As we left Sincelejo to return to Cartagena, I noticed that we made an unexpected turn away from our usual route. This was confirmed as we passed the fitness center on the other side of town and headed towards Corozal.
“Ah, this will be my adventure today,” I said to myself. Sure enough – I kept quiet and enjoyed the change of scenery as we drove away from Sincelejo into a mountainous area that reminded me of my high school years in Angels Camp – Murphy’s area of California (Sierra Nevada foothills).
The terrain was dotted with trees interspersed with dry straw-colored grasses. Cattle grazed in pastures on either side of the small, winding two-lane highway.
As we drove through Corozal, I ventured to voice my suspicions. The good doctor laughed and confirmed that it was, indeed an ‘adventure’ designed for me – since he and Iris knew of my love of Colombian countryside.
First stop on our tour was for the famed avocados. (Indeed – these famous avocados have been the source of much amusement among the cardiac surgery team due to a previous episode involving a “bait and switch” by another team member (who ‘stole’ a bag of these avocados from the good doctor, and left behind a small bag of more ordinary avocados in their place.)
We then passed into Bolivar –
Our next stop was San Jacinto, which is a town that is locally known for their artisanal crafts. (The Sucre – Bolivar regions are noted for many of their textile crafts. Some of the techniques date to the pre-Colombian era).
Having Iris as my tour guide was wonderful. As a certified artisanal artist of traditional Colombian crafts, Iris was able to give me a detailed explanation of each of the different types of craft making – including information about regional differences in weaving designs, colors used, and other traditional items.
(For more information about the processes used in this craft work, click here.)
Since I am in the midst of (very slowly) learning how to crochet one of the traditional Colombian bags – I can certainly appreciate the amount of time and skill that goes into crafting each of these individual items. There is no assembly line, factory floor or Made in China” labels here. (Yes, I looked).
As the road wound its way back to the fork where we usually take the other branch) we stop at our usual coffee shop. There we were greeted by a Palenque resident selling baked goods.
We bought a sweet, round ball of a popcorn(ish) treat called Alegra which contains corn with coconut and panela. She then came and sat with us and attempted to teach us to speak a few words of Palenque.
After our brief respite, we continued to the main highway to Cartagena and proceeded home. It took a little longer, but to me – it was well-worth it. Thank you, Iris and Dr. Barbosa for my unexpected surprise!