Colombia…Coffee, Butterflies, and Birds, oh my!

Today Kim and John continued to explore the coffee triangle region. Their guide Sergio picked them up at 9:00 am and they headed to their first stop….the coffee “theme park” of Recuca.

At RECUCA visitors take on the role of a Coffee grower, learning the coffee process from the seed to the cup. It’s a working farm that diversified into an educational experience. Kim and John learned a lot….and participated in some of the activities….a bit cheesy, but who doesn’t like a little cheese once in a while. Lol 😀👍. There are pictures to prove it.

So, what did they learn about Colombian coffee?

It’s all hand picked…the terrain is so hilly, machines can’t be used

Coffee at higher altitudes taste sweeter

It takes 18 months from seed to first harvest

The coffee that is exported is not roasted…countries roast according to their taste.

Coffee in Colombia is milder…..John prefers stronger Canadian coffee

Their guide likes to say “good coffee doesn’t need sugar, bad coffee doesn’t deserve it”. Lol

Coffee production in Colombia has a reputation as producing mild, well-balanced coffee beans.Colombia’s average annual coffee production of 11.5 million bags is the second total highest in the world, after Brazil, The beans are exported to United States, Germany, France, Japan, and Italy. In 2011, UNESCO declared the “Coffee Cultural Landscape” of Colombia, a World Heritage site.

Beautiful landscape…coffee farm

They have diversified into growing plantains..which provide shade for the coffee as well as additional income

Educational tour

Their amazing guide

Stages of the bean growing process

Coffee plants….beans are still green…when they are red they are ready to harvest

Hmmmm…ready to go and pick beans?

More Willy’s

That’s one loaded Willy!

John said “who are those old people? Lol!

When to drink coffee? All day long…..😀👍

Next stop….the Jardin Botanico Del Quindio. This is a non profit conservation area that has over 600 species of plants, including many different palms, and orchids. It also has a butterfly house with over 1500 butterflies, representing 50 different species. Did you know that Colombia has the 2 nd highest number oF butterfly species in the world? First is Perú 🙂

These butterflies like to land on people

Kim and John also loved seeing all of the birds here…Colombia has the highest number of bird species in the world. Kim said it’s so beautiful….lots of different colours and sizes….they are everywhere. They’ve seen egrets,ibis, hummingbirds, toucans, blue jays, warblers……too many to name, and they couldn’t if they tried! Kim wishes she had the right camera lens to take pictures….but the birds are also pretty fast….they are hard to take pictures of!

Well, looks like their time in the coffee region has come to an end. They said to give this region paws up. 🐾

Tomorrow is a travel day and they fly to the city of Medellin. Stay tuned folks!

Touring Coffee Country Columbia

Well folks, after a quick tour of Bogota, Kim and John hopped on a plane and took a short flight to the city of Pereira. They were picked up at the airport and taken to their hotel in the countryside. They are now in coffee country, where it is very lush and beautiful. There are birds everywhere…Kim said it is surreal.

View from their terrace

The next day their guide arrived at 9:00 and they headed out to explore the region. First step was the Unesco town of Finlandia. A beautiful town with flower fringed balconies and painted walls, doors and window shutters. It has amazing, maintained colonial architecture.

The lush landscape
Graffiti art in Finlandia
Hand painted artisan work…Kim may have bought something.
Unesco site, colonial architecture
Finlandia square

There are a lot of jeeps in this region. Willy’s were donated after the war and became mechanical mules, transporting coffee along the mountainous roads. What took days for transporting, now took hours. They also use the jeeps today as cheap taxis. They saw some restored ones in the towns. Kim said jeeps are cool…she has one you know. She would like the Willy….do they have them in Canada?

Next they stopped for lunch and it was delicious. Trout salmon….that’s a new one for me, and you know I love fish! It was a trout, that was pink like a salmon inside. Before their lunch arrived, they tried a shot of fire water and rum. They aren’t hard liquor drinkers….Kim has that written all over her face. Lol

After lunch, they went and planted a wax palm tree. They said if it survives the first 11 days, it will be transplanted and hopefully in hundreds of years, it will grow like the others in the area….to over 60 meters. Paws crossed. 🐶👍

Nest stop…they went horseback riding in the beautiful Cocora Valley. Kim said this was the best day ever. The scenery was amazing and wax palms over 60 meters tall were all over the hillside. They saw a lot of birds, including vultures, hawks, parakeets and a toucanito…..you know, a small Toucan 😉

Touring with their guide Sergio

Toucanita

After their tour of the valley, they wrapped up the day with a stop at the town of Salento, another beautiful coffee village.

