I recently spent just over two weeks in Medellin, Colombia. When I arrived from Cartagena, I had no idea that I would be there more than a few days. However, a cracked tooth and the loss of my hard drive altered my itinerary, for the better I think. Both were repaired exceptionally well and I even had an opportunity to upgrade my blog site a bit with the help of David Lee.
Medellin is a modern city that pulses with energy. In the 90s, residents lived under the constant fear of La Violencia and the Cartel. Those days are long gone and in their place are parks and green spaces, museums, a metro system that would be the envy of any city, every variety of restaurant, salsa dancing until dawn, and a populace that is extremely warm and welcoming of visitors. It would be impossible to do Medellin justice within the scope of this post so I will simply cover a few of the activities that I enjoyed during my stay.
On the first Saturday of the month there is a large craft fair, Mercado de San Anejo. The park is packed with artisans from all over the region. Performers such as those pictured above vie for attention. I bought a beaded wrist band which I greatly enjoyed until it fell apart a few days later. Of course, there were many fun eats and drinks. This fellow used a machine whose design has probably not changed much in 100 years. He feeds in stalks of sugar cane from which cane juice is pressure extracted. This is combined with fresh lime juice to make the best and freshest limeade I have ever tasted.
A few days later I visited Parque Barrio and the Museo de Antioquia. The park is lined with large bronze sculptures created by Fernando Botero, Medellin’s most famous artist. Botero, over the decades has donated over 90 paintings to the museum and they make up the most popular permanent exhibit.
As part of the Metrorail Line, there are two Metrocables that go up opposite sides of the valley in which Medellin is located. It is a great way to spend a few hours, especially around sunset.
Near the end of my stay, I took the Pablo Escobar tour. This three hour tour visited several of the homes, shopping centers and other places built and frequented by Escobar. It was quite informative. Did you know that Pablo Escobar built many schools in Medellin? He also offered to pay off Colombia’s debt to the United States if the government would legalize cocaine. We ended the tour by visiting the roof where he was shot dead and finally his grave.
One of a fleet of planes, these have been in the custody of the Colombian government and housed at the airport for almost 20 years. The case with its tax ramifications is still considered open.
Of course the nightlife in Medellin is legendary. The Zona Rosa and other club areas really don’t get going until 10 or 11 p.m. One night I went to a locals club and danced until 3:00 a.m. It was a wild place with waiters dressed as transvestite clowns. Inside, it was all Colombians dancing the night away.
So this is a taste of my time in Medellin. I am sure to return here again and again.