Without a doubt, our favorite place in Colombia is Vergara. It holds a special place in our hearts because this is where our family is from and some of them remain there today. Tia Julia and Tia Nina remain as prominent members of the local scene. Tia Julia runs a small coffee farm along a east facing ridge of one of the numerous mountains in this area of Cundinamarca. Vergara is an excelant example of the typical maintain side towns common throughout Colombia and other South and Central American countries.
Coffee, euca, platanos, naranjas and other traditionall crops grow from the rich black soil of Vergara. Living sustainably is difficult but, can be done here. Fruits and vegetables grow year round and the lush forests are always trying to take back the land. Horses, boros, pabo, gallinas y cerdos are commonly sighted just about anywhere they can reach, sometimes in seemingly impossible locations. In fact they often give the impression they are lost of wondered off but, fences are often a single strand of barbed wire and nearly invisible: and yes, they often fail to keep animals contained but, around here everybody knows who’s animals are who’s.
I have yet to taste coffee as good as Tia Julia’s. Only the roasters at places like Vermont Coffee Company or Intelligensia Coffee know what I’m talking about. There is nothing like drinking coffee that has been dried, roasted and brewed at the source. The same applies to the oranges, platanos, euca and anything else growing of the farm.
Waking up in the morning at the same time as the farmers really takes the breath away. The first light or morning as the night time creatures and daytime creatures sign out and sing in is amazing, so peaceful and fresh. The kitchen fires up and the smells of arepas (a fat corn tortilla), petacones (fried flat plantain chunks) and of course, coffee. When the sun breaks the surface of the far ridges, the temperature starts to rise. All is alive now. Kids in the kitchen filling up on breakfast and hot chocolate (a less sweeter and weaker, closer to a weak coffee, than gringos are familiar with).
I hate to leave, can’t wait to come back.