Kyna and Lauren came to visit me last week and it was a riot! They became summarily addicted to limonada de coco en leche – much more like a milkshake than a beverage. Here they are on opposite sides of me at San Jorge Pesquera in the small city of Armenia, the jumping-off point for our visits in Coffee Country.

Colombia, besides being synonymous with another crop, MEANS coffee. Juan Valdez and his burro Conchita have put Colombian coffee in our heads since, what, the 70s? They produce more arabica bean than any country on earth, even countries much larger, like Brazil (which more bags overall but specializes in the ugly stepbrother coffee bean, robusta.) This and more we learned during our excursions.

We dressed up in period costume and learned a couple of dances at the beginning of our tour of one farm. Aren’t we the CUTEST little milkmaids? Or would that be coffeemaids? I think it was chapuleras for women, and arrieros for men. The would-be arrieros learned about how men invested their down-time after picking coffee all day:

According to Lauren’s guidebook, the Willys Jeep phenom in coffee country got its start from surplus. After WWII, there were lots of excess Jeeps lying about, so the company brought them to this area. Here there are called Yipaos, and a full load of what one will carry is also called a Yipao – vehicle-turned-unit-of-measure. They exaggerate pretty well on how much one will carry:

We rode a Yipao up to Valle del Cocora, a gorgeous place topped by towering wax palms. Lauren had bugs in her teeth by the time we got there. Kyler, I think you’re going to be getting a request one of these days…

 

Then it was onto a trio of lovely, well-fed horses, with hardly any attitude. We climbed up the valley to a waterfall, hung out with some butterflies (thank you, Gabo), and puttered back downhill, already saddle-sore. A gorgeous day. If you can see it, check out the electric blue butterfly on Kyna’s cap.

 

We didn’t find out till later that Lauren’s horse, a chipper speckled thing called Pecoso, had started the ride by dragging her past a car so closely that she nearly tore off the side window with her shin. OUCH!

 

 

Bad boy, Pecoso!!! Here he is, being punished. He has to go to the corral without any supper. I think he looks contrite!

 

There were seriously lots of butterflies! We celebrated the next day with coffee from a retro-fitted Yipao, followed by a trip to the butterfly pavilion at the Botanical Gardens.

 

Our driver Guillermo took us everywhere during the weekend. I think he was as excited as we were!

And I’d give my right arm (ahem.) to have them back and do the trip all over again! Love you Keener and Laurensky!