extra pair of hands, preferably local, when traveling with 3 girls in Colombia), I took a walk with my oldest daughter. What amazing scenery and energy! My daughter got tired after awhile and I dropped her off at the inn and continued on my way, solo, only to meet the neighbors who invited me in for a cup of coffee and a chat. The Paisas (people from this part of the country) have a reputation for being very hard working and friendly. I have no way to judge the former but I can definitely attest to the latter.