Medellin & Guatape

DSC_1026The first few weeks of the semester have whizzed by, and I feel like I’m only getting some breathing room this weekend as everyone else is on a ski weekend in Killington…while I decided to skip 🙂 This was a nice exercise to prove that I’m at the age where I really don’t have FOMO for things I don’t care to do anymore, and while everyone else looks like they’re having a great time I’m happy to have another normal weekend to myself (and some a few hundred dollars in the meantime). My next international trip is in March to Israel and Jordan, so I’m trying to squeeze out these blog posts before then, months belated as usual.

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We didn’t spend too much time in Medellin; this seemed like a better city to live in rather than to visit. We wished we had time to take a walking tour or visit Comuna 13, but instead only had time to take the cable car up the mountains. The cable car is part of the normal public transportation system, and is essential to the city as it connects the hard-to-reach (underdeveloped) areas on the mountain to the commerce in the valley below. We couldn’t take the second tourist cable car to Park Arvi, but did enjoy taking the Metrocable as far as we could and had some beers in Santo Domingo – a part of the city that once was considered one of the most dangerous areas in Medellin, but now is thriving thanks to the metrocable.

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i couldn’t believe this is what Botero looked like…

“Pablo Escobar is Dead”

We also enjoyed stopping by the botanical garden (free, and more like a park than a proper botanical garden), and of course Plaza Botero where we loved looking at the fun statues Botero created and the museum nearby.

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the view from the Medellin Marriott where we were staying

At night, we visited the Poblado area, where it looked like a lot of expats and backpackers were mulling about. Here we had a delicious meal at Restaurante Mondongo, and had some of the mondongo for which the restaurant is named.

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My main reason for stopping by Medellin was to visit Guatape, a cute little town 2 hours away. We easily did this day trip by getting a bus from North Station in Medellin, and hopped on a coach bus which we rode until Piedra del Penol. Piedra del Penol is the huge rock overlooking the lakes of Guatape, and it wasn’t too hard to climb since there were SO many people and we just slowly followed the line up the rock.

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From there, we took a tuk-tuk into the main town of Guatape, and had a nice time wandering the town and enjoying the street food. You can’t buy a roundtrip ticket in the morning, so we had to wait in line for a ticket back to Medellin. The only ticket left was an open-air truck/bus! While it wasn’t too uncomfortable, we were pretty cold driving through the mountains with the wind whipping through us – so bring a windbreaker in case you can’t get a normal bus back to Medellin at night!

I loved Guatape and its colorful buildings and alleyways – it’s probably just worth a long day trip rather than a few days, but we were glad we made the trip out. Next stop, San Andres Island & Cartagena!

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our open-air bus on the way back to Medellin

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