These last 10 days have been the best start to our adventure we ever could’ve asked for – warmth, sea, adventure, happiness – so it was with a sad heart that on Wednesday we left the beautiful Carribean coast of Colombia for the country’s hinterland. We had a flight booked from Santa Marta to Medellin with VivaColombia (low fare airline a la Ryanair) so after our last breakfast under the toasting sun we jumped in a cab for the airport (which looked more like a dodgy bus terminal). Once we took off the views from high above were stunning and a great way to say farewell to the sea.
The flight was quite comfy and went OK, though little Annalie is increasingly growing scared of flying so needed some hand holding (but not too much as we’re not sure how much they like the gays over here). After an hour we started gliding past the clouds and began to see rolling fields of deep green lushiousness. Our eyes widened and in seconds we knew this second stop of our trip was going to be good. The airport of Medellin is located about 45 mins from the center so the cab ride was a joy to be in and allowed us to take in the sweet countryside and get a good view of the city which is in a valley between high hills. Medellin is known as the city of eternal spring, which can instantly be appreciated not only by its greenery but also by its weather. After 10 days of profusely sweating in 35 degree heat we were actually glad to be able to breathe again.
Our hostel here is called The PitStop; it has a pool table, ping pong table, hammocks and a swimming pool, so we knew we’d fit right in, but it was 3pm by now and late lunch was calling. We strolled to town and our first impressions were very good spotting a few mean graffitis along the way.
Our tired legs took us to Parque Lleras, a square surrounded by tons of restaurants and bars. Medellin is known for 3 reasons: a) it’s the second largest city of the country b) it’s where Pablo Escobar was killed c) its party scene. So during the week and weekends people flock to this square to let their hair down and get a bit leary (or Lleery). I was about to faint from hunger so we stopped at a good looking restaurant that had 30% off a selection of dishes (in hindsight should’ve seen it as a warning). We got served microwaved quesadillas with chicken and a kilo of cheese and fairly decent tacos.
Food reenergized us enough to go buy some bits for breakfast and head back to the hostel for some rest and a good night’s sleep. We woke up to the rain which luckily stopped in time for our outing. We sat in the garden and had yoghurt and mango for breakfast. The food overall in Colombia has been ok, some meals better than others, but I must say the fruit has been consistently epic.
As Medellin is a big city our first stop was the Metro Cable, a cable car which takes you from the lowest point of the valley to the high tops on the outskirts of the city where a big park lays. The higher up you go and the worse the condition of the surrounding houses are, with the slum of the city being close to the tip. The views from the cable car were overwhelming and stunning and it wasn’t till this little journey that we actually realised how huge the city is!
On the cable car we made friends – Penny and Will, two travelling Australian graduates – and spent the rest of the day with them. When the cable car ended we reached the park, Piedras Blancas, and quite promptly got lost. Fantastic. Of course Annalie and I had opted for flip flops on this glorious day of sunshine but little did we know we’d be trudging through muddy slopes in the middle of this park. I guess after our hike to El Pueblito in Tayrona we’re now expert flip flop trekkers, so who knows, we might set a Guinness World record and use them for Macchu Pichu too! Anyway, a nice yet short walk through the park eventually lead us to another park where we stopped for lunch. No escaping typical colombian grub here though: rice beans and meat it was! The three types of meat were chorizo sausage, chicharron (fried pork) and something they listed as ‘powdered beef’ (more like left over dry meat zoomed up in the processor)
After lunch we went on to discover the park and it was actually very pretty and fairly dead so all for ourselves. The lake shimmered, the butterflies followed us and we even found a kids playground to go and have some fun in 🙂
Tomorrow will see us exploring the outskirts of Medellin, probably under the rain.
Ciao for now! X