Medellin, Colombia, South America
I had a very nice day of sightseeing today around Medellin. I can see why people say this city is so much nicer than Bogotíç. I started out by taking the metro to the cable car up to Santo Domingo, which goes straight over the ghetto area of the city. It reminded me of the favelas you see in Rio. I’ve never been there, but have seen it on tv, and this reminded me a lot of that. The cable car was exactly the same that I used to ride going skiing. They sit six people and there are a million of them, so you don’t really have to wait. I got to the last station which was Santo Domingo, and then I saw the line of people. You had to get off the cable car and take another one to get up to Parque Arvi.
This had been recommended as a place I should visit because it has nice views of the city, and it’s far enough outside that it is quiet and relaxing. There was a queue for about 15 minutes to get a ticket for the next cable car, and these ran much less frequently, so it took a bit longer than the previous cable cars. Today is a holiday in Colombia though, so I’m guessing that’s why it’s a bit more crowded than it would normally be on a Monday. The first couple of minutes on this cable car were very impressive showing the city of Medellin in the valley in the middle of all the mountains. It’s a pretty cool view. After we got up and over the top of the mountain, the cable car kept going for about 10 minutes to get to the park. Most of the scenery from here on was just forest. I thought I’d be able to see more of the city from up there, but you couldn’t.
I got off at the park at the top, and it was bizarre. There was no entrance, or information center for the park. There was a small market at the top where I bought a cup of fruit salad which was excellent, and then just started walking down a road. There were no signs for where to go or what to see, so I just walked. It didn’t feel like I was really in a park. It seemed like I was just on a road at the top of a mountain. I walked around for about an hour and a half and finally realized that this park was just not for me. Maybe I missed something, because it just seemed so random.
I got the cable car back down to city level and shared the ride with a very friendly mother and daughter. Isabel and Manuela were really nice and gave me some tips on what to see in the city while I’m here. They were really nice, and it gave me a chance to practice a little bit of my Spanish, and they practiced their English too. It was nice. The people here are so friendly. Although with such a nice city and perfect weather, how could they not be?
I caught the metro over to the Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden), which had come highly recommended by Melissa, so I wanted to check it out. I am not usually impressed with botanical gardens. Almost every city in the world has one, but they are not usually too great. This one was very impressive. It isn’t too big, which is good because everything was really concentrated. I had lunch in a cafe in the park and got to take in the sights and sounds of the park while enjoying a traditional colombian meal. When walking around the park I also saw a few random iguanas climbing around in the bushes, and that was very cool. It’s certainly not something I normally see in botanical gardens anyway.
I headed back to the hotel for about an hour for a rest, and then I headed down to the main shopping area of town. This was another part of the city that really showcased how bad my area of town is. There were nice houses, nice shops, and big beautiful malls. I went into the Santa Fe mall to find that there was a flower show going on inside. It was pretty cool to see so many flowers in the middle of a mall.
Next to these malls and shops was the Hard Rock Cafe Medellin, so of course I went in and enjoyed a great dinner. I switched it up this time instead of having fajitas, I went for ribs and pulled pork. It was great choice! I won’t be hungry for a while, that’s for sure! I also asked a few of the staff members where I could find the picture that Jacquelien sent me for my scavenger hunt. This time it was the inside of a mall, but I hadn’t found it on my own yet. Luckily, it was just around the corner from the HRC, so I was able to go in after dinner and get the picture to complete the task.
I got a taxi back to the hotel because it was dark, and if I didn’t feel completely comfortable walking around my hotel during the day, there was no way I was going to walk up there at night. The taxi was great and dropped me at my door after reiterating that I should not go walking around on my own. It’s not safe. I guess I’m going to have to add this to my review of the hotel just so no other travelers make the same mistake and think this is a good area.