Sunday, February 21, 2016


Having taken up an entire day for the museum and not made it to much else, I dedicated the next two days to wandering around town and seeing the rest of the sights. I didn't spend a lot of time at each one, but I made it around town to see quite a bit.

The first stop was actually not really a stop itself - it was the metrocable. The metro system is connected up with a couple of cable-car lines as well, and for less than a dollar you can get a ticket that gives you unlimited rides on them, with the exception of the one that goes outside the city to Parque Arvi. So I once again trekked down the hill to the metro and rode up a way, this time transferring to a metrocable on my way.

These things give some pretty good views.
I ended up riding out one spur of the metrocable and all the way back, and then taking the train farther up to the other spur, which I took all the way Parque Arvi (for an additional $2). After hoisting us up the mountain that borders town (including going over some very poor neighborhoods where the "houses" were mostly shacks), you cruise across the park for a bit and get deposited down next to a little market. You can feel the change in elevation even between Medellin and here, as you take the cable car up to almost 7,500 feet and the temperature drops some. I was thankful for the sunny day to keep it warm rather than the clouds that had dominated the day before.

There was a trail below the cables which is probably for maintenance, but one of the guys in the car and I were discussing how much fun it would be to ride on a dirtbike.

Picked up some fruit with sweetened condensed milk on top at the market.
After wandering through the market, I headed out to hike through the park a bit. Unfortunately, I underestimated how big the park was, so after walking for a while and then realizing it would be a few hours to arrive where I thought I was headed, I went back near the market to where there was a little restaurant with (you guessed it) craft beers. Why exercise when I can drink beer instead?

The whole place was dug down into the ground, which was a nice relief from the sun I'd attempted walking through.
While I was relaxing there, the family that had been in the cable car with me came in as well, so I ended up talking to them for a while. The guy who I'd talked motorcycles with asked me if I had a girlfriend in Medellin - "No, I'm only here for five days," I replied. "Hey, that's five days you could be with a girlfriend!" he said with a grin.

Eventually I took the metrocable back down into the city, but instead of going straight back, I got off at the Parque Berrio stop because of the cool looking building I'd seen when riding by before - it turned out to be the Palacio de la Cultura.

The alternating light and dark bricks really make this building look unique.
I wandered through the plaza for a bit, got some street food, and got a haircut at a place that was run like a machine. The barbers were thorough but super efficient, and there was a whole system in place involving number tags that they hung on hooks to keep track of who was next in line and who had paid, since there were multiple people handling it. It was one of the quicker haircuts I've had and even included a shave (though without shaving cream - somehow he managed to do a decent job of not irritating the skin despite that).

There were bands playing, other musicians, food and craft vendors, and a group of older couples dancing salsa to some live music.

There was a whole series of statues of people with exaggerated proportions - a large body and tiny head, or bulging limbs.
After wandering through the plaza a bit more and checking out some of the sculptures around it, I hopped back on the metro and went back to the cafe. This time I settled for only a beer at the Medellin Beer Factory, and picked up food at a Peruvian sandwich place down the road. Since it was Saturday night, I ended up going out to the bars to dance for a little bit, but was pretty tired so I didn't stay out too late.

I woke up the next morning and got breakfast at the cafe like I'd been doing most mornings as a way to ease into the day. (By this point, Andres at the cafe knew my order and would just confirm it when I came down before starting things.) After that, I headed out on expedition day two of "see everything else in Medellin.

The view out the window from my breakfast corner.

My typical breakfast: double cappuccino, yogurt and fruit, cereal, either pancakes or toast, and sometimes a banana chocolate chip cake as well. After this breakfast, I usually didn't eat until dinner.
Today's adventure started with the metro once again, but this time I headed to the Pueblito Paisa on Nutibarra hill. I got off at what I thought was the closest metro stop, but still had to trek across some large roads and large traffic circles to get to the bottom of the hill. But once there, I marched up the steps to the top of the hill, arriving only a little out of breath. (Hey, Medellin is almost as high as Denver.)

The Pueblita is intended to be a recreation of the traditional Colombian town from past times. And while it probably does a good job of that, I didn't find it all that impressive due to the fact that, you know, I'd actually been through a bunch of towns that still look like this when I was riding through the Colombian countryside. I suppose if all you see of Colombia is the big cities, it might be a neat little thing, but I wasn't too impressed since I'd seen the real thing.

The mural was cool though.
How the Pueblita looks from the stairs above.
Some cool restaurants on the back side of the Pueblito.
There were some really good views of the city from here.
After trekking back down the other side of the hill (passing all the huffing and puffing people going up), I made my way to Plaza Mayor. I ended up stumbling across a "museum of water" which sounded cool, but turned out to be more like a normal museum than Parque Explora. It only cost $2 to get in, but I didn't feel like I got much out of it. I stopped for some coffee and to relax a bit while sitting in front of the "barefoot plaza" where there were a lot of kids running around on a sand-like material with their shoes off. I almost went in myself, but given that it was mostly kids running around there, I thought it might be frowned upon if a 30-year old white guy started running around with the kids.

One of the cooler parts of the water museum. Each little circle had a screen with a video that would play when you stepped on it.
Street art walking near the plaza.

Interesting architecture.
This plaza was closed off so I couldn't get a closer pictures, but this sculpture was pretty cool.
Finally I went to head back to my neighborhood because I had an important thing I had to be back for: the Superbowl. And you can probably guess where I went to watch it. Yup, Medellin Beer Factory.

I was happy to see this outside the day before. At this point the waitresses and the bartenders knew me pretty well, so getting to see the Superbowl at my "usual" place felt right.
While it was cool to see the game, the announcers talked all in Spanish (of course), and the commercials, one of the best parts of the Superbowl, don't get broadcast outside the US apparently (in retrospect, also of course). I mean, it makes sense - of course they're not going to advertise for US companies in Colombia. Fortunately I had people in the US letting me know what the good ones were so I could look them up on Youtube afterward. But it was enjoyable to get to watch the game with a group that had a decent number of Americans to talk to the game about, and with good beer and delicious wings.

That concluded my escapades for Medellin - I felt like I covered everything I wanted to. While TripAdvisor isn't always the best indicator of things to do, I'd covered almost all of the top 20 things that they listed, so I felt like it was time to move on. But first, I had one more day-trip to do.

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