We arrived in Columbia on the 1st of December. The sail plan was to arrive at dawn to see the sunrise lighting up the Sierra Nevada snow tipped mountain tops, but weren't quick enough for that.
The Sierra Nevada mountains are the highest coastal mountain range in the world. We might well have seen snow on the peaks but it was a long way off and might well have been wishful thinking. The Santa Marta Marina where we are staying at the moment is right next to the City of Santa Marta which is surrounded by mountains only a half hours drive away.
Santa Marta starts out slowly but by 4 o'clock it becomes a bustling vibrant city. The evenings are full of music, late night dining, music, buskers, street food, music and just as busy as the afternoon rush hour.
1) Street Art 2) We discover an ice cream shop, which Tim firmly believes is the best ice cream he has ever had. Photos using the camera's timer are always fun to take. 3) We were never far from a fruit stall. 4) Freshly fried pastry wrapped cheese and pastry wrapped sausage. 5) Claudia, from SV Bruno's Girl, driving a hard bargain for a new hat 6) Locally made round bags and worn and used by locals and tourists a like. I rather covet the bag in the front row with the turquoise pompoms though the most authentic ones are made of some type of wool in creams, greys and black. 7) More street food potato, meat and sausage kebabs cooked on the small grill in the fore-ground. We haven't tried these yet, but there are lot varieties, and I'm sure we will.
Last week we hired a car for two days and did some sight seeing.
On our first day out we drove up into the mountains to visit a waterfall and visited the village of Minca. The walk to the waterfall was so interesting. 1) The stands of bamboo were spectacular, particularly when you see the size of them in a photo. 2) Farming in the relative cool of the mountains. They were definitely growing lettuce and probably spring onions. 3) In the rainforest, even poinsettia is a tree you could stand under.
1) The approach to the waterfall passes by a bridge that, as the sign says, you are prohibited from passing. Imagine my disappointment when I bellowed, 'YOU SHALL NOT PASS!' and got no reaction. Even when I explained the reference (The Fellowship of the Ring, Mines of Moria, Gandalf vs the Balrog) all I got were blank looks.*sighes heavily* 2) I completely forgot my disappointment when I waded into the probably about 15C freshwater mountain stream. Oh man, it was cold. in fact you can see by the look on my face. Very like the Atlantic off the Portuguese coast where I swam with my sister Laura and friend Susan so there are at least two other people who can appreciate how cold that is. 3) Once you are numb all over, it's actually quite pleasant.
We passed through the town of Minca without stopping on our way to the waterfall. On our way back down we stopped for lunch at Asadero Camarita. I suspect 'asadero' translates to 'meatery' as the menu was all about beef, pork and chicken served with a couple cold boiled potatoes and yucca prepared the same way.
1) The COP, Columbian Peso takes some getting used to. 20,000 COP is about 5 pounds sterling. (My laptop has a US keyboard but I have set it to UK and I cannot find the 'pound' sign. Grrr.) I opted for the Pork Ribs which were large with more fat than we are used to, but the fat kept the meat moist and tender and it was delicious with some fiery dipping sauce. I rather regretted not getting the Llanera style meat. I didn't realise then that 'meat' means beef, but kind friends shared so I did not miss out. 2) While we were waiting for our meals to arrive, I went to look at the kitchen. This gentleman, who is pictured at the top of the menu was cutting portions of blackened but still very rare meat. The meat is first cooked/smoked in the oven you can see behind him. 3) He insisted that I come around and have a look in this oven where all sorts of meats were slow cooking over a wood fire. 4) The open grill at the front of the brick oven complex is where he finished cooking your choice of meat. 5) The restaurant itself was pretty unusual with substantial benches and tables and the odd cow skull ornaments. The floor was packed very uneven and looked like it had been carved by either wind or water and possibly both. 6) Opposite the brick cooking oven at the opposite end of the restaurant was the kitchen area of the proprietor's family. 7) The view out of the kitchen window. 8) My favourite decoration and last but not least, 9) the wonderfully ruffled cockerel and one of the chickens who roamed freely through the restaurant. It was great and if I could visit there again, I would.
Our next stop on the way down the mountain was Minca.
1) This photo really doesn't do Minca's main street any justice. It is a bit rough around the edges but there were lots of little shops and cafes. 2) We had good Columbian coffee in the Lazy Car Café as well as brownies with ice cream topped with a glace cherry. At the table is Tim, Rob and Francis from SV Alia Vita, me, Leanne and Dave from SV Perigee and Claudia's (who is kindly taking the picture) other half from SV Bruno's Girl, Phillip. 3) A shot from the other end of the table so you can see the floral. 4) And the fauna - the finest iguana that we have seen. 5 & 6) Minca's church. 6) examples from a lovely shop that used polished stones and macramé to create beautiful necklaces and jewellery.
We bought fruit and vegetables from a small shop and then headed home most pleased with our days excursion. :)
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