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Published: September 30th 2017
Geo: 6.23593, -75.5751
Like its Portuguese-speaking cousin Brazil did so well, Colombia is kicking my ass! Medellin has been overcast, but the combination of heat, humidity, and smog has so far been unbearable, especially combined with the lack of sleep thus far - walking several blocks here leaves you out of breath and feeling quite fatigued. There are some nice day trips from Medellin that I was hoping to do, namely Sante Fe de Antioquia for a bit of that little Paisa village feel, or the stunning man-made lake at Guatape and El Penol, a giant stone which can be climbed.
However ... though Medellin has been a bit of a bore so far, the Colombian ass-kicking left me fatigued and wanting to stick around town, rather than trek up to two hours to visit either of those sites. Luckily, today was far livelier in El Poblado than the past two days, with a bunch of funky little shops, cafes, and bakeries now open nearby. First impressions of the streets immediately surrounding the hostel weren't the greatest; no signs of life nearby nor anything worth seeing. But today had a nice vibe in the area, with people browsing shops and partaking in the
Colombian cafe culture.
The area surrounding Parque Lleras generally is fairly tranquil during the day, and doesn't really get going until mid-evening. Still, it was a nice place today to linger over a cup of coffee and lunch - restaurants in El Poblado are very expensive by Colombian standards, with entrees at the typical restaurant running upwards of $15 CAD. Surprisingly, there was a little dive restaurant serving the typical Colombian set lunch, la comida corriente, for less than $4 CAD - a stunning deal in this part of town. Completely packed with locals on their lunch hour, it was a good indication of the quality and value offered by the place. Apparently, a deal can still be found in this exclusive barrio - in fact, it's probably the deal in all of Medellin!
Looking for something a little more colourful after lunch, I popped down to the city centre - intense like most South American city centres, the streets were packed with people strolling and browsing the numerous shops and street vendors. While nice, El Poblado doesn't seem like the average South American barrio, but the city centre feels far more real, with a bit of an edge
Giacomo Delicioso ...
... Parque Lleras was a tad quiet this morning, so I chose an off-park location. The cappuccino was a bit disappointing, not as good as the typical java I've been having.
to it. Loud, busy, and intense ... it's a nice change from the sanitized experience of El Poblado. But again, the hot muggy weather of Medellin took its toll, and I was left feeling beat up, once again - seems to be a common thing here in Colombia!
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