Day 22: Jeep Cherokee – I think not!

Tue. 4th September 2012

This is not a jeep cherokeeToday we opted for a trip by Jeep to the National Park called Topes de Collantes. At the appointed hour we set off to find our Jeep, but the small print did say it may be a Russian truck instead and this is what we found! It certainly was a bone shaker with no need for air conditioning as the wind blew straight in our faces. It did however have seat belts which strapped across two people but we did not try it out The route into the mountains was windy and steep which was interesting as our driver took a run up and got as far as he could before trying to find a lower gear (I will forgive the driver as he was my Cuban Stavros!). The scenery was spectacular as we headed upwards into the tree covered mountains , a mass of green.

Grinding the coffeeFor all those on our cycling trip this was the same road we took from Trinidad into the mountains. It was a much smoother ride with Tunas, our driver in the air conditioned coach.

We also stopped at the same coffee house but this time we saw and experienced how the coffee beans were processed. This contraption was like a big see saw with the coffee beans put  in the big stone bowl and pounded. Without any beans in it, there was quite a jolt as the stone pestle and mortar met. Not a job I would like to do for 8 to 10 hours a day.

Then off to begin our 3km walk to the waterfall and pool which was categorised as “high degree of difficulty”. It certainly was not a stroll in the park and we were glad of our decent footwear as it was slippery at times due to the overnight rain up in the mountains. Our guide was an expert in flora and fauna in Spanish, English and French asking us to guess what the plants were by smelling the leaves. I managed to identify eucalyptus and sage. After the 45 minute walk down to the waterfall the swim in the cold water was refreshing. Dave enjoying the water

The ascent back to our truck was gruelling, especially in the heat and humidity. It seemed to take forever, with many stops to “enjoy the view”, and the shack selling fresh Mango juice was very welcome. They also had Tamarind juice, which Dave enjoyed as he prefers a more bitter taste to his drinks.

Comfy seats and air conditioned travelA thoroughly enjoyable trip and we felt that we had earned the beer and lunch (yes it was rice and beans and the meat was pork). The beer certainly helped us not to stress over the consequence if the brakes failed on the way back down!

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