Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Off the Beaten Track - San Francisco, Colombia

Written by Karen.
Our first foray off the beaten track was visiting the small town of San Francisco, approximately 1 hour northwest of Bogota. A new friend of ours, Carolina, was taking us to where she and her husband, Ricardo, lived in Villeta for a two-day visit.  However, along the way, we planned to stop and see the Jardin Encantado, or the Enchanted Garden, located in San Francisco.  Cost: 12,000 COP ($6.67 USD) per person entrance fee.

It's a bit of an elevation drop from Bogota to San Francisco - 3,691 feet, to be exact! - and you begin to feel the warm humid air seep into the car, as well as notice the increased green foliage as you leave the cooler temperatures of Bogota. 

The Enchanted Garden is a private residence on the outskirts of San Francisco that is dedicated to observing hummingbirds.  Yes, hummingbirds.  The owners have hung 28 hummingbird feeders in their garden, and the magic is watching the many hummingbirds flit and soar over and around the feeders.  

According to the brochure, this garden attracts more than 23 different species of hummingbirds out of the 165 species that have been classified in Colombia.  The owner described a little hummingbird a third of the size of her little finger that often shows up.  Unfortunately, we didn't see that particular species, but we did just stand under the porch and watch with amazement and awe at the beauty and grace of these little birds. 

We drove back on the dirt road that led to the town square. It was close to lunch, and the town was lively with activity:  a soccer game was being played in the field across from the church, and people were gathering to have lunch in the many small restaurants that lined the square.  However, the weather had turned rainy.  We sought shelter under one of the table umbrellas and had a soda while we waited for the rain to stop.  

The town of San Francisco is small, and not on the regular tourist path.  We were glad for the rain as it forced us to slow down and just watch the people of San Francisco live their lives on their own terms. 
The Hummingbird Garden: There are horizontal wires that are attached to the house and the shed (shown) with the hummingbird feeders hanging down. At any given time, there are maybe 50 hummingbirds flying around this area.
Hummingbird Nest.  The size is about the same as two cotton balls.

One view of the town from the main square.

Horses are used regularly for transport and delivery.
San Francisco Church
Colorful and Inviting Interior

Soccer game being played in the main square.
Lunch is served. These tables are arranged around the square and are used for relaxing, chatting, eating and drinking. 
Waiting out the rain...

No comments: