Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Filandia, Colombia

One of the best meals I have enjoyed in Colombia was in Filandia. It is a short 2 bus rides from Salento and worth the trip. I wish I had found this little gem of a town early in my trip. Filandia is adorable with a beautiful town square and brightly painted building with balconies. I loved Salento but knowing what I know now, I would have spent more time here.

My friends (Georgie and Mosan who were also my roommates) went with me for the day. We took the Pereira bound bus to the Punta de Salento, crossed the highway and waited for a Filandia bus. A half an hour later, we were in the tranquil village of Filandia. As we got off the bus we noticed a particular table at one of the restaurants. I stopped and smiled at the table and asked if I could take a photo. The men agreed and wanted me to join them. 
The three of these men had started the day off with beers! Twenty-one beers later and it was lunch time. Georgie and Mosan came back and laughed as the men tried to persuade us to join them for a drink. We all declined but thanked them for the invite. Maybe later. 

We started walking towards the mirador. As we looked out, a fierce thunderstorm rolled in. We stood under an overhang and talked to Eduardo (a man we had met in Salento) about the area. He told us to have fun and offered us a ride back to Salento. Fantastic! Eduardo told us to meet him in the square at 4:30pm if we wanted a ride. How nice of him! 

We decided to go to lunch at Helena Adentro. A friend had told us they had fantastic food- I was excited! We found the restaurant and were ecstatic with the menu. They had so many dishes we wanted to try and we only had this one meal. Everything is sold as tapas. We salivated at the menu. Fish tacos. Rabbit.  Yucca. Mmmm!  We finally chose 4 vegetarian tapas to share. 

We started with patacones (smashed plantains that were baked) and accompanied with a tomato chili sauce and sour cream. The best patacones I have eaten in Colombia! 
Next was eggplant with caramelized onions and goat cheese on baguettes. 
 We devoured these and ate up the yucca stuffed with cheese, roasted red peppers and sour cream. The final plate was a corn and bean salad. It was perfection! The owner/chef said I could return anytime for a cooking class. As we talked he told me he could really use a chemist on his coffee farm. Hmmmm...I am liking these opportunities. I told him I would have to think about it. I would like to live in Colombia. The people are so nice and happy. 

We walked around town and looked at the shops. Unfortunately, the grounds of the mirador were closed due to renovation. It came to a halt because indigenous remains were found in the land and the city had to figure out what to do next. As we walked, we passed drying laundry. I take a lot of pics of laundry drying around the world. This is one of my favorites.
We returned to the town square and were stopped by a tv crew. They wanted us to answer a few questions about travel I. Colombia. Why not? I made my television debut speaking in Spanish! I was asked what I liked about the region. I  responded the landscape is breathtaking, the architecture is beautiful but the people are my favorite. Everyone is nice , happy and welcoming. I laughed when Mosan told that he loved the old men drinking in the bars and playing tejo! Mosan and I felt confident that they would use Georgie's because she speaks Spanish better than the two of us! We were given the website to watch our video later that night. 

Afterwards, we sat down at a bar to wait for Eduardo. We saw him across the plaza talking with the tv crew. When he saw us he walked over and asked if we were the gringos that they interviewed. Yes! Then he wanted to know who said the liked the old men drinking in the bars! Ha, ha! Mosan would be in tv! He loved it and wanted to know if we were ready to go. The ride back was fast and Eduardo dropped us off at our corner. We all thanked him and walked back to our house. 

We tried to find our tv interviews/video but had no luck. We figured they had cut us out of the program, until we talked to my butcher friend! We were walking past his shop and he came over to shake our hands. We were famous! He had watched us in tv last night. He repeated what each of us had said! Wow! We had all talked favorably about this beautiful region.
Mosan and the local men discussing our tv interviews.

Filandia was a great day trip and would be someplace I could live. The town is quaint and beautiful and the people were wonderful. 

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