Blogs from Medellin, Colombia, South America

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South America » Colombia » Medellin March 18th 2015

Compared with yesterday everything went smoothly. The plan was to go to La Piedra del Peñol which is a very big rock overlooking a pretty reservoir in which land covered in dense vegetation and water are so intertwined that it is impossible to say which bits are islands. After that I was going on to a resort on the water which is much favoured by weekend trippers. The bus trip was fine with picture postcard perfect scenery. Fields of crops sloping down the hills with cows grazing and the occasional cluster of palm trees to remind us we were somewhere exotic. Have decided also that the green of the hills and vegetation somehow looks paler and bleached compared with home and certainly with Galicia. Got off the bus near the rock and an Argentinian couple included ... read more
La Piedra de Peñol
View from 'La Piedra del Peñol
View from beginning of climb up La Piedra del Peñol

South America » Colombia » Medellin March 17th 2015

Well, today was one of those days when nothing goes quite as it should. The plan was to go up the cable car to Parque Arvi in the morning and back to downtown Medellín in the afternoon. This was my only day for sightseeing proper here as am doing another bus trip tomorrow. To get to the park you take two separate cable cars from one of the mainline metro stations. The first, which is included in the 50p fare, was built to link poor people living high up on one of the hills to the centre of the city in the valley. (There are other cable cars serving other slopes, although slope is too gentle a word). The first ride gives you a bird's eye view of poverty whereas the cable car to the park ... read more
Butterfly enclosure, Parque Arvi
Crysallis, Butterfly enclosure
Artificial lake, Parque Arvi

South America » Colombia » Medellin March 15th 2015

Said goodbye to the B and B in Cartagena with some relief. It was the cook's day off so the gardener prepared breakfast, which was a bit hit and miss. Everything went very smoothly at the airport. With some trepidation I checked my case in. The idea had been to travel with just hand luggage but this turned out to be totally impractical what with the 200 ml bottles of shampoo (none provided anywhere), camomile lotion for mosquito bites (all that the pharmacies here seemed to offer) and body lotion for my sore feet (cream for feet unobtainable here). It would also have helped if I had only taken one jumper and jettisoned the make-up! Fears proved unfounded. Avianca did not lose my luggage. Established that a taxi from the airport to my area of Medellin ... read more
Locals enjoying a Sunday outing to the Botanic Gardens, Medellín
Moitor lizard, Botanic Gardens, Medellín

South America » Colombia » Medellin February 17th 2015

After the lost city trek I went to Carnaval de Barranquilla which is the second biggest carnival in South America, only behnd Rio. I went there with a couple of the girls from the lost city trek, we had a great time partying with all the locals but I didn't take any photos there unfortunately as I didn't take my camera out. For that reason I'm skipping to my next stop, Medellin. Medellin is the most modern city in Colombia and it is a really cool city, I went on a walking tour where we saw some places around the city with a guide who told us all about the history of the place. The city has an incredible story as it has recovered from times of extreme violence in the time of Pablo Escobar to ... read more
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South America » Colombia » Medellin February 16th 2015

Music and Flowers Last night we had the pleasure of hearing the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in live performance just a few blocks from our house in Detroit. They are doing a Tchaikovsky Festival, with our own great music director Leonard Slatkin conducting. We heard it in Medellín through the magic of the internet; they are now broadcasting their performances electronically for the whole world. You yourself could connect, at http://www.dso.org/live.aspx . I take e-mail and blogging all for granted now, but the live performance of our own home boys somehow seemed extraordinary. Actually, it is all extraordinary. We are the first people in the history of civilization to experience this. Medellín is a wonderful place in many ways, but there is no orchestra or theater that we have been able to find. In all our travels, ... read more
11. Carol and our driver Diego
12. Water jets
13. Stepping columns

South America » Colombia » Medellin February 2nd 2015

I then spent 2 nights in Santa Marta waiting for my flight to Medellin, which cost a paltry £50 and took 1 hour. Alternatively I could have caught a bus which takes between 16-18 hours and you don’t save that much, for someone as tight as me it was an easy decision to make. On the flight I bumped into another chum from the boat trip who ended up at the same hostel as me. Medellin was a beautiful city and everybody I bumped into elsewhere on my travels couldn’t stop raving about it. The place didn’t disappoint, after a quick wander round with my chum we headed out for a few beers. The hostel was in El Poblado which is a little way out from the centre but the place for nightlife, pure coincidence I ... read more
Medellin
Pablo's private jet
Pablo's jetski

South America » Colombia » Medellin January 30th 2015

The most famous person in Medellín, and maybe in all of Colombia, is an artist named Fernando Botero. He is probably more famous than the president. The National Museum devotes the entire third floor to his works, and spread out in front of the museum, on a long and broad plaza called Botero Park, are many of his monumental scuptures in bronze. If you have ever visited a big art museum in the U.S., you will probably recognize his absolutely unique style. We have a number of his works at the DIA in Detroit, but as just a few in with so many others, his works seem like oddities. Here you see so many that they start to seem normal. He claims to be a figurative artist in the renaissance tradition of El Greco, Botticelli, or ... read more
51. Dressed man
52. Dressed woman
53. Dog

South America » Colombia » Medellin January 26th 2015

Right out of the plane we knew we had made a good choice coming to Medellín. The air was perfect, about 72º, and the scene is hilly, but green; lush tropical vegetation, and flowers everwhere. We are at about 5000 feet, which gets you up out of the humid murk. It rains a little every afternoon, as it does in Mexico City, but it's hardly enough to need an umbrella. Besides, it's over in 20 minutes. We are in a hotel called "In House", $70 a night, in an comfortable neighborhood of shops, restaurants, and other small hotels. There is a lot of car traffic in late afternoon, but the street is shaded like a forest by tall trees, with a little stream nearby- swift and full of waterfalls, down in a gorge below street level ... read more

South America » Colombia » Medellin January 11th 2015

In the United Kingdom it's traditional for the Christmas lights to be taken down by Twelfth night. There are two exceptions that I know of. Me, as I never put any up in the first place and Colombia, where they stretch the Christmas holidays well into the middle of January and beyond. Christmas isn't huge here. It's Massive. Every city, town and village pushes the boat out with lights to celebrate the birth of Christ. It was just after dusk on a balmy Sunday's evening that I met up with Adriana again. She wanted to visit Pueblito Pais (a typical Medellin village) which was festively festooned with lights. I'd spent the day taking in a bit of culture, visiting museums, churches and the like. Since my mum died in 2013 I find an inner peace and ... read more
Lighthouse
The river
Ship

South America » Colombia » Medellin January 8th 2015

The journey from Medellin airport to the city takes about 40 minutes in a cab. As we reached the top of one mountain the city stretched north to south along a deep valley below. A vast city, not as big as Bogota, but buildings constructed high into the mountain side. Countless high rise buildings constructed amongst a green, lush countryside. With a clear blue sky above it looked an amazing sight. I'm staying at a hostel in Parque Lleras, in the Poblado district, one of many areas built on the side of steep hills.It's in the heart of the action with numerous bars and cafés surrounding it. The parque is lit with Christmas lights still. The hostel also boasts a piano. Result. My first impression of Medellin then is as Joe described. Awesome. A busy, vibrant ... read more
Artwork
Lights of hope
Old building




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