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  • Day55

    Medellín

    December 1, 2018 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 23 °C

    Medellín - a city with a famous but dark past. Formerly known as the home and main city for a well known drug criminal, in these days Medellín has managed to be in the news for more positive things, winning a prize for „most innovative city“ just a few years ago.
    And we think: well deserved.
    Medellín is such an interesting -and safe (expect for pickpocketing like in every other big city)- city, that still tries to deal with the dark times from the 80s and 90s. As you see the numbers, you might realize.... it’s Not that Long ago! And that’s truly important to know. The people affected by the times, are still alive and processing bombs, loss of dear ones and living in constant fear. Therefore it is so important to not being disrespectful by reducing Medellín to Pablo Escobar or even buying and wearing a shirt of him or romanticizing this cruel man.
    Interesting fact, because of his social engagements like building houses for the poor, there are also some (but not many) Colombians, which still think high of him.

    We started by visiting the „Casa de La Memoria“ to see an exhibition about those dark times. It wasn’t facts and dry information, but more interactive and modern pieces to make you understand the feelings of the people to that time. It was shocking. So much Kidnapping, Death fear, and political chaos (remember FARC, yes they were there as well). But still hope, because Colombians really are a bunch of optimistics.

    In the afternoon, we did an free walking tour with „Real City Tours“ and if you’re ever going to Medellín - do it! Edgar, our guide, grew up in Medellín in the 80s and 90s and was not only a witness, but was sooooo good! Speaking excellent English, he explained all about culture, history, architecture, politics and transformation.

    A really important part of the transformation are, for example, the cable cars, which we took the next day. A mayor of Medellín wanted to transform the city with two pillars: social architecture and education. So simple, so effective. Building cable cars was crucial for the poor regions to have a connection to the city -to schools, to hospitals, to work. The cable cars included them back into society. On top of that, he build libraries in the poorest region on the hill, so that young people have an alternative to joining a gang in order to make some money.

    Another example of transformation is „Comuna 13“, one of the most dangerous barrios during that times, changed itself completely with the help of electric escalators and lots of street art.

    Of course, there is so much else to see, from statues, to churches, to nice plazas.
    And a great nightlife on top of it!
    We can only recommend to give Medellín a visit!
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