Quote Of The Day

"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

South America : Day 14 : Medellín City Tour…

Our hotel is lodged in the buzzing El Poblado area of Medellín. It’s lush and tropical. Humming birds, exotic plants, and weirdly intricate insects flutter around as we breakfasted on the patio.   

Colombian coffee inside us, we soon embarked upon a grand tour of the greater city. Medellín is a sprawling place - it has a dense central district, a colonial past - museums and art galleries. The residential areas consist of tower blocks and brick and  wooden houses that seem to cling to the sides of mountains like mosses and infiltrate the nearby forests like vines. 

It’s a glorious melange.   

Medellín is certainly a city with a history; from the valiant founding fathers trekking across the Andes, through to the dark days of drug cartels and the city’s more recent rebirth as one of South America’s most vibrant & progressive.   

We started in Barefoot park - shoes optional. It was very ‘mindful’ - bamboo wood, sensory struts, tree-hugging. Not quite what we expected. 

We then visited Comuna 13, a rough area which once suffered from appalling levels of violence - shootings, car bombs, etc  - but which now has been utterly transformed by the locals through transport, education and street art projects.  We stopped for a coffee and chat with the locals. 

We then rode on the city’s famous cable car system high up into the hills that gave us not only great views of the city but a chance to understand better the geography and social make-up of Colombia’s second city.     

Back down in the valley, our lunch stop was in a little place that had a rich variety of local delicacies on offer. Stu had a rice and pork dish, I plumped for ajiaco - a chicken / potato soup with a whole sweet corn, cream, avocado, banana, capers, and rice. Yum.   

Afterwards we walked around a crazily chaotic street market ending up in a dingy area at the back. The men were selling watches, the girls selling sex.   

A sad light district really. The girls were simply walking the streets. Teenagers most of them. So sad.

We then visited the Parque Berrio (that cheeky fellow Fernando Botero again) to see the famous Botero sculpture park. 

One of the bird sculptures was partially destroyed in 1995 by a terrorist bomb killing 28 young people at an outdoor concert and maiming 200. The damaged sculpture was left as a reminder and a new prouder bird added next to it. 

A fascinating day out. 

Fun fact: Utilities in Medellín (gas, electricity, water, internet etc) are all supplied by a single government-owned company EPM. The service is quite good apparently and each home pays a tariff based on the wealth in the local area. Lower in poorer areas. Higher in richer areas. 

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