The bus takes another dramatic turn on the small mountain road. Going up and up, around and around in scarp curves. I lean slightly over so I'm able to see the driver's speedometer. As we pass a speed sign showing 60 km/h, I see that the speedometer shows well above the 80 km/h…
I try to calm myself down a bit; he has done this before, it will be okay... We turn around a curve, the bus now directly facing an oncoming car. I hold my breath. But without batting an eye the driver makes a little turn with the steering wheel, and the two vehicles pass each other smoothly on the tight road...
The crazy bus drive through the mountains reveals astonishing landscapes, and the final destination is the most colorful and unique village I have ever seen. Everything is worth it.
The small bus with me, around 10 Colombians and the crazy bus driver are on our way through mountain roads in the Antioquia province in Colombia to a small mountain village called Jardín.
When we stop for a small break, I realize that I have been pressing my foot so hard against the inside of the bus in order to not crash into the elderly woman on my right or the bus driver on my left that my whole leg is sleeping.
Since I not really look like somebody speaking Spanish, the old woman asks me hesitating where I'm going. When I answer in more or less fluent Spanish that I'm on my way to Jardin, she relaxes and smiles at me. She clearly wonders why some "gringa" (e.g. foreigner) wants to visit her village.
I answer her unasked question by saying that it actually just was a smart idea from some photos I saw online. I smile insecure as I realize how stupid and naive it sounds. It looked like such a cute place, I add. And since I didn't really like Medellin, I wanted to see something else. And well, then I like colors. She smiles.
After some moments of awkward silence, I add that the whole drive so far has been worth everything. "You see, we don't really have mountains in my country", I tell her. "You have such amazingly beautiful landscapes here". She smiles again.
I want to ask to get out and get my camera in the back of the bus but my leg still sleeps. And then suddenly the bus driver is back, calling everyone inside the bus again.
And then we are out on the road; going up and up, around and around in every time scraper curves. I decide to forget around the camera, and just take in this experience.
Welcome to Jardín
As we cross a huge bridge revealing the view of a massive valley below us with coffee plants on the sides and a river at the bottom, I puff friendly to the old woman and whisper: "That kind of thing we don't have where I come from, that's amazing!". She smiles at me clearly touched by my enthusiasm.
Soon after the road signs start counting down to Jardín, and just around a curve going up yet another mountain, the old woman puffs to me: "Now we are arriving", she says, "Welcome to Jardín".
And there it is; with mountains on each side located on a little plain spot of land, the village of Jardín like an untouched and colorful pearl in the Colombian mountains.
For the next 24 hours I didn't do more than just wander around the village with my camera. Even though the village in itself is quickly covered, I reject not having more than one day there.