February 15, 2010

the time i went to medellin & saw lots of fat statues and drank pancake flavored tea

As I said in my quick post before the weekend, I spent Valentine's Day weekend with some friends in the city of Medellin, north of Cali in the central Andean mountain range. I have heard some about Medellin from friends and students at school, so I figured it was time for me to discover it for myself. Prior to heading to Medellin, here is what Lonely Planet: Colombia had to say about the city:
"Forget everything you've read about Medellín - it's probably old news by now. Yes, the city was the headquarters and principal killing grounds for Colombia's cocaine cartels. But the world press forgot to report Medellín's remarkable turnaround. Today, it's one of Latin America's safest big cities, and also one of its most pleasant. Although Medellín may lack the sophisticated edge of Bogotá or the sumptuous languor of Cartagena, it has its own unique set of guiles to win over the traveler. Surrounded on all four sides by rugged peaks, there seem to be stunning views wherever you look. With mild temperatures year-round, Medellín deserves the nickname 'City of Eternal Spring.' A dynamic economy, driven by the huge textile industry as well as very brisk business in cut flowers, helps support a lively cultural scene. The narrow streets of downtown, safe once again, are supercharged with pedestrian life. Above all, it's the people who will win you over. Even in ultra-friendly Colombia, they are known for their graciousness and warmth. Life isn't perfect by any means. The slopes around the city are crowded with makeshift slums, a constant reminder of the inequality that plagues not just Medellín but all of Latin America. Still, the city's residents have a special knack for enjoying themselves, and they're more than happy to have you join in."
Sounds pretty sweet, huh? We were excited to get there and even despite some annoying airpot delays still made it to Medellin in high spirits! Our hotel, Prado 61, was a European style boutique (well, boutique for Colombian standards) hotel in the Prado neighborhood of Medellin. The owner spoke English, the rooms were huge and we were served delicious breakfasts each morning of fresh fruit, eggs, fresh juice, coffee and bread for only $3 each. Mmmmmmm. Kelsi & I shared a double room with a massively over-sized bed, twin bed, and a gorgeous bathroom with his & her sinks! :)
Our room.
Dual sinks are so efficient.
While in Medellin, we took out the guidebooks and played tourists for the weekend - checking out all that Medellin had to offer! After a weekend of exploring I could not agree more with my guidebook when the quote next to Medellin on the maps says "Classy Medellin is a city with something to prove." The city is definitely trying to make its way in the world by putting forth an image of modernity. From the fancy Metro (only one in Colombia!) to newly fashioned parks & plazas, the city definitely feels like it is out to make a statement. Here are some highlights from the weekend:
Plaza Botero - home to about 15 sculptures by Medellin-born artist Fernando Botero. I saw his museum in Bogota a few months ago & became fascinated by his style of painting chubby people. Final verdict - sculptures are even cooler than the paintings!!
Caleb & Angie mimic Adam & Eve.
Tara, Angie, Kelsi and I with the (somewhat naked) statue of a winged woman.
Museo de Antioquia (Antioquia is the state that Medellin is in)
View of Plaza Botero and the Palace from the Museum window.
Kelsi & I with one of the Botero sculptures.
Friends standing outside the cathedral in Parque Bolivar.
Kelsi admiring some of the headstones in San Pedro cemetery in central Medellin.
Entrance to the botanical gardens from the Metro stop.
Enjoying the botanical gardens.
Lake in the middle of the botanical gardens.
My FAVORITE picture from the gardens. I LOVED these pink puff ball things! This one it totally getting framed :)
Metro Cable cars in Medellin - to provide city access to those who live on the hillside.
Touristy photo while riding the Metro Cable and listening to the others in our car debate if it is harder to learn English or Spanish as a second language. Awesome.
Enjoying some Sunday relaxation time at Cafe Le Bon in Parque Lleras, Medellin.
After many months I finally found a place to serve me a tea macchiato, sort of like a tea mocha...only they made it first with fruity tea....with coffee...which just tasted weird. Next I got this gem. Took one sip before I placed the distinct flavor of my second cup of tea. Pancakes. Actual pancakes. I am not kidding and of course I made Kelsi and Tara try it to verify and yes they agree, so there. Tea can taste like pancakes apparently.
Outside of the photos our other main activity in Medellin included eating all types of delicious food that we cannot get in Cali. This of course included some beers from the micro brewery, Tres Cordilleras, as well as delicious spring rolls and thai food. Mmmmmm.
I hope everyone had a fabulous Valentine's Day weekend!!


Bethany said...

Oh wow, what a fun weekend! I love the flower picture too, you definitely have to frame it!

Barry said...

Hi Kristin, I just noticed you're following my blog. Thanks for coming along for the ride, I hope I can make you feel at home.

I'm at work so I profess I haven't had any time to read you (that'll change). BUT...

I see you're a John Mayer fan, so that makes you instantly awesome in my book.

Have a great day Kristin, hope we can get to know each other. :)

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