Arepas….stuffed corn cake with cheese, topped with honey and butter

Award winning coffee
Delicious espresso

Kim took lots of pictures and they stopped to try the Columbian food, at bakeries, coffee shops, fruit shops, and street vendors…..no surprises here folks!

Pineapple pie
John loves bakeries!

Step 1….Cleanse your palate with water, step 2 drink the espresso, step 3 eat the chocolate
They even convert the Willy to a coffee shop!

Kim and John already say everyone should come to Colombia. The people are amazing, the cities, towns and countryside are incredible, and the food is awesome too! And….they still have 2 weeks to go!

Life is one big adventure. Enjoy your day folks! Stay tuned….

And they are off! Beautiful Bogota Colombia

Hi everyone! Teddy here 💕💗🐶

Well, you know if I’m blogging, my people are off travelling and on another adventure 😀🐶🐶🐶. Si, es verdad! (Yes, it’s true). This time they are off exploring Colombia and we three furry kids are staying at our friend Marge’s. So, lots of people asked Kim and John “why Colombia?”. Well…why not? Lol! I think we might find out over the next couple of weeks as their adventures take them from Bogota to Cartagena ….stay tuned!

They left on Thursday with a bit of a puddle jumper flight….Saskatoon to Minneapolisi, to New York and finally Bogota…..that was a long day. The last leg of their flight was interesting….lots of turbulence. John said it can’t be good when the pilot comes on the speaker and in a panicked voice says “ sit down and put your seatbelt on for your safety,”. It was a roller coaster and Kim came out of her seat! But they made it safe and sound, and the driver was ready to pick them up and take them to the hotel. They arrived at 1 am….time to sleep!

The next day was an early start at 9 am. The driver and guide picked them up. They had a lot in store for their private tour today…..they toured the city of Bogota, the gold museum, the historic square, and did a bit of shopping for emeralds….

A bit about this big city

Bogotá is Colombia’s sprawling, high-altitude capital. La Candelaria, its cobblestoned center, features colonial-era landmarks like the neoclassical performance hall Teatro Colón and the 17th-century Iglesia de San Francisco. It’s also home to popular museums including the Museo Botero, showcasing Fernando Botero’s art, and the Museo del Oro, displaying pre-Columbian gold pieces.

First stop on this tour:

Monserrate a high Mountain over 10,000 feet high that dominates the city center of Bogotá. It rises to 3,152 metres (10,341 ft) above the sea level, where there is a church (built in the 17th century) with a shrine.

Well folks, this is an interesting place to start because altitude is not Kim’s friend…..she felt the effects right away when the plane landed. But, she knows to go slow, and she loves this part of the day. Beautiful trees and flowers.

Waiting to head up on the funicular

This is a pilgrimage space, part of which has the stations of the cross. The statutes are from Florence, Italy

Colombia is the second most biodiverse country, the first is Brazil

Just one example of the gorgeous flowers

A newer church on the top, built in 1930’s

Heading back down

Heading back down…looking pretty smoggy

View from the top

Here’s something that was new to Kim….Colombia has up to 90% of the worlds emerald market. Can you say time to shop? Lol. Their guide Caesar took them to some reputable places to browse. You have to be careful here, lots of tourism means you can get scammed. So, with some help Kim is bringing back an emerald ring….she didn’t break the bank because she said you can buy ones for thousands of dollars….yikes!

Where Kim bought her ring…and the lady that helped her spend her money. Lol

Checking out what is for sale ….you can buy raw stones in the square, but you need to know what you are looking for…tourists and scams might go together….it was interesting to see

The emerald trade center….where you think you are buying one gem, and they may swap it out for a piece of glass when you purchase it…buyer beware

Next stop was the gold museum. If you come here, Kim says you must do that. Now, she isn’t really a museum person, but she loved this one and they spend a couple of hours here…

The museum displays a selection of pre-Columbian gold and other metal alloys, such as Tumbaga, and contains the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world in its exhibition rooms on the second and third floors. Together with pottery, stone, shell, wood and textile objects, these items, made of a– to indigenous cultures – sacred metal, testify to the life and thought of the different societies which lived in present-day Colombia before the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

Last but not least, they wandered through downtown and headed to the old colonial town-La Candelaria. They could only go into the old cathedral. All the other municipal buildings that are still in use were closed due to expected protests. Protests happen weekly here. People are unhappy with their corrupt government, and are wanting change. The police were out, but Kim and John didn’t see any activity. They have seen this before, in Peru.

