It seems impossible, but every day seems to outdo the next. We awoke to another beautiful day in the home of our new friends, with fresh squeezed orange juice waiting for us. We are so spoiled I am beginning to think we will not make it around the world, because we will never leave Colombia!
The night before we stayed up late with our maps and computer and Gustavo and Adriana helped us fine tune a plan for the sites and cities that we should see in Colombia. Before we knew it Gustavo generously made a few phone calls to arrange for friends to take us on a private flight to one of the most beautiful, but remote National Parks in Colombia, the Canyo Cristales River, or the river of five colors, said to be the most beautiful river in the world! You can only travel there by small plane.
So after experiencing so much generosity and hospitality, how could our trip possibly get any better? Well we attended the most beautiful and joyful mass in the private chapel of our hosts. When we arrived Gustavo was busy getting things prepared on the altar and Adrianna was playing a guitar. She was joined by an accomplished musician who is also a medical doctor. They set the mood of the joyful mass as they tuned their guitars.
As family and friends arrived, there were warm hugs and greetings. Right at 9:00 a.m. everyone broke into song and the padre entered the chapel. Gustavo had printed out the readings for us in English and we were able to follow along with the Spanish mass. As everyone exchanged greetings of Peace, I was truly overcome. It was so beautiful, to think that this family celebrates like this every week. This was not a special holiday or occasion, but a typical Sunday.
After having visited the most famous churches in Colombia, and so blessed to see the Pope, it was this quaint chapel built by this wonderful family, filled with such love that brought me to tears.
After mass the celebration continued, we followed a garden path over a bridge through the beautiful gardens to the family Kiosko where the family hosts celebrations and gatherings. We spent the morning with laughter, stories and fellowship, despite Ol and I struggling with our Spanish. Waiters from the restaurant arrived with baskets of delicious hot empanadas and homemade breads, pan de luca being my new favorite.
I had three empanadas, two pan de luca, and two cups of agua de pannella. To my surprise, this was not a meal, it was a snack before the main course. After a couple of hours of visiting with friends, we were told that we were now going to have lunch at the home of the family matriarch, the founder of San Jeromino Ice Cream!
Lunch is the primary meal in Colombia so it was a beautiful four courses with one of the most delicious soups I have ever had. At 85, our hostess still manages the family business. I spent lunch trying to convince the family, they needed to write a cookbook with all of the family recipes, stories and photos we enjoyed during our visit. After dessert of the best rice pudding I have ever had, we made our way back to the restaurant for more delicious ice cream!
Five pounds heavier, Adriana and Gustovo brought us back to our apartment in Bogota in the early evening. In another amazing coincidence, Adriana was surprised to discover that in a city of millions of people, our apartment was only two blocks from Adriana’s mother’s home!