Day 2 of our trip saw us spending it in Bogota. We began with breakfast at the Marriot Hotel as guests of two men who are part of the FNC, or Colombia Coffee Federation. The FNC works hard in Colombia to help the coffee growers succeed, both financially, as well as in their overall operations. They provide a number of services to the coffee growers through their “yellow shirts” who you’ll hear about in later days. Enrique and Henry are both friends of Carlos (who we traveled with) and are men I met on my previous trip. Breakfast had many items including a variety of breads as well as all the fresh fruit you could imagine.
From breakfast we were then taken to the FNC (Colombia Coffee Federation) building for a tour. Not many people get to tour the building and see what goes on in the various departments, so it was a privilege to be there and see the work being done. We were also taken to their sample testing area to learn about what is involved in the detailed process of exporting Colombian coffee. From there we made a quick stop at the gift shop before returning to our hotel to check out and head to the coffee Expo.
After checking out of the hotel, we took a 30 minute ride to the Colombia Coffee Expo. The Expo is similar to a local Home and Garden show, only it involves coffee. Wholesalers, retailers, and anyone else involved in coffee has a booth there trying to sell you something, as well as a barista competition. Because I don’t speak Spanish, it’s pretty tough to sell me anything, so it’s more of an opportunity to walk around and see what’s happening in the coffee world. We spent about 3 hours there before heading to the airport to fly to Pareida for the next leg of our adventure.
After landing in Pareida, we called it an early night. We checked into the Hotel Zandu. A quaint little place in downtown Pareida. Wonderful old furniture everywhere. If you’ve seen the movie Romancing the Stone, this could be the hotel in that movie. We were all exhausted and looking forward to a good nights sleep.
Tomorrow, off to our first farm visit.