Published: August 31st 2009August 12th 2009
Arriving in Medellin we were having one of those times when you kind of with you had of planned better! When we left Cartagena we weren´t sure what time the bus left for the 13 hour trip to Medellin. We got up early enough and got to the station just after 7am, only to find the next bus wasn´t until 11am and we had just missed the 7am. We don´t really want to be turning up to these cities in the middle of the night (the 1am arrival in Ciudad Bolivar was already testiment) but we had to take what we could. I called up the hostel in Medellin and in my pidgeon Spanish I tried to let them know we were coming late. (I thought I had done quite well). The trip itself wasn´t too bad, I was fascinated by the landscape, it had small rolling hills or drumlins with huge trees very interspaced out but all with a particular dignified shape, every tree captured my eye. There was plenty of cattle and donkeys as well. We were also entertained by a sustained lightning show in the distance which also can keep a nerd like myself easily entertained.
we have come to notice in Colombia more than the other countries is that everytime you reach another village, the bus pulls over for people to come on to the bus to try and sell drinks, snacks, empanadas and the like. And then drops them off further down the road. The sales techniques are great, often they go through the bus, place the goods on your lap and then collect them as they return and you buy them if you want.
So we arrived at 1am, we could see that the city is set in the mountains as the mish mash of lights lit up the mountainsides. Our taxi had trouble finding the Hostal even though we had the address and the streets were very quiet. Once we finally found it we rang the bell, no answer, we must have rang about five or six times, a little worried but eventually we were safe. And of course taxi driver didn´t have change as is a common occurance in this country! Now the guy at the hostal spoke only Spanish (and very quickly) turned out they didn´t have my reservation (turned out they had it for the following night) but we
found a dorm to get some well needed sleep. Deb enjoyed the hostal as she was able to use her tea bags she had found in the supermarket, and I have never seen her so happy to have a cup of tea!
Medellin was once a very dangerous city, the home of Pablo Escobar and his cartel. Those days long gone and Medellin was not really what we expected, it seemed quite modern, most of the buildings are made of orange bricks and there are quite a few highrise. It has its own Metro system which is quite easy to use, and walking the streets felt like most cities. We wandered around the centro, malled streets, churches and parks, there was a cool plazo of Fernando Botero sculptures (he hails from Medellin) and also more of his artwork (paintings and sculptures) in the Museo de Antioquia. If you have seen his art he more or less uses things in a larger (fatter size) and usually paints people or food. The works are quite entertaining, there is even one of the capture of Escobar. We took in the rich area of El Poblado and to Pueblo Paisa, which is a hill
in the city that has a minature typical Antioquian town (a few buildings). But the view was lovely and we sat on a balcony and enjoyed. The people here are much more lighter skinned than their Caribbean counterparts and seem just as friendly as the costenos. The only problem we found was that it isn´t fully catered for the tourist, we wanted to do a tour of the surrounds or something else but only tours on the weekends, we decided to head out ourselves.
There are more photos below