Medellin, part 2. Plaza Botero, Cerro Nutibara, cable car

The oncoming day I decided it was a time to explore the city.

But before that, I had unfinished business from last day.

I found out that the ticket price rose – from 238 USD to 283 USD, and even that in the dates that were not as good as previous ones. I decided to freak it, and after rehearsing all I heard about Colombia, plus where I could get the cheapest tickets, I decided to give a try San Andres – a place with wonderful colors of the sea (everywhere I read it was written 7), chilled carribean culture and general vacation vibe. This was pretty much everything I wanted, even though the prices were going to be rather steep. In general Colombia proved so far to be a third would country – especially in the coast, with price level that was between second and first world, with rather dissapointing value/fun ratio.

I booked the flight to San Andreas – no problem with my card at all. 23rd of November it is.

Problem was with the return flight, even though I set my cards limit at triple the price of the ticket, the payment has been rejected 5 times, from 3 different browsers, meaning that I had to manually fill in all the fields required not only for payment, but as if it was for the reservation from the beginning, including the data of emergency contact, 2 phones, etc.

Pissed off as I could be, tried another card. Same story repeated. As no better option remained, I picked something like pay at the office for transfers. Closest office was located about 7 km from where I was, and I could never be sure if they will accept the payment from the foreigner, or if it will still be opened.

As an ultimate act of desperation, I asked for the data of yet another card from my GF. This time the fucking payment went through. My ticket back was booked for 16th of December, meaning that on 17th night I’ll be in Bogota, have 30 hours just in case the flight is delayed/cancelled/whatever happens in third world country system, and then a flight home (lasting in total 26 hours).

After few hours of struggle and with my plan finally confirmed, I was ready to go.

Since the hotel had a good location for such, I decided to make it all by walk. My first destination was Plaza Botero – where the famous colombian artist (from Medellin) Fernando Botero had a square with his sculptures – mostly fat people and fat animals. I was only missing fat buildings and fat vehicles, but it might be in some of the museums dedicated to this peculiar art.

On the way I found a store with rather distinctive stock. It was mostly for furniture, but also for the motorbikes and huge music sets. I can imagine the cross-selling chant.

-Sir, you bought this sofa for your house. Would you also like a motorbike? And how about that stereo, it might not fit on the motorbike, but you could make a party so the whole hood knows there is one!

Later, there was a park of “pies descalzos” – barefoot. Supposedly, that you can feel the energy of the earth and get together with nature. Yeah, original. Beach, anyone?

Later on the stroll came time for Cerro Nutibara – the hill with stunning views all over the city. Since I came from the “wrong” (ie. non-tourist direction), I couldn’t enter, since there were only 2 ways up, so I sneaked up the grass and bush. The views were truly worth the effort. There was also a reconstruction of “Pueblo Paisa” – typical village from this region – called Paisa (and adecuately, the people from the region called paisas).

But there was more to come regarding the views. As the first city in South America, Medellin introduced the cable cars as a daily commuting option for the residents in poorer parts of Medelin – the hilly ones that would be hard to reach otherwise. Interesting and worth noting fact is that in surroundings of the stations the crime level has dropped significantly, might be due to the fact that lots of police were now able to easily get there (and perhaps their task was not only to nag the tourists, since cable cars were named the cheapest sightseeing option ever).

It was getting dark, and I was getting tired. It was a good moment to finish the day in one out of many options around. To my surprise, all the restaurants opened for lunch were now shut. All. Not having other option, I sat down at some street grill (which, unlike in Thailand is of rather bad quality, the fact that I was going to learn during my next weeks in Colombia). The meat was so hard that I could either swallow the entire chunks, or throw it away. Needless to say I left hungry and overpaying dearly (13 K without a drink). After circulating some more, I found something opened. Not that it was good quality or anything, but I was able to eat it, which was a vast improvement.

Charging it to the game as google would say, I left to rest. Next day was going to Guarapé, a picturesque village in surroundings of Medellin.

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