Colombia part 2: arriving in Medellin and visiting the city
Once again we were very well welcomed in medellin, treated as family and taken around the city to visit the best spots and try the most delicious food.
Medellin is unexpectedely huge, on a valley surrounded by mountains, it spreads all the way up to the hill sides. On one of them there is a neighborhood called Las comunas orientales, starting in Acevedo at the bottom and going all the way up to Santo Domingo. They are connected with the metro cable, just like the ski lifts we have in the mountains, except it is meant to take people home.
We rode in the metro cable passing over the neighborhood and seeing an incredible view of the entire city. Only then I realized how big it is. Below us everything was quite poor, like the favelas in Brazil but better organized and with a stronger structure – everything built geometrically and with brick.
In one of the metro cable stations up in the hill they built a giant Library, meant to encourage people to study and read, but when we were there the building was closed and covered. A girl told us very calmly that apparently it was because the library was in danger of falling. Just a minor detail!
The city is very nice, but also very hard to understand the dynamics. You have neighborhoods like El Poblado, quiet, pretty and definetely wealthier. And then there’s Santo Domingo which is basically a fancy slum. You have huge messy traffic but then there’s a place right in the middle with Botanical Gardens, very nice and completely isolated from the crowds.
I finally tried the typical cazuela de frijoles for lunch. Frijoles are beans, just like the Brazilian ones but bigger, and then they add rice, yuca, meat, chorizo and tocino. The food here is often similar to Brazil, it’s always a bit nostalgic!
Anyway, we walked around for quite a while and visited the Museo Antioqueño to see Fernando Botero’s exhibition. Antioquia is the name for the region of Medellin and Botero is a widely famous artist originally from here. He has sculptures of his fat figurines spread throughout the country and they’re actually quite cool.
We stayed in El Poblado, an area with a lot of hostels and bars, very European, with foreigners everywhere, nice cafes and expensive shops. But then, the city center or downtown is completely different, here is the true latin way, the real South America that we know and like so much. Downtown has hundreds of people in the streets, lots of merchants and small markets, street food stalls, traffic, motorbikes, and all sorts of noises and smells. The mess is actually very nice, the locals try to sell you everything they have but they’re not too pushy, they are funny and always have something nice to say to the ‘gringas’.
So far we had an incredible time in Colombia, everyone welcomed us in the best possible way. Thank you very much to Lala, Marce and their families for taking care of us, showing us all the good things about Colombia and making us like this country so much!