After Salento I moved to Manizales for a week and stopped in this quite incredible finca with amazing views over the valleys below.

The view from my finca in Manizales
The view from my finca in Manizales

Unfortunately I was ill for a fair amount of my time here. But, if I had to get poorly somewhere, then this wasn’t a bad place for it. I spent a couple of days in bed and then a couple more feeling a bit sorry for myself. That’s not too bad considering I’d been travelling for four months by this stage.

I did manage to get out and about a little bit though.

A walk to the waterfall (nearly)

I took a hike starting from the finca and walking down the valley to the river. This was a walk that was recommended by Majid, the owner of the finca.

It was a particularly steep trek and I was a little apprehensive of all the turkey vultures that circled above my head, it was almost as though they were expecting fresh gringo meat that afternoon.

The views were spectacular though and the river was lovely. The path petered out for the last couple of hundred metres of the route and became more of a struggle through the undergrowth and so I didn’t explore too far along the river, especially with those turkey vultures swooping around.

I later found out that if I had walked just twenty metres further down the river then I would have reached the waterfall. Oooops!

At the bottom of the valley in Manizales
This is not a waterfall

Manizales Ecoparque and Chipre

Another day I went to the ecoparque and then to Chipre for lunch and a gawp at the statue to the city founders.

The Ecoparque was a short, if near perpendicular, walk from my finca. There were some lovely paths meandering through the lush grounds and a couple of panoramic vantage points that I wasn’t allowed to climb up. Boo!

Overall, it did give the impression that the council had just built a fence around part of the countryside. This is no real criticism, as so much of the Colombian countryside is just dripping in biodiversity.

Manizales city centre is built along a mountain ridge. In most places there is just one road that runs along the top of it, with the rest of the city falling away into the valleys on either side. There is a municipal cable car that acts as part of the public transport network, making it easier for people to commute across town.

Chipre is on one edge of town that looks over a couple of the valleys that surround it. It has a panoramic viewpoint that was half open (they were willing to take my money) and half closed (I could walk half way up the stairs where the doors were chained together and you couldn’t see that much out of the windows) Double boo!

Further along the main street of Chipre there is a statue called The Agony And The Ecstasy. It spreads itself up and across a large mound at the top of a viewpoint across some of the countryside that surrounds Manizales.

It is very symbolic, with the bottom half showing the agony, which is the struggle of the city’s founders to get across the mountains to the place where they established Manizales. Horses strain themselves to carry their burdens up the hillside, with their nostrils flaring and the city founders carry a cathedral to signify the bringing of Catholicism to this part of Colombia.

The Agony and The Ecstasy statue in Manizales
The Agony and The Ecstasy statue in Manizales

Then, at the top of the viewpoint, there is the joy as they reach the top and see the prospective city before them. Scarves flutter behind the travellers, the horses are struggling a lot less now and a woman throws her baby in the air in celebration.

Moving on to Medellin

After a week in Manizales I was feeling rested and recuperated once again and looking forward to my next stop, Medellin. It’s a city I had heard so much about, both good and bad, and it was the place I had chosen to spend five week in over Christmas and New Year. The journey was to prove a little challenging though …..

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