The Most Magical Place on Earth: Valle de Corcora

February 3, 2010

I had a great time in Manizales with Adolfo. It was fun to walk around together, and nice to get to know him a bit (finally! we’d been so busy we did not have much time to talk until yesterday)

Today he wanted to visit a friend in Periera…we decided to ride together to Periera, but I was undecided about what to do… Adolfo had three weeks to toodle around Colombia and Ecuador, and I needed to head south if I was going to beat the Penguins to Tierra del Fuego.

Off we went back down the mountain…

PEAJE.

PEAJE.

There is a crazy moto-culture here…they are like swarming gnats everywhere you go. They have about the same flight patterns as gnats too–you really have to be careful!

Downtown Periera, where we wait to meet Adolfo’s friend.

I am invited to stay, I toy with the idea., but in the end I feel the need to keep moving so I shove off.

But not before  going to the town square and seeing the famous “Bolivar Desnudo” — the only nude sculpture of Bolivar (riding a horse–ouch!)

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I am off, and alone again.

I go get gas, and do a little deferred maintenance: chain lube, tire pressure, etc. make sure I am good to go.

It actually feelt quite good to be riding solo again..I like. I like. Adolfo did spoil me, but I’d adjusted to doing everything MY way, and I don’t know. It was really nice to have company, and it was also nice to be alone again.

I rode for a little over two hours and stopped for lunch just north of Armenia…

I had a plate of yummy bananas…

and this stew concoction that was a highlight of my trip so far!

while having lunch, I whipped out the Lonely Planet book and read about this cool little Valley–Valle de Corcora. It sounded like a cool place to go, and since I was now riding solo, I could choose to change directions again. I did.

And I was treated to the most spectacular little valley / nature preserve / wildest was palm landscape you’d ever want to visit. I was in heaven.

Thescenery just took my breath away.

Milk day!

I rode to the end of the dirt road (well, as far as I wanted to go on it…)

There are all sorts of tourtic opportunities…Jeep rides, horseback rides way up into the Valley, etc.

I opted for a coffee at this place instead.

And while I was pouring over my maps retying to make myself move on when I really did nto FEEL like it, Bruno comes up and says hello.

Bruno and his wife Nathalie are on their honeymoon…they are Brazilian, living in Switzerland, married almost a year ago, and now are traveling 6+ months around South America on this little motorcycle. (Wait ’til youu see it PACKED in a few days…)

Theya are absolutely lovely, and we communicate in a variety of Spanish, Portugese, English and German. It works, and they tell me about the incredible finca they are staying at…and offer to lead me there.

The road is a little rough Bruno says…

Well, it was pure hell on a heavily loaded bike, and at one point Bruno had to PUSH me & bike up a rocky incline over the river (the other one we forded) .

Luckily Nathalie opened all the gates.

Well we finally get there and I tell him I am not leaving. I mean, that  he has to ride with me back out to the main road because with my overloaded bike I do not have the guts to  do it solo. He laughs (I’m serious!)

Then the mikman comes.

Bruno tells the farmer his wife needs a job (I do not understand until I take the pic)

These wee ones are chained out front of our rooms. (Not especially clean but the view is to-die-for!!!)

So here’s my view from my room.

Worth $15.00/night including breakfast?

It was soooooooooo peaceful here.  Bruno and Nathalie went back into town (I asked them to bring me dinner–no WAY was I riding down that driveway again until i had to leave!) I couldn;t really work, I just sat on my bed and looked at the amazing view. AND took som pictures for you to enjoy.

Ah, breakfast the next day. How delightful that they serve you a WHOLE BOWL of coffee! I saw the kitchen and refused to eat the breakfast (snuck it to the dogs) but I figured tthe coffee wouldn’t hurt me…

I was sad to leave. Beautiful, eh?

I stopped in the little town of Solento and took some pics…

This one’s for Adolfo…

Then a little further down the valley I stopped for breakfast.

Well, I was as enchanted with these folks as they were with me…I tried jugo de panela ( sightly processed sugar cane hot drink) for the first time, ate some rice and empanadas and had another coffee for $1.50 PLUS I got a tour of the kitchen.

What a great way to start the day. Super nice folks.

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