Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#travelpost - Medellin, Colombia

We've been in Medellin for quite a few days now and this is the first time I've started to write about the place but after a long few days of sightseeing, drinking and late nights I can't actually remember what we did each day! They've all blended into one.

If you've been watching narcos then you're probably wondering why we would ever come to Medellin once the world's most dangerous city and home to Pablo Escobar, the world's most renowned criminal. As soon as you arrive here though you really do realise just how much it must have changed in the last twenty years and how welcoming, modern and full of life it's become.

We arrived on a Wednesday, avoiding a 15 hour bus journey from Cartagena by taking an hour flight for £2.50 more.... we were some very happy gringos that morning. A bus from the airport into town took us an hour but around the city was so green it was actually quite nice after being on the dry coast for so long. For our first few days we stayed at the Happy Buddha Hostel in El Poblado... quite an affluent neighbourhood in the south of the city. It was kind of the Northern Quarter of Medellin with specialist coffee shops, small boutiques and busy bars but instead of the bricked warehouse style buildings it was almost LA style with its green streets and low buildings. It was definitely the more expensive option but it was kind of nice to be in a younger area with a bit more to do food and drinks wise. Whilst we were there we finally had a bandeja paisa the mother of all dishes and a heart attack on a plate.... rice, avocado, chorizo sausage, belly pork, beans, fried plantain, an arepa and a chunk of meat. It was intense but so so good. So our time in Poblado was a pretty chilled one playing pool and table tennis and recharging our batteries.

The city is bustling and really cool. It's not as easy on the eyes as some of the other cities but it makes up for it with some great buildings, the only metro system in Colombia and a big city feel. Botero park, the Museum of Modern Art and the cable cars that run over the barrios high up in the hills created to ease crime and make the route between those areas to the centre more accessible. Being the cheap skates that we are, we paid the 4500 cops just under £1 for the way up and just decided to stay on and go straight back down... at the top there's a park but there aren't many views of the city and it was getting on so we saved our pennies and did a u turn to the delight of the laughing security guy.

For the rest of the weekend we celebrated Lauren 's 26th birthday in a cute house on top of a valley an hour out of the city, made a well deserved curry and drank the night away... there was A LOT of heads up.

Monday morning was our excursion day, to a place I've been excited for since we booked our flights, La Piedra del PeƱol, Guatape. A huge rock created by a  volcanic eruption that's surrounded by a lake and lots of islands. The drive was two hours out of the city but the views were super cute so it wasn't bad and we had a great view of the rock as we got closer. The rock la piedra has steps running up the middle of it, almost like it's been stitched together by them... 700 steps and I did it!! Just. The view at the top was incredible so we had a little sit down and finished off the picnic that we'd started at the bottom. It was the best.
Before we headed back we crammed into a car and got a lift to Guatape, the nearest town, and it was well worth it.... lots and lots of colourful houses with small ceramic plaques running along each and every one.

 Well, we've got one more day here in which I plan to do nothing of any interest... Lots of hammock and kindle time.. Then we are heading south for our final week in Colombia!

Next stop... The coffee region of Salento.  

1 comment:

  1. Looks and sounds amazing. You're definitely inspiring me to bugger off after this school year! X