I flew from Cartagena to Medellin – you can get a bus but the flight was only $50 dollars, so to save on time I flew. Not that I really remember flying as it was a complete blur! I was dosed up on anti histamine as I’d had a allergic reaction to something so I actually don’t really remember my flight haha. All I remember is getting to the Black sheep hostel in Medellin and being soooooo happy I’d booked a private room for one night. Sometimes it just has to be done! Clean towels, English TV – I slept for 14 hours! And felt so much better the next day. Managed to eat for first time in 4 days and life was good. I said goodbye to my private room and moved into a dorm! Where I met the three Aussie girls I’d end up travelling with for the next couple of weeks.
Medellin surprised me! I’m not normally a fan of big cities as you know but Medellin was so different to the other parts of Colombia I’d seen, I found it fascinating.
The real city walking tour was really good – the lady who ran it was so enthusiastic and totally in love with her city and where she was from. Her enthusiasm was catching and her want to depart knowledge about Colombia was great – she was willing to talk about areas that most Colombians quite fairly want to forget. She explained some of the politics, the history and why things are how they are today with a very honest overtone. She was 30 so had lived through it all and to her it was very real. Highly recommend the tour.
Two things massively struck me in Medellin – the metro and the lack of tourists. I’ve never been to a city in the world, so well developed with so few tourists/gringos. We were starred at a lot and most people were more interested in us than we were in the city. Some old boy stopped me and told me my eyes were like the mountain 😂 who knows what that means but I’m going to take it as a compliment. Whenever we stopped to talk, Carolina explained that people would join in and try to listen because they were fascinated with the English. She was very careful to not say Escobar’s name because she said that people would only understand that word and not the context and would be angry thinking she was glorifying him. At one point she called him Voldemort or he who must not be named.
The second thing was the metro. It’s brilliant, clean and you’d think you were anywhere in Europe – the only difference being, the people are so proud of it, it’s completely clean. No graffiti, no damage to anything – like no other tube/metro or subway I’ve ever been in the world. The metro also connects to the 4 cable cars that take you to the barrios. And you don’t have to pay more! We went to the San Domingo Cable car in the North of the city. It takes only about 10 mins to get up but if you look below at the steps it is soooo steep.
The views across the city are stunning and Medellin is vast with the barrios so colourful and full of life. The one we walked around was one of the safest. One of them, I can’t remember which one but check, they recommend you don’t get out and walk around.
I stayed in Medellin a total of 6 days, one of those days we did a day trip to Guatape which I absolutely loved. If I’d have had more time I definitely would have stayed in the little town. It was super cute and so colourful.
The main reason most people go to Guatape is to climb the 740 steps of the big monolith (big rock). The rock looks out over manmade lakes and the view is most definitely worth the climb. Me being not very fit had to stop every 100 steps to take in the view. I.e. Regain my breathe to carry on. I’m so happy I made it to the top as I was really worried I’d fail but I tried to stay positive and I made it.
The views were stunning! I took hundreds of photos that I now need to go through and find the best.
The tour we did was from Black sheep hostel – it’s quite expensive for Colombian standards (about £30) but worth it for the food alone. We got picked up at 9.30, driven an hour outside of Medellin into beautiful countryside ( I was really stunned how different this part of Colombia is to the Caribbean north). We arrived at the guys home for breakfast. Cooked eggs, real lovely bread, guacamole and much much more. After breakfast, we were asked if we wanted to sit on top of the van for the views – which to be honest I was wary about but so worth it for the views. I was clinging on so tightly, by the end my hands were soooo red!
After off roading for half an hour we went back into the van for the main road, and then taken to a remote part of one of the lakes to swim. People were jumping from the bridge and relishing in the fresh cold water.
Next was the rock! And after the rock came the biggest treat. The dinner which had been cooked/prepared in the van ( once the seats had all been taken out! Obviously)
The food was delicious – honestly the best food I’d had in Colombia and maybe in the last two months.
After dinner we went and explored Guatape town and then headed back to Medellin – a long day but totally worth it. Our bus was definitely the best as the guy put on a dodgy 80s video with some serious classics. There was a fantastic rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody 😂😂😂 if I do say so myself.
The next day, back in Medellin we went to the Museum of memories – quite a small museum but hugely moving and brilliantly done; dedicated to the memories of the people killed during the last 30 years. People who were ‘forced disappearance’ and never seen again, young men shot on the street and families torn apart. The museum was a mixture of art exhibitions, people telling their own stories and timelines of the history. It’s very draining so afterwards a Colombian coffee with a lot of sugar was required!
There is more to come on my thoughts of olombia and last day in Medellin but I’ll leave that to the next blog ( this one is getting a bit long)