Salento is a small town in the department of Quindío and lies within the triangle of coffee („Eje Cafetero") in Colombia.
In the colonial area the main route from Popayán to Bogotá traveled over the Quindío pass and passed Salento. When the route was diverted, Salento became isolated and did not develop as fast as the rest of the region.
The colonial heritage, the many coffee farms and the relaxed life style made it a main tourist destination.
Salento is a nice place, full of restaurants, cafés and shops with handcrafted things. Willys, old Jeeps from the World War II, found a new home in the coffee area.
Farmers needed a robust vehicle to deal with the muddy road system and steep hills.
Now they take full advantage their usefulness by loading the open trunks with more cargo than you would think is possible.
At the plaza Willys can be even rented as a Taxi - they are the main transportation in this area.
They even serve as a stroller :-D
We stayed at the most popular hostal in town (La Serrana, book in advance!!), made friends with the bugs, dogs, kids and adults next door, who care for the avocado plantation and were even given some of the recently harvested avocado. Man, I will ever be comparing avocados to those ones now. Did you know that avocados grow on trees?! :-D
Our other neighbors ;-)
But Salento is much more than a nice town. Actually it's a nice town in the middle of a spectacular panorama, surrounded by high mountains with an altitude of over 5000m. The view from the viewing point shortly behind town simply blew our minds.
Strolling further through the little town we found a lot of nice people, open minded and happy to talk.
The owner of a café, a bit further away from the bustle of the main street, kept talking to us for over an hour.
He talked about his neighbor, who moved here from a country in Europe he couldn’t remember and who made himself a lot of friends by calling the police and complaining about loud music (loud music is a fundamental right throughout Colombia ;-)). And about his friend from Germany, who visits every Christmas. He proudly showed us his bottle of Jägermeister and his impressive collection of glasses from all over the world.
And he interrogated us about every expression in German and English, he always wanted to know about and wrote them down. :-D
We relaxed a bit further walking through all the shops in town and finally took a Willy to the hostal. Just in time as a thunderstorm was brewing in the mountains. Sitting behind a panoramic window with a nice glass of wine in front of us, we then watched the mystical, almost magical scenery.