Spending the day at lovely Hacienda El Paraiso... and of course also tried traditional food :P
Santa Elena Travel Blog› entry 7 of 15 › view all entries
October 24th, 2009 – by: yadilitta
If the driver was old, the taxi was older and the stereo even older! hahaha. I don't remember when was the last time I saw a stereo with a tape recorder whit a tape in it! We weren't listening to it, but it looked like if it was working recently, pfff.
After a 15min drive, we arrived to "Hacienda Paraiso". It was what I expected: a lovely and big white hacienda. Why did I want to visit it? Well, there's a famous Colombian writer, who wrote a romantic novel - which I had to read when I was in highschool - in this hacienda. The novel takes place here. Actually it was an autobiographic novel. The name of the novel is "Maria" which is also how people in the area know this place.
The entrance includes a tour through the hacienda, which is only available in Spanish, but the last group had already left. So let's wait 10min until the next one leaves. No problem. Ok, it was time to leave. The guide was telling us the story of the hacienda, each room had a story related to the novel, that was nice! But it wasn't only about the novel, but also about the customs in Colombia back in those days.
The tour lasted about 1 hour, but you are able to stay there as long as you want just enjoying the view of the valley, the lovely gardens and the peace of the area. The guy was mentioning so many details about of the novel and I remembered most of them, but not all of them. For a moment I felt tempted to go back home and read the book again, but then I remembered how boring it was and decide to keep the good memories, hahaha. Well, it was time to start the way back to Cali. Most of the people drive here, so if you are driving a cab it'd be a good idea to arrange them to pick you up or wait for you. I didn't have any idea how long it'd take to visit the hacienda, so I didn't arrange anything and deep inside I was hopping I'd be lucky to find a cab ;)
Ok, it was time lunch time! It was early and place was empty. I was a bit scared this would be a tourist trap, pffff. Anyway, there weren't many other options nearby. So, just cross fingers. Gulp! The waiter came with the advertised complimentary wine. Well, it was a local wine which was red and very sweet, not the best for my taste. But I was trying something local. Of course it wasn't a glass, but a mini glass. Well, let me check the menu :P
The plan was to eat just local food and it included the drinks, so we got a local fruit juice: lulo! no milk please, and for me no sugar also ;) The waiter left the menu, so I could study it. Then he came back with the juices and complimentary patacon pisa'o (a long and thin pasty of fried plantain) with hoga'o (a sauce made with chopped onions and tomatoes - similar to the pomodoro).
I got the traditional "Sancocho Valleucano", which includes a soup with yuca and plantain. The chicken was brought in another dish, with some salad, rice and potato. Wow! that was a lot of food. I tried the soup and was ok, but missing some flavor for me... The chicken was just boiled and had some of the tasty hoga'o sauce, but added some aji (spicy) to make it tastier :P Shawn got the "Arroz Atollado" which has rice. It's similar to a risotto and includes meat, veggies. It looked good, but I'm not a big fan of rice... although I love how the food was served, in a small pot, how sweet. Did I eat everything? No, it was too much. Just finished the chicken, salad and had 2 spoons of the soup.
Although I didn't eat much of my dish, I ate almost the whole plantain hahaha. So, I was full too... well, this time we'd go walk to the bus stop. It wouldn't be difficult to find our way, there was just one road... at least I thought so... I was taking pics and saw a small fire fighter truck. How cute! Hey! the firefighters are not playing they are extinguishing a real fire! Kept on walking and wanted some water, but no change!
Ok, just keep on walking a bit more.
Then I saw there were more stores... we were near the main square of the town.
Back to the square, take a shared cab and go to the bus stop. The lady was right, that wasn't a short walk and I realized I did a wrong turn at some point, actually didn't turn. Oh well, it was 2:30 when we arrived to the bus stop. This bus stop was popular, just waited 5 min for a bus going to Cali. There were available seats. Bus wasn't brand new but was comfy, cheap and most important going to Cali.
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