Medellin was a really pleasant surprise. Admittedly we weren't quite sure what to expect. We'd heard it was much cooler in central Colombia, spread out, and recalled all those stories from the '80s and '90s when the city was known as among the most violent in the world.
Today's Medellin couldn't have been further from any of that. The weather was sunny and an agreeable 26 degrees Celsius the entire time we were there, it was easy to get around thanks to a super-clean and efficient metro system, and people were extremely friendly which, we learned, is especially characteristic of the region’s people, known as the paisas
(people who inhabit a region over northwest Colombia in the Andes).
We figured a great way to begin our time in Medellin, which was extremely lush and green, was to take the metro for less than one US dollar (not sure what that works out to in CDN these days) right to near the end of the line, where we then transferred to a cable car (the Metrocable) which took us high into the sky, offering sweeping views of sprawling Medellin (population 2.5+ million) and neighbourhoods near and far.
a bird's-eye view we hit the ground, visiting the beautiful El Jardin Botanico de Medellin, Joaquin Antonio Uribe where we escaped the city’s bustle, got up-close and personal with some butterflies, and had a fantastic Argentinean-style parillada
meal of grilled meats. Our travels then took us through a busy public bazaar, then to another park (Parque de Los Pies Descalzos, The Barefoot Park) where the philosophy is to chuck your shoes and feel the planet’s energy. In other words, go barefoot.
Another highlight of Medellin? The diversity of eats. We really enjoyed the traditional (tipica
) Colombian food we’d had along the way, but Medellin readily served up a healthy mix of alternatives, from lentil burgers, to kebabs, and — lucky for us — the city’s first Indian restaurant, which we happened across on opening night. They were packed solid, so we were invited back the next night. What a treat! (If you’re at all in Medellin and craving a killer Rogan Josh, be sure to visit Naan in the El Poblado neighbourhood.) Admittedly, we also couldn’t resist a McDonald’s visit …
We truly enjoyed our time in Medellin, easily a trip highlight. For those wondering whether or not
it’s worth seeing, absolutely! All those things you may or may not have heard about Medellin might have been true at one time, but it’s a much different place today.
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