After the high of Cartagena, a few too many Mojitos and long days in the sun it was time to move on. Honestly I was a bit apprehensive to visit Medellin at first. After our not so great time in Bogota I wasn’t feeling psyched and also a bit sad to be leaving the laid back attitude of the coast. But after less then a day I was sold. The people were friendly (we understood their spanish!) the public transport safe and immaculate (only train system in Colombia) and the cable car rides breathtaking! One of the routes takes you up over the mountains to a beautiful park – Parque Arvi. Our guide showed us the different species of plants that keep the animals alive. It was very exciting to pick up words and context as he toured us around. My Medellin highlight was undoubtably our 4hour Walking Tour led by the amazing Hernan (Eeeernaaan). I learnt a hell of a lot during this time. From a brief ‘cartoon’ history of how the region was formed, to touching on the Escobar years and ‘the violence’ to Medellin today. Hernan provided an unbiased and entertaining point of view and along with priceless information from a Paisa (antiquoa native) we were able to visit neighbourhoods off the beaten track. Neighbourhoods that just a few years ago you wouldn’t dare to visit. The city has spent a lot of time and money investing in areas and improving safety. Whether it’s the Botero sculptures around the city, numerous parks and paved squares or outdoor eateries – locals and tourists feel safe to be outside. A relatively new concept considering the very dark and very recent history. A lot of which still continues today behind closed doors. I believe Medellin is the symbol for a new Colombia and I feel very fortunate to have witnessed the strength and determination of its people. The perfect ending to our time in Colombia – ‘Where the only risk is wanting to stay’.
One of our days in Medellin we spent day tripping to the sleepy Spanish colonial fishing town of Guatape. Famous for its giant rock which you can climb 750 steep cement steps to get to the top. The view was beautiful but my favourite part was definitely riding into town in the pimped out Tuk Tuk. Later after lunch, we hired a boat and a gangster captain to take us out on the water. We drank Medellin rum and listened to spanish hip hop. Amazing. In the last photo you can see the rock we climbed.