When I left you, we had just finished an enormous breakfast and the horses were being saddled to start our trip…
I’m not sure why I was assigned the mule for the trip, but I was SURE I was not going to ride one! I came for a horseback ride after all. Finally convincing my uncle that the mule was not for me, I jumped onto this beauty:
Her name is Arquetta.
Off we all went, a line of horses into the hot, dry day.
Over rocky mountains and trails, not a single shadow of shade to protect us and a very little sunblock.
We rode for hours. Hours and hours. The terrain was moderate, difficult in some areas and flat in others. I didn’t mind the heat because I had anticipated a colder ride, the sun was welcomed. And look at those views!!
However, by midafternoon we were over it. And dehydrated. And some of us had very mild heat exhaustion. I for one, was thoroughly exhausted. The only liquids we had were a few water bottles and a lot of sherry.
We may have gotten a littler turned around at this awesome/random Colombian sun clock. But it was a cool things to stumble upon, nonetheless.
By the time we arrived at my grandpa’s new farm for lunch (about 2 hours off schedule) my arms and neck were a dark red. I knew a drastic sunburn was in my future.
My grandpa’s new house is hilariously NOT his style, but the property and climate are beautiful (similar to LA’s weather) so the structure will be demolished this year and rebuilt into something cool and “estilo gramps” (Grandpa and Tina’s style) complete with a huge lawn for all the horses!
After take a short ride around the property, we dismounted and were welcomed by a local orchestra playing traditional Colombian music. They were fantastic! After a quick cool down with some beer and aguardiente (Colombian booze… maybe it’s a rum?), we sat under the gazebo for lunch.
Lunch was a very typical and traditional Colombian meal: Sancocho! Sancocho is a soup (again!) with potatoes, yuca, rice, corn, meat (oxtail/beef and chicken!), avocado, aji (chimichurri) and plantains. Again, it was A LOT of food, but definitely necessary after a long morning and afternoon riding in the sun.
Being so flavorful and hearty, the flavors showcase everything great about Colombia. It’s like a cultural lesson in a bowl. If you ever find yourself in South America, do me (and yourself!) a favor and seek this out! Each country has their own version, slightly altered to represent their country. And you most definitely will not be hungry after.
Afterwards, everyone went to the porch to take a short nap and rest up for the end of the day’s ride.
After saying by to the band and the cooks, we packed up and rode off to the next inn where we would sleep that night. It was short ride, only about an hour or 2 away (funny how before a two hour ride seemed long. After the first morning, it felt like a breeze). The ride was cool and breezy with lots of shade and cloud cover over head as we watched a beautiful sunset behind the mountains.
I think this view is my favorite in the world right now. Vast and green, it reminded me of Jurassic Park. It was also utterly peaceful. The three of us (Alejandro, Daniel, and I) sat in silence, watching the view and changing light.
I arrived first with my uncle, greeted by our caravan of friends and family who weren’t riding. When everyone arrived, we unpacked some goodies and enjoyed a small dinner that only my grandpa could prepare and bring on a cabalgata: gravlax and cheese! Gavlax is a common nordic dish, prepared by dehydrating vodka-infused salmon in salt for three days. It’s absolutely amazing and a very traditonal “Grandpa dish”.
Grandpa also loves cheese, so for his birthday, I brought him a wheel of fantastic Italian cheese, with white truffle oil (!!!) and black truffle bits (!!!!x2). It was so perfect and delicious I could have eaten it forever. My aunt also made about 24 giant loaves of bread for us from scratch! They’re beautiful!
We spend the evening eating gravlax with cheese and drinking lots of wine, talking about our latest adventure and picking out our favorite videos from the GoPro!
We finally headed off to sleep ready to wake up early for the next morning of adventures! Stay tuned!