Hey guys! How's it going? We're Leny and Andrea from cute little Filadelfia, Caldas, a little town nestled amidst endless mountains and trails. We're right in the middle of the coffee region of Colombia, one of the world's most exciting places to be in to quite a lot of people considering today's widespread consumption of coffee in almost every culture (joke).
Anyway, remember those times you looked on Google Maps or Maps.Me and saw some village or tiny town that looked like they were in the middle of nothing and had no way of accessing and went, "I wish I could get there, live there for a bit"? That's us. Filadelfia requires a thirty-minute jeep colectivo ride - on a single winding road through the mountains - from the nearest village that's by the main road, to access.
Before we carry on and just so we know that you've actually read past the first paragraph, we don't actually speak English. Well, a little. But not enough to communicate meaningfully with you if that's the only language you speak, and essentially if you don't speak Spanish or Italian. We're not the ones writing this, a Workawayer Chester suggested he did this. He's writing in what he believes is Leny's character. Let's hope so.
And yeah, please write to us in Spanish. Google Translate is just painstaking and I cannot believe we still don't have a reliable alternative in this day and age. But then again, if you can't write in Spanish but would still like to come after reading this far, go ahead and leave a message in your language. We love helping people with Spanish. Our friends as well.
We own a little townhouse just five minutes from the central park, and another farm in the mountains just a 15-minute walk away. I say "in the mountains", but the town itself is pretty much in the mountains as well, so.
We have an option of helping out exclusively at our super cool farm right now. If you'd prefer that, refer to the last paragraph of the Help section.
We moved here in 2016 after Leny had spent 17 years in Venice with Andrea, who was a resident. We now live the country life, aka Vida de Campesino, taking care of our huge natural garden that's part of the farm, some animals that we rear for income, our various pets, the townhouse, and generally admiring the indescribable landscapes. This is truly a Colombian farmer's life in the 21st century, sans lack of Instagram, and you can come join us anytime you want. We love having new faces around, and so does the entire village. All 13,000 of them. Yep. It's massive.
Andrea loves to cook and tend to the animals, listens to all sorts of music as long as they're good, and mainly stays on the farm. He's reserved; interesting when spoken to. Much to share and very giving. I can imagine living with him to be as peaceful as the surroundings of the farm.
Leny is the heart and soul of this endeavour. The reason your experience will be as authentic as they come. Any day with Leny is a ball, festival and wedding all in one. Walk on the streets of the town with her and stop every fifteen steps to either have coffee with someone or arrange an appointment to do something together with a friend you've just made.
It's insane how alive this town is and how much is going on at any one point despite its size and inaccessibility.
Anyway, Leny is one of the most prominent social butterflies you'll meet in your life. She has an explosive and soulful energy about her, a ton of different friends to hang with, lives and lets live, is dangerously spontaneous, is always part of something happening somewhere in town, and has a bunch of fresh ideas of what to do every single moment. It's like living with a genius. Except it actually will be. You'll be living with the genius.
Cooking / shopping
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
This is truly a Colombian farmer's life in the 21st century, sans lack of Instagram, and you can come join us anytime you want. You will also improve your Spanish as this is practically a homestay Spanish Immersion-type arrangement, without the arrangement.
The local townsfolk are also very curious about other nationalities. We love having new faces around. All 13,000 of us. And we'll keep speaking to you.
Leny's dad has a coffee farm just a 3-minute walk from our farm. If you'd like to help him out there or learn about the coffee-making process, he's your guy.
I have many friends in town who would be thrilled to teach you whatever skill they may have that you might like to acquire. Just ask!
*️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️We have an option of helping out solely at our super cool farm. If you'd prefer that, skip to the last paragraph.*️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️*️️️️️️️️️️️
Your volunteer work if I can call it that is just to help us in our gazillion daily tasks, whatever they may be, in the capacity of a friend who's also living here. You're not a "volunteer"; you're one of us. We're really spontaneous and just play it by ear most of the time. You could be helping out on the farm one moment and attending someone's birthday party the next. Some days you go hiking all day with our friends in the world-famous Coffee Region, some days you rest your hangover for most of it. Our living space is yours as well. We all keep it clean and neat together, any time of the day. Tidying, painting, picking up, cleaning, being part of this family (us and our friends) we have here; the usual. It really is our life you're going to be living, seeing and feeling. We think it's something special and sharing it makes sense.
There's also no obligation to do what we do everyday. You are your own person here and can do whatever you'd like, no justification necessary.
