Making Memories in Medellín

I landed in Medellín around 4:30 PM. It was pretty shocking to me, even though that was the scheduled arrival time. We had been sitting in the plane on the tarmac for an almost 45-minute delay. I was covered in sweat due to the plane being so hot. I grabbed my bag from the carousel and walked out to grab a cab. Ochenta mil was what everyone was quoting ($25), but I managed to negotiate someone down to treinta mil ($10). I hopped into the backseat with 3 other strangers, and we took off. The ride into the city was about thirty minutes, with almost 10 of those driving through the longest tunnel I’ve ever been in. Doing a quick Wikipedia search, it’s the Tunel de Oriente and is ranked 51st in tunnel length in the world…I have no idea if that’s impressive or not.

This week I stayed at the Chillin District Hostel in a neighborhood of Medellín called El Poblado. El Poblado is a very commercial area of the city, with many bars, restaurants, and Americans. The hostel here was very different than the one I stayed in while I was in Bogotá. Whereas in Bogotá, it seemed like I was in a hotel, this was more of a large house shared by strangers. I actually liked the vibe here much more. It was easier to meet people, and the community here was much more like a group of friends than strangers passing through. I met a lot of good and interesting people here. I also managed to snag a bottom bunk.

On my second day in town, I spent time getting some work done. I had the opportunity to meet with the CEO of a startup named La Haus, which I will be recapping this week.

Most of the week was spent exploring the city, as I am apt to do in a new place. I went to the Museo de Antioquia, which is a large collection of South American art. I also went to the Museo Casa de la Memoria, which explores the history of violence in Medellín. Some other highlights were the Jardin Botanico de Medellin and Cerro Nutibara. Below are some pictures I got throughout the week:

My hostel was very close to an area in El Poblado called Parque Lleras. I was pretty lucky that there was an outdoor gym there, so I could finally get some exercise in. It’s early in the trip, but I can already tell exercising regularly will be a challenge for me. Back home, it was easier to get into a routine and stick to it. While on the road, I’m moving around so much that I have to force myself to make it an important part of my day. Luckily, I haven’t been sedentary. I walk so much throughout the week that I can count that as exercise.

The food here was different than in Bogotá. There were a lot of Asian and American themed restaurants. In general, I wouldn’t recommend Colombia as a foodie country. I had excellent meals when I had traveled through Argentina, and I hear excellent things about the food in Peru (which I can’t wait to try). The two things that really stick out to me here are arepas, basically maize-based pancakes, and fruit. The fruit here is very fresh, and the mangos, in particular, are delicious. Medellín, more specifically El Poblado, was so commercialized I didn’t have many traditional Colombian dishes. Instead, I ate a large variety of things, from ramen to burgers, and below are some of the better meals that I ate. A big shoutout to Crepes & Waffles, a restaurant that was down the street from the hostel. We all loved the bread bowls so much that we went there three days in a row.

On Wednesday, I took a day trip 2 hours outside the city to Laguna de Guatape, a giant rock looking over a lake. It’s 705 steps to the top, but the views are worth it. To get here, I had to take Medellín’s metro system north to the bus station, then hop on a bus to head two hours east of the city. After the climb, I took a tuk-tuk (small jeep-like vehicle) to the local town, which was very pretty. My friend Matthias and I walked around and grabbed a cup of coffee. I then headed back to the city, exhausted from the long day.

Friday night was spent making a group dinner at the hostel, then drinking and barhopping late into the evening. It almost felt like I was back home, having a night out with people I’ve felt like I’ve known for years. Unfortunately, Saturday morning came, and I again had to pack my bags for my next destination.

Medellín was a stark contrast from Bogotá. I think the biggest difference beyond the city itself was my accommodation. I got very comfortable here, and I certainly wanted to stay longer with my newly made friends. I will certainly miss the people I met here, but the show must go on. I am flying to Cartagena in a few hours to spend a few days at the beach, and then I’m off to the Amazon. This post may not be as good as the others, but I’m hungover and mailing it in.

Until next time,

Adios!

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