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Arriving in Medellín, we understood quickly the impressive size of the city. Some new areas, with houses made randomly, are being built in the surrounding mountains. Effectively, Medellín is the second most populated city in Colombia.
This city is sadly famous in the world for the bloody crimes which happened from the 70’s to the 90’s. The drug cartel of the famous Pablo Escobar imposed his law which causes many score settling.
Step by step, the local associations with the help of the public authorities have successfully integrated the street art and the urban culture to replace the acts of violence and delinquency.
The “Comuna 13” area is today the standard-bearer of this successful transition. Adding escalators in this area helped to open up the hill. Plus, painting graffitis on the majority of the walls helped to attract today many tourists who like this urban culture.
The historic town centre has 2 nice squares. The Botero Park highlighting the sculptures of the famous artist around the cathedral. The Plaza Mayor having a modern architecture and away of the traffic. This is an enjoyable and quite spot, hidden from the buzzing life of the city, but locals do not seem to come here a lot.
The Parque Lleras area is very westernised. There are restaurants and bars with worldwide influences where we can meet backpackers and comfortably off Colombians.
1h30 away by riding, towards East, the lagoon and the Guatapé village is not to be missed. Indeed, you will see many tourists, but the surroundings is largely worth it!
First, the village offers a surprising colour palette. Each facade of the houses has a embossed fresque with on the lower part with a design of animals, jobs or geographic places. The “Plazoleta de los Zocalos” has stairs painted with hundreds of colours. If the weather is nice, this place is perfect for a “tinto” coffee on a terrace.
During our passage, roadworks were in progress to build in the future the banks of the lagoon which will increase again the beauty of this village.
A few kilometers away, you can’t miss “Le Peñón”. This rock, famous in the world, offers breathtaking view over the lagoon after climbing its 659 steps.
The lagoon, and its nuances from blue to green with a hint of turquoise, is artificial. Indeed, the lagoon has been created further the construction of a river dam to create a reservoir provinding freshwater to Medellín.
To conclude this stage, we spent the night next to the lagoon. A waterfront waking up to enjoy a last time this memorable place before to go back on the road towards the South.
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES
Where to eat?
Pizzeria Il Forno
Arepas are nice but after a month, a pizza is like a dream. We recommend to the backpackers having the same feeling, to enjoy the Pizzeria Il Forno. This pizzeria is located in the Parque Lleras area which means prices are a bit high, but this crunchy pizza dough… this delicious tomato sauce base… this melting mozzarella… well… we couldn’t resist!
Where to have a drink?
Le jus de fruit de chez Luis
We have been impressed by the Comuna 13 area, but you need to climb up. In spite of taking the escalators, you will feel thirsty quickly… No worries as Luis is here with his fabulous fruit juices. A simple terrace but a reasonable price in spite of its optimal location to attract tourists. This juice deserves at least a little break of 15 minutes.