Day 3 – 5. Christmas in Medellin

Day 3 – Arriving in Medellin

Up at 05:15 for a 05:45 pick-up to the airport. Not to fond of early morning but it went well.

Getting on our plane to Medellin went good and all the luggage arrived at the other side. Good start to the day.

Then we were picked up at drove for about half an hour to our hostel in Medellin. We are staying at the Hostel Lleras for three days and will be celebrating Christmas here before moving on.

After getting into our eight person dorm room it was time to get some proper food. The hostel in Bogota had no breakfast for us at such a early time. Sofia had fixed something, but by now I was ready for some more food.

The area we are living at these few days are full of bars, pubs and other places, however that early there is not a whole lot open. But we found a nice place and had a great meal, ready to start some more exploring of Medellin.

Medellin got the only subway system in Colombia. Or I guess not proper subway since a lot of trains run aboec ground and there is also a network for cable carts connecting part of town. Me, Lotta, Maria and Leffe decided to go travel one of these. This has to be the longest cable cart I’ve ever ridden. Starting a few stops on the subway from the centre of town and going over one fill, down the valley at the other side and then back up another hill. It has four stations in total.

We ended our round trip in what seem to be the centre of Medellin. There we walked around for a bit and found a place to have a beer. This part of town is very busy, people and cars everywhere. At the place we grabbed a drink we also met a local who enjoyed his drink even more than us. An experience it it self šŸ™‚

But being in that part of town is tiring so we caught the subway back out to our part of town. Walking up we had a pit stop at Cafe Bar 1977. This place just opened a few weeks ago and got a nice atmosphere and great staff.

Later we went to another bar for some drinks and then on to dinner.

Last ting for me tonight is to top up my batteries and get ready for another early start tomorrow.

Day 4 – Day trip to GuatapĆ© and El PeƱol

Out first day in Medellin and er go om Ć„ daytrip to the GuatapĆ© region. This region is known for a few things. El PeƱol, The sunken city. El PeĆ±Ć³n de GuatapĆ©, the rock and the villa of Pablo Escobar.

The drive from Medellin offers some spectacular views as the road goes up and over the steeps hills that is typical for this part of Colombia. And our first stop is the replica of the centre of the old El PeƱol town. This used to be the largest city in the GuatapƩ region until the new power electric dam was built. The old town is now marked with a cross in the lake where the old church was located and is buried under eight meters of water.

From here we went on to PeĆ±Ć³n de GuatapĆ©, The rock of GuatapĆ©. This is a free standing shear rock peaking at 220 meters. To get there you scale the 740 steps built into a crack going all the way to the top. A walk well worth doing for a spectacular view of the surrounding areas. The rock is self is own by one family and the land was bought by them back in the 1960. Already a few years later the first wooden stairs were erected and later concrete stairs were built. When you walk up the staircase goes on the outside and offers views as you ascend. The descending stairs goes on the inside of these in a natural crack in the rock. Continuous improvements are done to the stairs and in a few years youĀ“ll be able to see the new failings going all the way to the top.

At the summit is a lookout tower to further enhance the view, and to sell tourist goods of course.

From the rock we went to the city of GuatapƩ. This town grew when the old El PeƱol was moved and is now the main city in the region. There we had lunch before heading out on the water for a guided tour. This led us to the cross of old El PeƱol and past one of Pablo Escobars Villas that was bombed in 1993. Other buildings on the property is now used as a paintball arena.

Back in GuatapƩ we walked the colourful streets for a while and watched street musicians in one of the town squares.

Then it was time to head back toe Medellin.

Back at our hostel we went for dinner, tonight was pizza night. However I managed one piece before deciding I needed to go home. I didnĀ“t feel well at all. Either I had eaten something that my stomach didnĀ“t like or I was dehydrated.

The night ende with me throwing up and going to bed with a slight fever. Tomorrow the plan is to go to La Catedral, the prison of Pablo Escobar. WeĀ“ll see how that goes.

Day 5 – Comuna 13 and Christmas

No La Catedral for me. I had a horrible time getting any sleep. Tossing in my bed and the loud music until late didnĀ“t help.

So when the rest left for the morning trip I stayed in bed drinking lots of water and relaxing with my book.

When the rest of the group came back I got up, had a shower and actually managed to eat a bit. At least I now feel up for some walking.

We are doing a walking tour of Comuna 13, one of the poor parts of Medellin where grate changes has been going on for the last couple of years. The government has started a program to remove criminals, and help the locals help them selves. One of the big changes is a network of escalators going from the lower parts to the top of the hill. Earlier this was a hard walk up the steep hillside. ItĀ“s a great change to the life of people living here.

Even so the process of cleaning up the area was not without controversy. A lot of innocent people were killed in the charge to root out the criminal elements.

To me this seem a lot like the process that has been going on in the favelas of Rio as well.

After this walk we went back to there hostel for out Christmas Dinner.

Dinner was served at the hostel and we got traditional Colombian Barbeque dishes. Not a lot fo green stuff that is.

I still felt tired so I went to bed right after dinner.

Tomorrow we are leaving for Manizales at nine. A late start for once.

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