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6 – Serendipity

25 October, 2011

serendipity, or the art to ride unexpected roads

serendipity is when someone finds something that they weren’t expecting to find, a “happy accident” or a “pleasant surprise”. Colombo discovered America while he was trying an alternative way to reach India. To me is also one of this moment when suddenly everything align and you feel in tune with the entire universe.

I had a moment of serendipity like that, after a week of strenuous travels, on Saturday morning in Parque de la Vida in Armenia. It was a splendid sunny day, the Park a little jewel, with enchanting view of the valley, an artificial lake, a platform in the middle where a couple of people where practicing tai chi, a bamboo wood. I sat on bench, pull out my kindle, I started reading and few minutes later I stopped and enjoyed my instant of serendipity, which has come to made me in peace with the world, and led me to say that Armenia is just too pleasant place for not coming back.

In San Agustin I stayed for three days, being active outdoor, but without connecting deeply with the place. Nothing of the magic aura more than one has talked me about. My first day I did a jeep tour, visiting a waterfall I forgot the name, but our 11 years old guide told us is the third of all South America in drop, and the surely more impressive Alto de Mortinos, whose difference in altitude is only 170 mt, but straight and observable from a little bridge not suited for who suffers vertigo.

On day two I walk in the Archaeological Park, honestly nothing special, and on my last day, the one I enjoyed the most, I did a horse trip across beautiful landscapes and looking at the most intriguing sculptures in the site of El Tablon.

Unaccustomed to ride, the trip left me signs, in the form of a blister there, in the zone cyclist like to call soprasella, plus another graze on my calf, caused by the friction of the footboard and the fleas who left me their marks on hands and wrists. War trophy’s that were adding to the abrasions created by the wind caught traveling on the jeep roof more than by the sun, anyway strong and without any protection stronger, that burnt my neck, nose and front.

The same day at 1pm I took a bus to Neiva, where I was supposed to catch another one to Tatacoa desert and get the pleasure of a sky free from pollution and full of stars. Arrived right after 5pm I found out there was no transport for the day to Villavieja, the gateway of the desert, and I was stuck in the hot, and for the little I saw, creepy town of Neiva.

That missed bus was the origin of my first moment of serendipity and changed my travel, because in the desert I wouldn’t be able to connect to internet, instead that evening I chatted on Facebook with L. who told me she was going to spend the weekend in Bolivar, her native village three-hour North of Cali and by coincidence, on the road of my way back. So I couldn’t let go the occasion to visit a pueblo completely off the beaten path, especially with a local beauty taking care of me.

On Friday morning, favored in my decision by the fact I woke up aching from the after-effect of my horse trip and the sky was covered by big black clouds who were promising no more than rain, which would have made my night in the desert worthless, I opted to move to Armenia, so to avoid the risk of missing my date on Saturday night.

And even leaving Neiva at 10.30 I would reach my destination only at 8.30 pm, between a setback and another, that when you take a bus in Colombia is the only certain fact, that extended my travel time more than 3 hours late on schedule. In Armenia I put my base in a new beautiful Hostel in the Zona Rosa (so it is named in Latin American the neighborhood where nightlife is concentrated), where there was only one guest more. So, even if the streets looked lively, exhausted for the long travel, I decided to enjoy that beautiful house all for me, sitting on a very comfortable sofa, diving my time between tv and pc, chips and beers.

On Saturday morning, finally rested, I took a stroll and the good feeling with the city increased little by little until the moment of pure serendipity in the Park. Armenia and the zona cafetera are enchanting, and I have the clear sensation there is lot more, and probably better, than Salento and Cocora Valley, where all the tourist flood. I am seriously thinking now of cancel my two weeks in the Ecuatorian beaches I planned for the end of November and instead take my time to explore the area I liked most in Colombia, which also happen to be also easily reachable from Cali.

In this case I should be very careful not to pass in Ricaurte, because I am at high risk to find myself again to act as a bullfighter, sombrero on my had and red cloth waved to the cars passing by, to invite people at MeZon de Lina, the only restaurant in all valley where there is a table reserved for the Unfaithful.

Tools & Tricks

Expense account . In my firsts years of full-time traveler I used to note every cent I spent, partly because I didn’t want to spend more than my monthly income (easy task despite my wage in Milan would allow me little more than the basics, in most of the countries I have been I lived like a king and even saved money) and mostly out of curiosity and a statistic to share with other travelers on a budget. I abandoned this habit some time ago to avoid being obsessed with money, nevertheless I recommend to do it to everyone start traveling for and I for this week.

Guide to Armenia and zona cafetera

The Serendipity of travel. That’s funny. This is also about serendipity of traveling.

Public place where I wrote
Not exactly a public place, I wrote this post mainly in my room in Hostal Murgal, while waiting for L.


From → Uncategorized

  1. And what about this L?
    Wasn’t the most interesting part of the whole experience? 🙂

    Colombia is amazing, I thought I’ve seen a lot but still there’s so much left!

    • L. i talked to her yesterday after many months! Her restaurant closed unfortunately, maybe not enough unfaithful over there (giggling), but she is a great gal

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