Where can you find an array of houses with multicolour door frames, windows, and balconies? Beneath the town, tall palms with lanky trunks live in a valley surrounded by rounded green hills.
I’m dropped off in heavy rain to catch another bus to Salento not my idea of fun! Fortunately, I find a shelter and a short wait. The minibus drops me in the town’s plaza. I make my way to my hotel, complete with a parrot who believes silence is forbidden.
Each Colombian colonial town is unique, and Salento is no exception.
Walking back to the centre, I spot a street full of craft shops. Two story white buildings line both sides. Each one sports many rectangles at its base, coloured orange-red, lime green, sky blue, orchid purple and bright orange, always mixing colours. The same colours form a rectangle and square patterns on the doors. A yellow square may contain a green frame. Salento presents geometry lovers with a geometric paradise. Many balconies sport that same colour scheme. The result: a variety of structures, where no two are similar, like an open art gallery for door and window lovers
Salento’s best secret hides in the Valle de Cocora, which I reach by taking a restored WW II jeep, called a “Willy”. No, not that Willie. They depart from the Plaza. The 60-meter high Palma de Cera or wax palm, the tallest palm in the world. They only grow here. These trees cascade down the grassy hillsides found in the valley and sway in the wind. Meadows, with the obligatory cows, lie between them. People can hike or hire a horse. We only hear these animals and birds. Bogota seems like it resides in a different universe.