Blogs from Antioquia, Colombia, South America - page 4


South America » Colombia » Antioquia February 22nd 2015

This is an addition to Hacienda Nápoles, Part 2, about the hippos. I just now got Diego's video of the "small" hippo penned up near the refreshment stand, begging for carrots and potatoes. I don't know what TravelBlog will do with it, but I am about to find out. Thanks to Diego Diaz Gonzales, our excellent driver and guide. His address is, if you ever need personalized transport in and around Medellín. He is excellent. Later: TravelBlog no longer accepts videos. You have to put them on YouTube, and reference the YouTube address in your blog. I tried, but the internet connection here is unstable, and I could not stay connected to YouTube long enough to upload it. We will be back in a week, and I will try to do it from Detroit. The ... read more

South America » Colombia » Antioquia February 22nd 2015

Rio La Vieja, and Mangosteens We are just back from a rafting expedition here in the Zona Cafetera. This region is known for its coffee, but there are other crops grown here, very tall wax palms and also a lot of bananas, and many unfamiliar fruits such as mangosteens. All the bananas grow inside blue plastic bags, an incredible miracle of modern genetic engineering. But bananas are not a Big Ag monopoly, as in Guatemala. Nearly every farm that grows coffee also grows bananas; it's something about how the the coffee year and the banana year fit together. The banana groves are not as monoculturally intense here as the Dole and Chiquita groves we saw in Guatemala. When Guatemala falls prey to some banana disease that wipes it all out, maybe Colombia will still have bananas. ... read more
111. Old Gringos on raft
112. Lunch on a sandbar
113.  Our pole man : gold panner

South America » Colombia » Antioquia February 20th 2015

The Cafetera region The heart of the coffee country is in the foothills of the Cordillera Central. Leaving Medellín heading south we climbed steadily for about an hour, the vegetation changing constantly with altitude. It was all very tropical and lush, but there were subtle changes. The roadside fruit stands started displaying fat bunches of bright red berries called corsos, but we did not stop to try any. Maybe on the way back. About noon, we reached the top of the Cordillera Central at a little place called La Pintada, at about 8000 feet, and we stopped for lunch. Beyond La Pintada the road followed the crest of the Cordillera for about 50 miles, with fantastically steep scenery on both sides of the road. We passed through two linear villages, where there was room beside the ... read more
91. Carol, near pool
92. Me, with coffee from the farm
93.  Pool house, looking toward bedrooms

South America » Colombia » Antioquia February 12th 2015

Guatapé and El Peñol: A lake and a big rock On a day trip yesterday we saw some surprising things. The target was a big rock and the lake that provides water for Medellín. It was, of course, gorgeous; that's why people go there; and Carol climbed a good way up the rock. But first, some news: You may recall that a few days ago we visited Hacienda Nápoles to see the feral hippos and the old Escobar house, which we in fact did not see because it was being converted into a museum of criminality (so they said.) Now comes news that two days after we were there the house suddenly collapsed into a heap of rubble. News reports say they decided to demolish it, but this certainly does not fit with what we heard ... read more
81. The big rock
82. Carol starting up
83. Bombed Escobar villa

South America » Colombia » Antioquia February 2nd 2015

The other reason we went to see Hacienda Nápoles is the private menagerie that Escobar built for his children. These words may call up in your mind a small thing that you could walk through in an hour or so. This is far from the case. The menagerie covers most of the 7600 acres of the estate, with a road that winds from exhibit to exhibit (photo 70) , some of which are truly enormous habitats where the animals live almost as they would in the wild. The tiger habitat covers many acres, with both forest and grassland, bounded by a good tall fence. It started with two tigers, but by now there are many. They are hard to see in the daytime (we saw nothing) but at night they go on the prowl for goats ... read more
71. Hippo feeding time
72. Four hippos under water, waiting
73. First hippo coming to eat

South America » Colombia » Antioquia February 1st 2015

Hacienda Nápoles, Part 1. We are just back from a visit to Hacienda Nápoles. Before Dec. 2, 1993 the most famous person in Medellín was not Botero, but a criminal named Pablo Escobar. He was born into a simple family near Medellín in 1949. By 1990 he was the wealthiest criminal in history, "the King of Cocaine", worth $30 billion according to Forbes, and before long the world's most wanted fugitive. The U.S. assembled and sent to Colombia a special forces team that worked with Colombian police to assasinate him. He revealed his location on a visit to Medellín, when he called his son on an iPhone. Thanks to ( ! ) American surveillance technology, he was dead a few minutes later on a red-tiled rooftop, just as in the Botero painting. See photo 62 for ... read more
63. Escobar Mug Shot
64. Old gate and new gate
64a. The Bonnie and Clyde car

South America » Colombia » Antioquia January 11th 2015

Geo: 6.23593, -75.5751Walking through Botero plaza makes a person of almost any size feel skinny. Fernando Botero, born in Medellín, has donated hundreds of his statues to museums in Colombia, including Medellín and Bogotá. ... read more
Dog sticking its tongue out at balloon man
Is it eve or is it a very large seductive woman?

South America » Colombia » Antioquia January 8th 2015

Geo: 6.23593, -75.5751She's 60-ish, maybe reaches 5' on tiptoes, has shoulder length fine hair she can't be bothered to comb, and walks with a stoop. For dinner it's a slice of plain brown bread that she's layered with tuna she's squeezed the sunflower seed oil out of and slices of raw mushroom. And a papaya. Next night it's a pineapple. The whole pineapple--that's it. That's dinner. But she is very kind, has inspired us with us a ton of information on our next adventure. We have piles of notes from her on places to stay, tours, taxis, restaurants---really valuable info when you're in a totally new environment (story to come) and has been everywhere. Last night she was talking about how she'll go into an area of conflict just after the worse has cleared so she ... read more

South America » Colombia » Antioquia January 1st 2015

After breakfast at the cafe down the road from our hostel in Pereira, we prepared for another long day on buses. We took a taxi to the bus terminal, and our taxi driver was a pretty funny guy. He kept razzing other taxi drivers. They didn't find it quite as funny as he (or we) did. We drove past a dog walker with about six dogs, and he shook his head and said, “No no no no no...” Not for any money would he do that job. Well, mayb... no no no no no. Our bus to Medellin was a nice big bus. I slept for about 4.5 out of the 5.5 hours. And there were some windy roads so that was no small feat. I got woken up at rest stop and had to get ... read more
Dummies on the Roadside
Arriving in Guatape
The Daytime View

South America » Colombia » Antioquia » Rionegro September 20th 2014

Steve and I have spent most of our adult life living in cities so it makes a nice change to unwind and live for a while in a small town. Travelling also takes its toll so it is nice to stay still for a while. We have taken a volunteering opportunity to teach English with a foundation based in schools throughout Medellin. Our time is split between two schools in the town of El Carmen de Viboral, high up in the mountains outside of the city. Our accommodation is provided by the foundation and we are living with a Colombian family who have been amazing. They have accepted us into their family at the same time as giving us the space and privacy that we need. We are being fed well (the eggs are fresh from ... read more
La Calle de las Ceramicas. Inspired by Guadi.
The church in the central park
An example of the ceramics in the Calle de las Ceramicas.

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