Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hacienda Venecia Day 1

Hacienda Venecia
We left Cali at 8am for the short drive to Manizales, arriving just after 1pm. We are spending three nights at a coffee plantation called Hacienda Venecia, and to reach it we had to make our way down a big hill along a narrow track, with steep drops on one side.  Those of us who have been on the truck for worse roads already were fairly relaxed about this, but some of the newbies were a bit anxious - and relieved when we arrived safely.  However as it had been raining and was clearly going to rain again, Izzie and TJ were concerned about mudslides making it impossible to get the truck out again, so took the truck up into town to be on the safe side.  Thankfully if they can't bring it down when we leave they have a jeep here that can take us back up.  I wasn't the only one who wasn't keen on the idea of walking back up that hill.

Noting the rain is likely to be pretty bad both here and at our next place, we decided to take up the option to upgrade to a room here.  Camping is fine, but I would rather not camp in the downpours we get here, especially for five or six nights.  We weren't the only ones.

the band

Hacienda Venecia is a working coffee plantation, so our view includes a large plot of coffee plants.  The surroundings are beautiful, and it was good to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the hammocks and watching the hummingbirds flit around the trees, flowered and more lazily, the feeders. 

Nic playing the instrument

In the evening the staff made us fruit punch and did us an Argentinian style barbecue, both of which were very tasty.  Afterwards, we had a local band come in to play for us.  The music was the kind of traditional party music that they would play at a Colombian wedding or other celebration; it was very lively, generally quite fast, and a lot of fun.  I had a go at playing the thing which was like a big cylinder with metal beads in it, and another person tried out the thing that was basically a big grater?  We enjoyed ourselves, especially as this was an occasion where you felt that the experience was a genuine one, rather than something done specifically for tourists.

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