Though not terribly far from Medellin, once again it took several hours winding in and out and up and down mountain range after mountain range to get to my next destination. Manizales is itself situated on the top of a mountain and you either need a car, a cab or most popular, a tram to the town! It was much smaller than Medellin but had a lot of character as well. It was also quite a bit colder than Medellin… I took the tram to the town and found a hostel again right on the main strip, though a little toward the end. I was basically one of the only ones in the hostel leading me to think that that particular time of year was simply out of season. The hostel was quite nice, so I couldn’t think of any other reason it would have been so slow. Perhaps it was the cold that drove others away too;)
Two things I noticed specifically in Manizales: #1 the HUGE amount of candy, cake, bakery, sweet shops, and ice cream shops!! Literally every other store had something to do with selling a sugar based treat to eat. I’d never seen so many sweet shops in such a small amount of space. And what stores, you may ask, were in between each of the sweet shops? Well, that would be #2, the SHOE shops!! Manizales would definitely be the dream place for any shoe enthusiast. From boots to heels to stilettos, Manizales had every shoe possible and catered quite strongly to women. The amazing thing to me was that the majority of women were wearing stiletto heels and walked the streets as if walking down the red carpet or a runway!! I mean they worked it and made it look so natural and easy! Now, I myself have been known to rock a heel shoe, but what made the Colombian women wearing stilettos so impressive is the quality of the roads!! They were walking in stilettos as if the roads and sidewalks were perfectly paved without a hint of a defect anywhere. The reality however was far from this as the roads and side walks left quite a lot to be desired! And many of the little roads were made of brick, so the spaces in between each brick…. I’ve no idea how they didn’t break their ankles on a regular basis!
Anyway, I stayed in Manizales for only a couple of days. And honestly, because of the weather mainly (I’m seriously a wimp in cold weather) I was just uninspired to do anything! Not to say there wasn’t anything to do in Manizales, but the cold just made me want to curl up with a blanket and a little fire. Plus, I was still trying to make sure that I got to Bogota in plenty of time to see my brother, so that too cut my time there to just a few days.
Had I had more time to explore that are however, I would have absolutely (and I do plan to still check this area out) gone to the coffee region of Colombia, one of the more famous spots: Armenia. I’ve heard a lot about this area from fellow travelers and from some who are from the area and have heard of nothing but fabulous reviews. Perhaps once I get there I will have found a spot in Colombia with awesome coffee and where they drink it not only at breakfast;) Seriously, it was shocking to me how unimpressed I was by coffee in the areas I did travel of Colombia. It was as if they saved the best coffee to be exported elsewhere or something, lol!!