Monday, Jan 24 — In-flight
We fly SFO to LAX, wander to the international terminal in the underground corridors from Terminal 7. We board Avianca flight AV 83, and our A330-200 takes off more or less on time at 11:45pm for our seven hour flight to Bogotá.
Tuesday, Jan 25 — Cartagena
I manage to sleep on the plane and wake around 8am. At 9:50am we land in Bogotá at El Dorado International AirportLand. We clear immigration and transfer to Avianca flight AV 9548, and our Airbus A320-200 takes off at 11:11am. 90 minutes later we land at Rafael Núñez International Airport at 12:42pm. After grabbing our bags, we meet a nice driver with a sign and head over to the Alfiz Hotel in the heart of Cartagena's old town. We are very happy to arrive. We chill a bit and take an evening walk along the old walls over looking the sea with a beautiful sunset.Tour Cartagena
Wednesday, Jan 26 — Cartagena
Thursday, Jan 27 — Salento
In the morning we enjoy a nice breakfast of fresh fruit, ie: grandadilla, eggs and coffee in the hotel courtyard. Afterward we sadly grab a car to the Rafael Núñez International Airport. We check into Viva Air Colombia flight VH 5781, and our Airbus A320-200 takes off at 11:53am. Around 90 minutes later we land in Cali at Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport at 1:26pm. We are happily met by our Gozitans friends Caudia and Jacques. (Gozitans is a reference to where we met, Gozo, but in reality Jacques is a Dutchman that spent most of his career in Switzerland, and Claudia is a native Colombian that studied and worked in Switzerland, where the two met.) We load into their car and head toward the coffee region. On the way, we stop in the nearby Palmira town at a spot named Siga La Vaca, and enjoy a great lunch of soup, grilled meat, and a newly found favorite, Limonada de Coco.
Friday, Jan 28 — Salento
In the morning, we walk to the central square and book some tickets to visit the Acasso coffee plantation. We take a wonderful tour, pick some red and yellow coffee beans and make some coffee. Afterward I try a coup Passion 300 fermented coffee, yum! Claudia met the local chef who cooks for the staff and managed to order a local, traditional lunch for us, which was very good, albiet a couple of fleas from a nearby dog go to town on my for their lunch!
I am thinking to also check out the nearby Luger coffee house, on the rec of fellow travller, but alas, we run out of time and head back to Salento, with another jeep, this one filled with other travelers.
In the afternoon, we hire a jeep to take us to charming Filandi, another nearby Colonial-era coffee town on top of a hill
Charming Filandia, first pic, and Salento, second, have just the right mix of small town vibes, architecture and nearby outdoor activities.
Saturday, Jan 29 — Bogotá
9.30 go to Cocora
10.00 arrive Cocora
11.30 leave Cocora
12.00 leave Salento
13.15 arrive airport
For dinner are looking at El Chato, Leo or Mesa franca. We end up walking into a sold-out Loe, but ask to see the interior, since Zara is an interior designer. As fate would have it, there was room at the bar on the daughter's second floor, so we took a seat and ordered a drink. The waiter mentioned we could order soe food and we inquired if the full tasting menu as available. Moments later the happy server retunred and let us know it was. 15 minutes later a table opened for us, and that’s how walking into Leo, one of the highest rated restaurants in the world, on a Saturday night no less, and scored a nice table!
Sunday, Jan 30 — Flight home