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In Colombia, coffee is king

IMG_1374In Colombia coffee is king. For decades it has driven the country’s economy through exports of its top grade Arabica beans. But increasingly it is also important toIMG_1378 tourism as visitors flock to the beautiful key coffee growing area, now designated a UNESCO world heritage landscape with the lush green foliage, angular geometric contours and quaint historical villages. So it comes as something of a shock when travelling throughout Colombia to hear a constant litany of complaints about the brew served up in many of the cafes and hotels. Happily, all that is changing. Driven by the increasing influx of visitors who are used to drinking perfecto Colombian when at home, and the number of South Americans travelling overseas and finding out what heavenly cups of coffee are available, a western coffee culture is developing.

IMG_1362Pereira is right at the heart of the main coffee “triangle” made up of the cities of Cali, Medellin and Bogota. Once off the main highways, the whole vast area is a network of narrow switchback roads that offer staggering views at every turn; neat rows of coffee stretching off into the distance and beautiful little villages like Salento, Armenia, Palestina, Filandia and Chinchina. Although there are some magnificent Haciendas with vast

How books can change lives

Books and reading have been an intrinsic part of life since long before I can remember. They are intrinsic both to a profession I love but also to the endless hours of pleasure and escapism. It’s hard to imagine existing in a world where the written word is absent. Last month was International Literacy Day and whilst clearly aware that there is global inequality in people having access to books, the statistics still shock bringing home the magnitude of the problem, and its devastating impact on people’s daily lives.

According to UNESCO there are 793million adults around the world who are illiterate


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