Buying Colombian fruit

This fruit was very starchy like a potato. You put honey and or salt on it

Municipal square

Waiting for the demonstrations

Last but not least, they finished off their day at a great restaurant called Andre DC. A great recommendation by their guide….you know they like their food. Lol

Kim just found her happy place! Cab sav and a side of strawberries

Ceviche

Colombian arepas

Their 86 page menu

You can’t go to Latin America and not have tres leches. Delicious

A very busy day! Kim is trying out her Spanish….lots of folks in Colombia don’t speak English, so she is trying to pick her Spanish back up again quickly. She said it is fun though. O mi Dios! (Oh my god).

They are off to their next destination on Saturday. A quick flight to coffee country!

Later folks! Have a pawsome day and May your life be full of adventures! 🐶🐶🐶❤️💕💗

Road trip to the Happiest Place on Earth

Well folks…..Kim and John decided if they are so close to Los Angeles they should get in the car and go for a drive…..so they headed out after a quick stop at the outlet mall just outside of Palm Springs. They wanted to miss rush hour traffic, because they were told it could take up to 4 hours to get there! So they left Palm Springs about 11:00 in the morning and headed out.

John’s good friend Rob lives in LA, so they gave him a call and they met up in Santa Monica. They went to a cool local coffee spot, and then headed for a walk down the Venice Beach Boardwalk….cool people watching opportunity! Lots of interesting street artists, shops, and of course a beautiful beach…John thought that was the best part! They also went to a great restaurant for dinner….and headed to Anaheim around 7:00….

The next morning, they got up early and headed to Disneyland! They started with brunch at the Plaza Inn, inside the park. Lots of food! And they took some pictures with the characters. Kim isn’t very good at selfies. Lol….but John was getting food, so she did her best!

They had a great, busy day….it wasn’t too crazy with people, Kim said…they were able to see everything they wanted to and went on almost all of the rides. Kim’s favorite was guardian of the galaxy, and John’s was the incredicoaster. They had supper at a restaurant in downtown Disney at the BlackTap craft Burgers….they both liked their burgers!

They left Disney at 7:00 and drove the 1 and a half hours back…missing traffic,😜

So folks, that brings this vacation to an end….but you know, they already have the next one planned…stay tuned…

Kim said it’s hard to pick favourites from her trip, but she gave it a go…..things to do when in Palm Springs….

Restaurants…

Woody’s Palm house….great live music and food..on the appetizer menu, try the beef brisket, scallops, and spinach,artichoke dip

Shanghai Red…calamari, ciopinni

Tommy Bahamas…Cuban sandwich, tuna tacos

Pieros pizza….pizza 😀

Eight4Nine…a bit pricey, but good food…beef tenderloin, ahi tuna

Experiences

RetroRoom for Diva show

Modern and More bike tour

Indian canyon….palm canyon hike

Joshua Tree National Park

Kim loved these stores in Downtown Palm Springs

Greetings….fun place with lots of cards, small gifts

Destination PSP great Palm Springs memorabilia, inspired by mid century modern style

That’s it folks! Until next time! Hugs and kisses

Hiking in deserts and oasis…..and a drag queen show?

Hi folks…..when in Palm Springs, there are things Kim says you must do. Definitely explore the outdoors. There are some pretty big changes in the scenery all around….from hot desert, to cool Palm Oasis. So, today was the day that they decided to put on the hiking shoes and hit the great outdoors.

First stop was the Tahquitz Canyon, a short 10 minute drive from their hotel. A bit of info on the canyon…

Tahquitz Canyon is one of the most beautiful and culturally sensitive areas of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation. Tahquitz Canyon is home to a spectacular seasonal 60-foot waterfall, rock art, ancient irrigation systems, native wildlife, and plants

Next stop….Indian Canyon. Again, close to town, Kim and John loved this place. There are a lot of trails here, they walked the Palm Canyon one, which is a big oasis of huge Palm Trees…they said it looked surreal, like a set from Disneyland.

Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the areas of great beauty in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla people so expertly used, and its abundant Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) are breathtaking contrasts to the stark rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. A moderately graded foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking near the stream, meditation, exploring, hiking or horseback riding.

Now, they didn’t do 15 miles….not enough time…. but they did 3 and were amazed at the scenery.

They ended their evening with a drive to Pioneertown to eat at Pappy and Harriet’s. This is a pretty famous bar b q, live music spot 30 miles from Palm Springs. Some pretty famous people, like Paul McCartney have just “shown up” and played on stage….no luck last night. They said the food was pretty good…if you go, have the ribs. All food is made to order and cooked on the mesquite grill. They didn’t stick around for the band….John wanted dessert….so back to downtown Palm Springs with a stop at Brandini Toffee. This place has a pretty cool story about a local kid that started the company and how Oprah and Martha Stewart influenced the success of the place. Great toffee!

Oh yeah….the drag queens! Well folks Kim might have been a bit tired before she started hiking….might have been the wine and the partying at The RetroRoom. Every Saturday night they have a diva drag queen show. They loved this! It was very entertaining and something they say you must do when you are here. There are lots of different places to take in shows. They liked this one because it was in a small bar, and every seat is a good one!

That’s it for Palm Springs folks! They are going to take a scenic route called palms to pines today, on their way to Los Angelas. Tomorrow they will see everyone’s favorite mouse….Mickey. I don’t really like mice 😀🐶🐶🐶

Later folks, have a pawsitive day!

Feeding giraffes in the desert

Howdy folks! Today Kim and John decided to explore the greater Palm Springs area. Palm Springs is connected, literally to a bunch of other towns…no gap between. After breakfast they headed to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. This park has 2 main exhibits…Africa and North America. Kim isn’t too sure how she feels about zoos……this one is also a conservation centre, and John wanted to feed the giraffes, so an exception was made. They enjoyed feeding the giraffes…they were pretty amazing Kim said. And, it was a pretty nice place….good educational experiences and the money raised goes back to conservation.

Mexican wolf or littlest hobo?

Road runner beep beep

Check out the size of that tongue

After the zoo, the road trip continued to a date farm….hmmmm….more like a store attached to a farm…no tours to be had here…..but you know how they are….John had a date milkshake and they bought a few date bars. Kim thought they were really good…all natural ingredients…nuts, seeds, dates coconut, pumpkin and no sugar….sounds good to me!


How could I forget? Before they made it to this date store in Thermal, they stopped at the town of Rancho Mirage. A quick stroll down El Paseo Drive, and time for lunch at an Italian place called Piero’s PizzaVino….John said it was really good, and you know he likes his pizza!

They made one more stop in Old Quinta, before heading back to their hotel. Pretty packed day I think! Tomorrow might be a shopping day in the outlet stores….and then more hiking on Sunday. Someone told me they may go to Disneyland on Tuesday….lucky guys!

Levi, Frazier and I are having a good time at Marge’s. She always takes great care of us…we are so lucky 🐶🐶🐶

Later folks! 🤗💗💕❤️

Cruising the neighbourhoods of Palm Springs

Hi everyone 🐶🐶🐶

Today was a lazy day for Kim and John. After breakfast at their hotel, they jumped in the car and headed out to their meeting spot for a bike tour. Kim found this tour on air B and B experiences. It is a pretty new tour company, with 11 reviews, but it looked good, so she booked it!

It was called “modern and more bike tours. They had a lazy, easy bike ride through the neighbourhoods of Deepwell Estates, Twin Palms, and Indian Canyon. Along the way, the guide, Brennan, stopped and discussed the architecture of the homes. The homes were designed by William Krisel, Charles Dubois and built by the Alexander Construction Company.

Kim loved this tour…she loves the mid century construction, and she said the weather was just perfect. It was an easy bike tour, and the neighbourhoods were beautiful and quiet…..and you know her, she took tons of photos.

The rest of the afternoon was spent back at the Monkey Tree Hotel. Pool time! Kim said, if there is a flamingo floaty thing, you have to take advantage of it. Lol….I think she might be right. They finished off their night at the Palm Springs village fest in downtown and dinner at Woodys….which gets a thumbs up…..great burger!

That’s it for today! Later folks!💗🤗 teddy