It was somewhere in this small town of just a few streets, adorned by hundreds of yellow flowers falling from their trees, and other thousands more in their gardens and balconies, full of colors, birds, aromas, and surrounded by mountains, where we fell in love with this place. Or maybe it was the trout al trapiche and its flavors explosion in our mouth, we still don’t know it, but Jardín and its gardens are a delight.
As soon as we arrived in Jardín and get off the bus, we started looking for our hotel, we urgently wanted to drop our baggage and rest a bit. While we were looking for the address on Google Map we heard the voice of a kid, no more than 5 years old, offering us lodging (?) –I don’t like to see kids “working”–, this left us a bit confused, but Stefano answered: “No, thanks. We are already set”. The map had good news for us, we had to walk just 3 blocks. Walking with our baggage on small walkways –or on the street– uphill anyway is never fun –I was already cursing because of my heavy wheeled bag–, but after a few streets, there it was!
We got in, registered ourselves, took a coffee offered to us in the mini-reception and we went straight to the room, left the bags and lounged on the bed for a while. After that “while” we looked at each other and said: “What do we do now? Shall we go for a stroll in the village and then we look for something to eat?” Stefano said the two magic words: “stroll”, which meant loitering, or in this case: walking in a beautiful village, and “food”, which obviously meant happiness –happiness for these two fatties, of course–. Let’s go.
Indeed we took a short walk through the town, in the park and the streets nearby. We encountered Café Macanas, a perfect place to relax with a good coffee or a tea, and where they sell the best red velvet cake I ever tasted.
The next day we had an early breakfast in the hotel, we wanted to keep walking in Jardín and getting to know all the town. We didn’t have a plan, we were quiet mood. During our walk we went on what we afterward knew it was the Camino de la Herrera, it caught our attention so we decided to venture on it and see where it would lead. It was a short path made of stones, it was the first street built during the years of the conquest in Jardín. At one side of the path we say the Sendero de la Lechuza (the path of the owl) so we decided to take a look and see what was there. “I like this town more and more” said Stefano. Following the path we encountered a small stream with a thick green vegetation around.
While going back in town and looking for a restaurant, we passed by Jardín tourist office, we saw a few foreigners going in and I said to Stefano: “Let’s go in?”, he looked at me with as to say “mmmh no”, but I went in and he followed me. There we learned that we had been in the Camino de la Herrera and its history, we also discovered a few other places where to go and where to have lunch.
The recommendation for lunch could not have been better, La Argelia Restaurante, Truchera y Molienda has been one of the best gastronomic experience we ever had, with its delicious trout al trapiche. We are fans of good food –as you might have already noticed– and we always want and look for new flavors and typical food offered by the region, and this fulfilled our expectations… and a bit more, because we were not expecting it to be so tasty. Another nice thing about La Argelia is that it has a grinding mill and you can see step by step the process of how the panela is made.
The information they gave us for the rest of the day were to follow all the camino de la Herrera until where it joins with the main road, and follow straight to the Cascada del Amor (waterfall of love), Charco Corazón, the cave and from there always turn right until Garrucha; it has been a good and quiet walk. From Garrucha we took a homemade cable-way, about which Stefano was telling me: “How is a homemade cable-way safe? I don’t trust it very much”, I laughed and said: “Well, it’s safe enough, a lot of people already used it before us and it’s still there. And if we die, we die together”, he laughed.
With the cable-way get went back in Jardín –we don’t remember how much was it, but it was cheap–, and to end the day we went to the sighting of the Andean cock-of-the-rock, a beautiful bird native to Peru, which gets its name because it makes its nest in the rocks. It was amazing to see this magnificent animal. What was not magnificent was the price to enter the sighting place, expensive for such poor facilities, two poorly made wooden balconies without even binoculars. Anyway we enjoyed it.
It was time to go, say goodbye and start the journey to Armenia, but first a 3-hour trip on a chiva from Jardín to Riosucio, Antioquia, awaited us.