Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Restful, Magical Minca
I recently returned from 4 nights and 5 days totally away from the internet up in the mountains above the little town of Minca.
Upon arrival in Minca (a one hour crazy bumpy drive from Taganga and the coast), I stored my luggage at Cafe de Minca (for $1), and took off for a hike with some German girls I met right away at the cafe. I had 5 hours to spare before my hosts could meet me. We hiked to Pozo Azul, a beautuful pool collected at the bottom of numerous waterfalls. We swam in the the cool refreshing water, no one else in sight.
Back at the cafe, we each had most amazing tall coffee frappachinos with crumbled oreo on top and I ran into the woman from Tazmania, Australia, Katerina, I'd met in Salento and had Thanksgiving with! We made plans for the next day. Cafe de Minca is a lovely oasis with handcrafts, an assortment of clothing (had to buy a dress from there even though it was way overpriced, its very original), gifts, coffee, jams, art, chocolate and a book exchange, and a wonderful comraderie of locals, expats and like minded travelers!
At 5pm, my ride arrived - Eugenio and Anna with 4 mules to take me up to their coffee farm. We rode the mules 45 minutes up a steep mountain path, arriving after dark. The smell of cilantro wafting through the air, stirred up by the mules who would snatch a bite at every chance. My entire stay at the coffee farm was quite magical. Numerous travelers and volunteers from around the world came and went and shared food. Anna cooked outstanding, typical colombian fare with a farm fresh flair. Delicious fruit juice from organic fruit on the farm - bananas, mango, papaya, lemonade, moras (rasberry like berries), passion fruit. Organic fresh coffee from the farm. Eggs with farm grown tomatoes and onions basically every morning, with some concoction of fried green platanoes. For dinner: coconut rice, salad or russian salad (cubed potatoes, peas, green beans, onions with either chicken or tuna; fish, chicken soup, meatballs and vegies over noodles or rice, vegetable/bean soup. Sometimes followed by organic hot chocolate. Each meal only cost $5 and breakfast was included in my $15 private rustic room.
Touci, the baby Toucan was always around for meals. He was quite the cheeky creature. Long thin butterfly like toungue to drink up any leftover juice. He would make a clicky sound with his beak that sounded like a cat purring whenever you stroked his neck.
There was also a mischievous 6 month old dog named Mona, female monkey in Spanish, the 4 mules of course, and an assortment of chickens for fresh eggs.
Most mornings I would wake up to sun, then the rain showers would arrive in the afternoon, followed by clearing and the lights of Santa Marta sparkling far below. The climate was delicious and refreshing. One day, I walked down the mountain to Minca to visit Katrina at her hostel, called Oscar's place. Another amazing oasis with views and a stone inground pool, owned by a Colombian named Oscar who'd lived in California for years, and now owned 70 acres of minca forest he was on a mission to protect from destruction. The rain torrented down all afternoon so I was trapped, what an amazing location to be trapped in :) Minca is the type of place that inspires creativity, where your heart can open back up. As I was sitting with the rain, poetic thoughts started forming.
While I wait for the rain to stop.
Always waiting for something, it seems.
I'd like to just be with the rain, no waiting.
As it slows, then pounds down again,
Decreasing to a trickle, then flooding the view,
In sheets over the mountains, solid, fickle.
Only the sound of cascading water,
The percussion of the jungle.
Slowing to a standstill, and sanding of wood,
Can be heard now from nearby.
No where to be, but with the rain.
Happy to be dry watching, listening.
The plants soaking it all up, glistening.
Clouds dispersing the blue pale sky.
Cool misty air moistening face.
I'll make it back up the mountain,
Without a single care now,
Cleaned out with the rain fall.
I had to hike back almost at dark when it stopped.
The last day, I went on the coffee tour included in my stay. It was the most in depth coffee tour I've experienced. The farm has been in Eugenio's family for 4 generations. It has survived the time when the FARC was in control and Eugenio's father was forced to pay them half his income or die, and most of the farms were required to grow drugs in addition to their normal crops.
On my last morning, Eugenio took my luggage down by mule, but I walked since the trail had become dangerously slippery to ride down. When I got into Minca proper, I again stored my luggage in order to explore. I hiked up to the Cascada de Marinka, a beautiful high waterfall. Then I went to the Lazy Cat Cafe for a delicious salad and cheese cake. So many of the restaurants in Minca are organic. Its quite a cute, artistic town. If I had to choose somewhere to live in Colombia, it would be Minca. Needless to say, I was sad to leave!