After the English Immersion Week in El Carmen, Alex, Michael, and I traipsed to Medellín for a few days. As much as I love my site, I could have stayed.
Friday night we overlapped with some other volunteers, so met up to find good food, drinks, and music. The area we ventured to had streets lined with lights. We were not disappointed.
Saturday morning I ventured to Guatapé and La Piedra (the rock.) It’s about two hours out of Medellín and worth the visit! La Piedra is exactly as it sounds, a rock. A giant one to be exact. Why is it there? No one really knows. Luckily, someone knew that they should climb it and then build a staircase so those with minor rock climbing abilities (me) could enjoy it as well.
Stairs zig zag up one side leading to an amazing view. On the bus there I sat next to Stephanie, a lovely French woman who has traveled extensively, teaching French. We ended up taking on La Piedra together and exploring Guatapé together. There’s something to be said for traveling alone and who you meet along the way!
As we walked up the road to get to La Piedra, while everyone else was swooshing by in a car or motocarro, we got to take in the views, even from the ground view. As we started our climb I was reminded how little I have been working out. Don’t get me wrong, I walk all over my pueblo, but something about stairs always gets me. And these aren’t just a few stairs, we are talking lots of stairs, 740 to be exact. Luckily there are a lot of views to take in along the way (also giving an excuse to stop and breathe.)
At the top is an observatory tower, getting in the last 100 steps or so. It’s worth the extra stairs.
The descent is on an inner staircase, much sharper turns than the outer staircase. We got to the bottom and proceeded on to the pueblo Guatapé. Sitting on the water, Guatapé is full of beautifully colored houses with designs of llamas, horses, flowers, and more. The cobblestone streets weave through the different neighborhoods.
I arrived back in Medellín to find Alex and Michael preparing a delicious, macaroni-and-cheese with bacon dinner, complete with cucumber salad, and all the midwestern hospitality they embody. Not a bad way to end the day!
The next day we headed to the Metro to see the cable cars, a transportation system set in place to connect people in the neighborhoods to the city center. Now it’s used for general transportation and tourists. Having lived in Boston, I felt for the people who were just going about their lives. But being a tourist, I still took lots of pictures.
We traveled on to see the botanical gardens and the Botero Plaza. Botero is a famous Colombian artist and sculpture. Medellín now has a plaza with some of his large, rotund sculptures of people and animals. From there we enjoyed Otra Parte Café, which had been recommended. Yummy appetizers and fancy teas and coffees in a area surrounded by trees.
Through all this, one of the most exciting things (get ready for it), was the fact that we had a washer and dryer in our apartment! We live big here in Peace Corps. Laundry was done, pizza was eaten, and a successful vacation was had.
When will I see you again Medellín? Hopefully soon.