Cock of the Rock

Father and Son (from my photo series of “A Story of the Very Important Sweets”) @ Main Plaza, Jardín

Gallito de la Roca @ Jardín

Old Mates @ Main Plaza, Jardín

The bus to Jardin from Manizales was a bit rough. We knew it was going to be rough as the conductor handed our plastic bags to everyone as we pulled away. We immediately drugged ourselves with Dramamine and four hours later we arrived in the beautiful little town of Jardín. I clearly can’t handle my Dramamine as I was so sleepy and could barely life my arms for about six hours, lucky I don’t do hard drugs.

The little town of Jardín is stunningly beautiful, very quaint and very welcoming. The main square is a hub of activity and as we sat and people watched from our balcony at “Jardin es Tuyo” (a very Catholic heavy decorated guesthouse), I was able to sneak a few shots of locals going about their day. Our room was enormous, it had three double beds as well as a cot and about 10 Jesus statues and pictures including a life size baby Jesus in a glass box, it was altogether very creepy but we could not fault the views or the slightly over enthusiastic owner. It was a friday so it was busy and people were winding down from a hard week of work and relaxing into their weekend. Scores of colourful tables and chairs lined the square, all of which are waited on by the surrounding bars and cafes.

Friends @ Main Plaza, Jardín

The town is set on the edge of the coffee zone and is surrounded by beautiful green rolling hills and mountains. The landscape really is breathtaking. As we walked up and down the quaint little cobblestone streets (Jess’ favourite) lined with colourfully painted buildings and houses we got to enjoy watching people going about their Friday afternoon business. We walked around for ages, watching Gauchos parade their hench muscley horses up and down the streets as stray dogs stole our hearts and in turn our lunch and then just trotted off to the next gullible, soft tourist.

There Is Always Hope… @ Main Plaza, Jardín

At night time the main square life does not stop and is as lively as ever being the start of the weekend. At about 6.30pm teenage soldiers in full army getup complete with rifles patrolled the square, surely this town could not have a very high crime rate?! Maybe they were just there as a presence or possibly to send the old blokes home after too many shots of aguardiente.

Gaucho @ Main Plaza, Jardín

Jess went down and patted some horses with a couple of gauchos while I was cooking. The horses here did that strange trotting on the spot thing that you only see on tv. What was the point of it? It looks so uncomfortable for the horse and the rider, we never really found out why. Tradition I guess. We fell asleep to the sound of music, chatter and horse hooves hitting cobblestones.

Snoozey Pooch @ Jardín

The next day we walked about 15 minutes out of town to the teleferico. We took the cable car, which was essentially a colourfully painted shed threaded precariously onto two cables, across the deep valley to the other side. The last part of the terrifying (mainly for Jess as she is not a huge fan of heights) cable car dropped low into a banana farm. It dragged us up in between the tall banana trees covered in blue bags to keep the bugs off. We walked up the hill through the farmland, chased some butterflies and puppies before we returned to the cable car where there was a bar in someone’s back garden with the best view in Jardín. It was breathtaking. We drank some freshly squeezed orange juice and beer whilst listening to four old women chatting about anything and everything on their weekend away from Medellín. They were super friendly and excited to hear our story and why we found ourselves in the little town of Jardín, we did seem to be the only international tourists there. We braved the return journey and Jess even stood up and looked out on the way down!

View Over The Town @ Jardín

Shed On Cables @ Jardín

Teleferico @ Jardín

We spent the afternoon enjoying people watching from our balcony again before heading slightly out of town to try to spot the Cock of the Rock or “Gallito de la Roca”, a rare bird that you can only see in certain areas. We walked a few streets out of the main square and turned down a dirt track before the suspension bridge. We were really early but we rang the number on the door and the lady who

lives there let us in early. You have to pay a small entrance fee as it is private property and she lets tourists on her property twice a day to view these birds. We sat for about an hour and didn’t see the infamous bird but we did see a few other cool birds. Finally one arrived, they look like lunatics with their big red “quiff”. For the next hour or so, four or five of these birds appeared in the trees (all males) just pruning their feathers or literally just sitting there. They were pretty amazing. We were the first to arrive and of course the last to leave.

Fonzie @ Jardín

Jardín was a very pleasant surprise and probably turned out to be our favourite place in Colombia. It’s charm, beautiful scenery, friendly locals, it just felt like the real Colombian country life. Coffee, agua diente, gauchos, family and friends.

We could have stayed much longer but we were on tight schedule to get down to Ecuador so the next day we jumped on a bus five hours further south to Manizales to meet up with Juan and Sigrid, some friends we met in Mexico.

Fruit Stalls @ Main Plaza, Jardín

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