Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Exploring Medellin

After the Botero art we saw the first day in Medellin, we spent the other days we had there doing not a whole lot. We found a good breakfast place that made some awesome bagels and bagel sandwiches (as seen below) and proceeded to eat there 4 times.

Other than breakfast we explored a hill in the center of town called Cerro Nutibara, named for a former Native leader, which had a small replica of an old town on it called Pueblita Paisa. The weather wasn't great that day so the views weren't what we had hoped for and the hill itself was ridiculously touristy and therefore not too interesting.

This is part of the replica town.

Jenna is taking in the limited view. The mountain on the right is where the Biblioteca de Espana is located.

Since the weather wasn't ideal we just went back to the Hostel and read for the rest of the day. One of the following days (can't really remember which, might have been the next day) we hopped onto the beautiful Metro again and checked out the Botanical Gardens in town. The gardens were pretty impressive as far as their variety of plant and animal life and the fact that it was a very peaceful place, 500 meters from the Metro, right in the middle of a city of 2.5 million people.

The picture below is of a weird cactus-like plant in the desert exhibit.

A "green" wall behind the stage in the middle of the gardens.

An interesting flower with a bee doing its pollinating job well.

Cool-looking little bird.

The orchid house area of the gardens was covered with a beautiful wood structure to provide the orchids the shade that they need to grow.

As expected, there were some amazing orchids like this one.

Lots of beautiful flowers.

I found this little guy hiding on a branch while we were grabbing something to eat before leaving the gardens.

We then continued on the Metro to check out one of the proudest accomplishments in Medellin's urban renewal: the MetroCable. This system of gondolas (which are included in the price of using the Metro itself) is not just for tourists. It is actually a public transportation system intended to make it easier for residents of one of the slums on the hillsides to get down into town and work as productive members of society. Before installing this line, it would take people upwards of 2 hours to get down the mountain and into the main part of Medellin where they could find work due to the winding roads and haphazard construction of the slum preventing any sort of direct route down the mountain. That time has now been reduced to about 20 minutes using the MetroCable and this has improved the quality of life through access to jobs and the city for people in the slum so much that the city just built a second line to another slum on the other side of town.

At the top of the MetroCable there is another set of gondolas (you can see it in this picture if you look closely) that goes up and over the top of the mountain to a national park with hiking trails and access to nature for the people of the city. This ride would have cost extra and we decided not to do it as there was a storm coming over the mountain, but the entire system was impressive regardless.

Also at the top of the MetroCable (before you would get on the gondola to the national park) is the Biblioteca de Espana (Spanish Library) donated by the country of Spain to help improve the neighborhood as well. It appeared to be working as we saw signs for all sorts of classes and lots of people going in and out of the library with books.

The new title picture of the blog was taken from this same spot looking over the entire city of Medellin. We spent a few days outside the city at the Secret Buddha Hostel after this where we further relaxed and enjoyed a fantastic 8 course dinner with guests from Argentina, Colombia, New York, and Australia cooked by the owner of the hostel to wrap up the trip.

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

I've been reading this in my Google Reader and missed the new coffee bean theme until now! I love it! And the new title picture and the fact that you guys have been posting more. :) Miss you both!