Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Parque Nacional de Cafe, Columbia

The next day we spent at the Parque Nacional de Café. This is a big somewhat Disney World type park, but very scenic. It was built on the side of a hill on a coffee plantation. We bought a ticket at our Finca which didn’t include the amusement park section/ rides. It did include entrance, the coffee exhibits, Coffee Show, Orchid Show, the gondola and the train ride. This was perfect and took us most of the day.
At the entrance was a tower from which we got a lovely view of the countryside and the whole park. In the picture here you can see the sculptures which illustrate the farmers and their wives planting, harvesting and processing the coffee as they did for generations.
As we walked down the hill this process is demonstrated and an English speaking young woman was our guide. She was charming and we really enjoyed her company, and that of the many other Columbians that stopped us to talk. Everyone was so delighted to see foreign tourists visiting their country! Children, studying english in school asked if they could help us in any way.

We waited in line for the Coffee show for 45 minutes but talked to people the whole time. It was really a party. One family in particular were so nice. The oldest son had spent time studying in the states and their daughter, although at first shy, had a great time practicing her english.
The show was terrific, basically a variety show: traditional dances and songs by a talented group of incredibly energetic young men and women. The orchid show however, unless we had our grandchildren with us (wish we did) was a little boring (animatronics orchids singing and speaking in Spanish).

We enjoyed the train ride around the park. Two comedians put on a fun performance as we waited at the station. They recruited Scott into the act - a good choice as he eats this stuff up! Then three funny and riotous musicans played while we chugged along. The day went by quickly and after a lovely gondola ride back up the hill we were back on the road heading through the city of Armenia to Pereira for the night. (continued in the next entry)

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