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Published: December 6th 2011
Fresh from Spanish school, we headed to the bus station for our next destination, Medellin. Once there, I was presented with a rare and thankful opportunity to talk to a local that wouldn’t talk too fast, and who would ask and answer questions like I had been taught in class. This person happened to be a 12 year old girl, who, after helping her Mum clear the plates from the meal we had just eaten asked me where I was from…in Spanish. Fantastic! I understood the question, and knew how to answer! To my surprise, she understood my answer, and we then proceeded to have a little chat using basic questions and answers…Name, where are you from etc. This was great practice and my confidence was sky high! Then disaster. After finding out that she was 12, I asked her how old she thought I was. Big mistake. Her first answer was ‘Triente siete’ or 37 to those who unlike me, don’t speak fluent Spanish…..I was shocked! Showing my disappointment with a ‘I can’t believe you just said that’ face, I asked the question again…..this time the answer was ‘Cuarenta’ or 40. I decided this was no longer a fun game,
and questioned whether it was time to say farewell to the dreadful beard I had been growing, and to enquire about the latest male wrinkle cream next time I was on the internet …….
We made it to Medellin on time in our overnight bus, which although didn’t have any incidents, it is worth mentioning the drivers passion for 70’s disco tunes, as these were played throughout the journey, to the amusement of us both! On arrival, we grabbed a cab and checked into Casa Kiwi Hostel in the El Poblado district. Great Hostel and El Poblado looked to be a great little area on first impressions. First on the list of things to do whilst here was to go downtown and see the sights. We used the Metro subway that Medellin has, which is a clean, graffiti free train that was a pleasure to use, and got us to the central district in no time. We spent the afternoon looking at numerous Botero sculptures outside the museum, before heading in to see his paintings. Botero wasn’t someone we had heard of before coming to Medellin, but was an artist that we both really liked after seeing his stuff.
He basically paints/sculpts all people, animals and objects as ‘Fat’, or ‘painted at volume’ as I think the artist put it…… to us, the uneducated in art talk….they looked fat!
After the museum, we wandered around and sought out the sights of downtown, which to be honest, was a little disappointing. The colonial buildings have all but gone, and the replacements are not as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as other places in and around Colombia. The worst offender of this was the Cathedral that was finished in 1931 and is the largest church built with bricks in the world….. and therefore fairly unattractive in our opinion. The evening was spent back in El Poblado in the Hostel getting to know a couple of the guys there over a few beers. One of the fellas Luis, was a local guy who was hilarious with his big personality, and tales of selling food to Pablo Escobar back in the day. Add Eric the crazy Dutchman into the mix, with a few more beers, and you have yourself a good evening!
The next day was spent on the recently built cable car that runs up the mountains over some of
the poorer barrios of Medellin, a real contrast to the modern buildings and bars of El Poblado. The views from the cable car were truly amazing, and really gave you an idea of how huge Medellin really was. Plus, for like 30p it was a bargain and well worth the trip there. After this, we stopped off in the botanical gardens (which is free….cheap day!) and chilled there wondering why we had never been to a botanical gardens before? The evening was spent in a local restaurant with a few guys from the hostel eating way too much local cuisine, followed by a few more beers back at Casa Kiwi.
We really like Medellin already, but have to leave for a night in order to go to Guatape before returning to Casa Kiwi for a second stint. There is a lot to fit in for our final week in Colombia, and as per usual, nowhere near enough time to do it…. So, without further ado, we are off to Guatape to see ‘The Rock’!
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