I arrived in Medellin, Colombia on Tuesday morning about 9:00 after a quick stop in Panama City. Getting through the Medellin airport was a breeze, and I caught a ride to my hotel. Everyone was super friendly and even with my very rough Spanish I was able to check in early and get in a nap. After a couple hours rest and a shower, I was recharged and ready to explore!
It was a bit gloomy and overcast, but the air was fresh, the plants were lush, and as I made my way into town to get a lay of the land and find a SIM card. I spent a couple of hours roaming and watched the bars and restaurants setup the streets for the evening crowd while trying a couple of delicious street tacos and a local beer.
Later in the evening I returned to town to check out the happy hour scene. The streets had been transformed with mood lighting and music. There was even a DJ on the balcony overlooking several bars. I hung for a while, enjoying the people watching, but got tired early and headed back for a good night sleep.
Day 2, I booked a small morning tour to Comuna 13, an amazing, resilient neighborhood that is reviving itself through art, education, and passion. My local tour guide was Alex, a 23-year-old guy, who is wise well beyond his years. He has an inspiring story, growing up during much unrest in the country, he lost his blood family when he was a baby due to them being unwilling to leave during the guerilla takeover. He was adopted and has been studying different languages and cultures since he was 10. He has taught himself English, Russian, and Japanese all from You Tube! Amazing! Aside from that, he is so passionate about Colombian history and the history of his neighborhood. The tour included me and two great German ladies. Alex took us up the stairs, winding through the community to see the unbelievable graffiti art, street rappers, and children’s play areas. I believe you will see the passion of the community from the pics! Enjoy!
Day 3, I headed out of Medellin on a Spanish speaking tour to Guatapé. I’m not used to big tours, especially in Spanish, so this was a treat! I have to say, the energy was infectious even though I understood very few details. Both the guide and the others on the tour laughed and cheered as we wound through the countryside with upbeat music in the background. We stopped at a couple small towns and took a boat tour to see Pablo Escobar’s former property near Guatapé that has been taken by the Government. Not that I’m a big Pablo fan, but the abandoned property is super cool looking! The other farms and properties were so beautiful too!
After the boat ride, we had a bit of lunch and then had the opportunity to climb the 708 stairs at El Peñól de Guatapé (The rock of Guatapé, which is approximately 65 million years old) to see the 360° views of Embalse El Peñol-Guatapé’, one of the largest lakes in Colombia, created by the construction of a dam which provides about 30% of the electricity to the country.
To complete the tour, we had some time to walk around the town which is so cute and colorful. At the end of the day, I got my bags from the bus and walked to my beautiful hostel, Oak Tree Hostel, for a relaxing evening before my yoga/meditation retreat begins.
Until next time, peace, love, happiness and hugs!