Some days you might want to give language lessons to some of the townsfolk you've made friends with. Other days you might want to visit the sports complex here for a swim or workout. Todo tranquilo. Filadelfia is yours as well.
But if your intention coming here isn't to live like us and with us, at all, then I think perhaps you might be coming to the wrong place. People who've been here were all seeking something that feels more genuine and raw, off the tourist trail, and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We've had so many great experiences not just for us but for the townsfolk that it's simply extraordinary every time magic is made here in Filadelfia.
*️️️️️️️️️️️FARM-ONLY POR FAVOR*️️️️️️️️️️️
At the moment (July 2019) Leny has other plans for the townhouse, but we have an option for travellers to live and help out on the farm with Andrea. They can of course go into town however often they'd like but won't be living there. Images for reference.
Español, Italiano, and a tiny bit of Ingles
As mentioned above, we own a townhouse and a farm. You can sleep at either or both, whichever is convenient in that moment.
The townhouse is a pretty okay size, but like a studio apartment where there are no divisions between the kitchen, dining room and bedrooms. There's currently a bunk bed, single bed and double bed.
The farm is a man-made bamboo-wood construction shown in one of the images. It has three stories with the ground one holding the kitchen, bathroom and dining room. The second can host one person while the third three. More can be seen in the captioned images. It's muy chévere, as they say, which means "very cool" in a cool way. Your view is the endless coffee region mountains that eventually go on to form Patagonia in Argentina and Chile. This is all part of the Andes range. Every day you're greeted by different bird species, you're free to wander our huge garden any time, feed the animals and pets, play with puppies, go hiking. It can sometimes feel like you're off-grid. The extent of the nature here is so incredible that you'll feel lost in it. It's a very magical spot, especially for a finca full of travellers.
Where you live is where we live. We all clean up after ourselves and sometimes each other. Helping each other out is contagious and will bring about world peace one day. Slow and steady said the tortoise. What also might bring about world peace one day, albeit further in the future, is you keeping your quarters clean and tidy at all times. We provide hangers; how exciting.
FOOD & LIVING EXPENSES
As mentioned above, we don't see you as a volunteer, and that is not the kind of exchange we're offering. You're living here just like the rest of us campesinos. We cook together almost everyday and share the costs of everything. Utility bills, cigarettes, food, drinks, toilet paper, milk, pot. At present that cost averages COP10,000 a day. If you are unable to contribute this amount, please note that we will be unable to host you. We are in no financial position to pay for anyone.
There's a bus service, Autolegal, driven by a local guy, Leon, that brings people here from Medellín everyday. It only leaves from the South Terminal in Medellín at 1pm.
The same service Autolegal also takes people from the Manizales bus terminal at 12.30pm and 3.30pm. Another provider Expreso Sideral takes another route and leaves at 5am, 10am, and 1pm.
If you're coming from Pereira, take a bus to La Feliza, and then a jeep colectivo (COP8000) at the bridge for twenty-five minutes into Filadelfia.
THINGS TO DO
There's so much to do around here I cannot imagine listing them all. You'll just have to come find out yourself. I will name a few though.
Apart from the obvious language practice, share any ideas you might have of ways of interaction with the townsfolk. We're glad to help set up anything.
Have buñuelos with the best café con leche in the local coffee shops while locals try chatting with you. We once helped Chester arrange a one-day buñuelo apprenticeship where he learned how to make buñuelos from a local coffee shop lady. We're now thinking of opening a buñuelo chain in Singapore, then all of southeast Asia. After which, we take over the world. Imagine writing a book about that.
Go hiking in the endless countryside. Unceasing mountains and rivers are waiting for that pleasure. We could always set you up to go with our friends or plan something together. Any day is a good day for something. Not to mention how gorgeous the river is. Naturally carved tunnels, exotic rocks and some really rare species of large birds.
There's a decent waterfall you could hike to.
Also, there are a few hills you can access from the townhouse very easily to get a view of the entire town and the surrounding landscapes. We climb up for a little sit-down while trying to hold our jaws all the time. Picnics here are great as well and can happen anytime you'd like.
Latin dance lessons are also an option if you're keen. One of our friend Natalia is a competitive Latin dancer and is eager to teach anyone who's inclined.
Paragliding is rather cheap here. Sport fishing is something else.
The sports complex has a 25m pool (COP4000) and small gym (free). There's also a football field nearby.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
3 hours a day, 5 days a week