Once upon a time, I lived near a fire breathing dragon…

In 2014 my family and I made a brief move to Santa Rosa de Cabal (Risaralda), famous for its thermal baths. The cost of living was much lower than in Medellín (not why we moved there, however), and even though 65,000 people lived there, it felt like a pueblo.

One little thing though: we were within range of the Nevado del Ruiz, an active volcano capped with snow (hence the nevado). You could hardly ever see its peak because of the thick clouds, so to catch it I had to be on my balcony at 5 AM, which resulted in the included photos, where you can see the smoke pouring out of the top if you look closely.

The Nevado is closer to Manizales and I was told my pueblo wasn’t at high risk, but we were constantly sweeping up ashes from the balcony and near any open window, and we certainly felt our share of volcano quakes. Note also that there’s a whole set of volcanoes chained together including one behind Santa Rosa de Cabal, and you will see fumaroles, that is openings on the face of the volcano from which smoke pours through.

The last fatal eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz was in 1985 when it triggered melting of the glaciers which in turn became massive mud flows (lahars) and the pueblo of Armero was wiped-out along with 23,000 lives.

SIDENOTE: The volcano is still very active, though there has been no major eruption since 1985.

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