Medellín; more than Pablo.June 22, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C
So far this has been the town with the most intense history. We arrived by plane into Medellín, Colombia and checked into a funky little hostel and hit the hay.
We awoke early the next day for our walking tour of the city where we learnt in-depth history of the iconic Colombian town. Wowee what a story.
The tour guide was an amazing story teller and hats off to him for telling the truth, even the hard, dirty parts.
Essentially Medellín holds the immense stigma of being the cocaine capital of Colombia. It’s forefather Pablo Escobar made sure of that in the 1960s and 70s. However, somehow through highs and lows and hurdles, Medellín has managed to rise from the ashes and clean up its streets to become one of the biggest tourist towns in Colombia now days.
During the late 80s and early 90s Medellín was dubbed the ‘most dangerous city in the world.’ With the highest murder and violence rates due to cartel and drug wars, along with guerilla and terror groups opposing the corrupt government.
After many years, the death of Pablo and many governments that did good (but painfully some bad as well) Medellín cleaned up the scariest parts of the streets and replaced it with good. Education centres, art galleries and monuments were erected to liven areas that were once feared and avoided. The city soon began to flourish and transform.
Tourism brought cashflow, various cultures, safer streets and new ways of making money. The metro was installed during a hard time and made travel around the city much easier. It is the most respected tool in all of Medellín. No graffiti or trash to be seen anywhere on the trains.
Although still oftentimes a scary place and still very much healing from the pain and hurt, Medellín is on the mend. Hoolio our guide explained how Colombians find happiness and pride in the small things (like when they scored an unthinkable goal against Germany in the World Cup some years ago). They try to forget the pain of the past and look to a much brighter future. He explained how foreigners should find inspiration from this. How we too should hold our heads high when things are tough because we are still alive!!!
After the tour we traipsed around town with Will from Spain. His helpful Spanish got us around town with ease. Tabby tried her best but with minimal luck to snag the newcomer. She was very fond, and maybe a bit too keen (scared the poor fella off). Many laughs were had indeed!
The next morning we ducked out of Medellín and jumped aboard a bus bound for Guatape. The most colourful town. After a long detour because of traffic blocks we arrived and got some lunch.
We spent the afternoon roaming the beautiful, old, colourful streets here and tasted a lot of the local foods. The people were warm and friendly and it wasn’t as touristy as I thought it would be. All in all a great day!
Our last day in Medellin had a lazy start. Then we ventured into Comuna 13. This area of Medellín makes you fully understand how far a lot of Colombia has come from its dark past. Still shady in areas, with drug trafficking, extortion and violence but nothing like it’s former years. The government installed elevators to get up the steep hill. That along with street art makes it another tourist hotspot. This in turn has increased police presence and has made it a much safer area to visit!
We also tramped down the street to watch the football game against Paraguay with the locals at the stadium! Luckily they won and everyone went home happy.
A place with a very very dark history but nonetheless beautiful now (never do drugs because it’s the people like this that suffer). Well worth the visit indeed!Read more