Finally on the South American continent !

Medellin Travel Blog

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Vegetable market MEdellin

After 4 months of island hopping in the Caribbean, it was almost melancholic leaving the last island, island number 22 and country number 12 on the trip. On the other hand I looked very much forward to going to South America, where prices are low, beers are large, and you do not have to take expensive flights everywhere.
We landed in Medellin and immediately experienced a culture shock compared to what we were used to from the Caribbean. There was a new language, a new ethnicity and the feeling of a densely populated city with a million people. The bus

from the airport twisted and turned down from the mountains towards the giant city in the bottom of the valley. Cars, mopeds and trucks were all speeding on the way down, seemingly to see who got there first.

Meddelin square
We got off the bus in the middle of a chaotic subway, and were then standing like sardines in a can inside the train along with thousands of local commuters. We went by train to the backpacker district called Poblano. Here we went to the first (but not necessarily the best) hostel we could find. Then we went straight down to a steak restaurant and had a delicious steak with beer for 50 norwegian kroner. We did not get much sleep that night because we had the hardest beds we have ever slept in. There seemed to be no mattress at all, only a sheet which was stretched over a wooden board. I can imagine this is what it is like to sleep on a prison bed. We tried desperately to find a new hostel the morning after, but everything was full since it was the weekend and the Poblano area is where all the parties happen.
Fish market

Medellin is a great city to spend a few days. It is a city where the temperatures are always comfortable at around 23-26 C all year round. We spent a few days to just wander around the city center to get to know the city and street life. There is so much life on the streets; thousands of locals selling everything from simple gum and candy to different juices, sausages,fruits, empanadas and other corn-based treats.

We were there over the weekend, so it was especially lively. We sat on a bench and watched the crowds when a lady and 2 men came over and wanted to be friends with us. Even with our very limited Spanish it became very clear that they had come

to save us, Torunn seemed a little uncomfortable, while I thought it was hilarious. They spoke of Christ and pointed to the sky, whereas I sat there like a big questionmark and asked "Quien es Christ?».

ME and Torunn eating by the lightsticks

After a while babbling in Spanish I tried to emphasize that we are both atheists, but I think she took that as an invitation as she put her hands on our heads and did the process of salvation on us.
We went a little further and looked at a street show that had emerged. There were a bunch of teenagers who were doing a kind of street-theater . They used many powerful effects that certainly hit the spot in Colombia; loud rap music, colourful costumes, teenagers getting really into the acting, and a deep religious message. The teens were dressed as mini-devils and they had different T-shirt on with various sins on them; alcoholism, drug abuse, Theft, murder and of course the worst of them all: Homosexuality!
One of the teens just looked like a normal teenager, and all these sins drove and pulled him from all sides, poor guy did not know what to do with himself, then the devil himself also arrived and started pulling him.
Us and our Australian friends
Just when it was getting too much for him Jesus turned up to heroic music, and threw away all the sins !
This teenager certainly would not succumb to murder or homosexuality !

There were several other similar plays, and completely objectively I must say they were very good and it was well done. Subjectively I wish they had used their theatrical abilities doing something more useful than trying to brainwash people on the square just like their parents have brainwashed them. There would have been an outcry if someone had made such a performance at a square in Norway. At the end of the performance it was praying-time where everyone in the audience held hands and joined in a large communal prayer. We took that as a sign to move on. Ironically enough there were lots of sellers right across the street that had a big table full of graphic gay porn.

Botello masterpiece

We went to a different part of town and took a cable car up to the mountain. It was interesting as we flew over neighborhoods that we had never seen otherwise, and got amazing good views of the valley and the city.

It's okay to pay 25 kroner for a cable car that takes you an hour up in the mountains and far into the woods, especially considering that 15 minutes funicular in Bergen costs over 300 norwegian kroner.
We came up to a cooler climate, but the sun warmed our tired bodies. There was a farmer's market with lots of snacks for sale . We enjoyed various exotic berries, and had our first chocolate strawberry skewer. This was really a pretty idyllic little rural place that was so easy to reach from the metropolis of Medellin. We unfortunately got there pretty late in the afternoon, so did not get much time to explore the area before it started to get dark.

Religious teenage acting drama
Then something happened which was quite incredibly unlikely. Torunn recognized another tourist-couple that walked past us; it was Guy and Ashari that we had met 4 months earlier in Belize.

They had taken an entirely different route to Colombia. While we jumped from one Caribbean island to the next, they had gone quietly and smoothly from Belize through Central America and to Colombia with a boat from Panama. And in a city with 4 million people we accidentally bumped into the only people on the entire South American continent that we knew.
We went out with them at night and reminisced a little over a kebab and a beer at one of Medellins finer kebab outlets… this is what you do when you are on a budget!
The next day we finally found Jesus. Luckily we did not have to look for him because he was kind enough to come and pick us up from the hostel.

up to the mountain we go!
Jesus was an very good guy that took us to a fun little local pizza parlor. We had contacted Jesus through Couchsurfing, and he and his wife Maria let us stay in their guest room in the barn.. ahem… apartment. From our room in the tower block, we had views of Medellin, so that was pretty cool.
Ana Maria had actually applied for school in Trondheim, of all places, so we taught her a bit about the local culture; how to drink karsk (local homebrewed liquour mixed with coffee) without making grimaces, and how to hold a long conversation about cod and southerners.
We spent the Sunday in the botanical garden where there were thousands of Colombians, of all ages, enjoying the nice (always) weather.

It was a very idyllic park in the middle of a city that 10 years ago was regarded as the most dangerous city in the world.

Sunset over MEdellin
Lots of iguanas, colombian squirrels, tropical ducks and one lonely sloth (which we never found).

There were lots of street vendors selling all sorts of local favorites, everything from cotton candy to corn cakes and fresh juice.
We also went to the planetarium close to the botanical garden. It was very modern and interactive. The whole experience started with a mandatory 40 minutes lecture on asteroids and comets. It was certainly a very nice lecture, but it was all in Spanish, so there was only so much that we understood. There were nice pictures and good performance of the speaker.
There was also a great 4D movie about astronauts and such. Very entertaining, but also a lot of babbling in Spanish. I now started to regret that I had not kept up on the progress of the 2 years I have tried to familiarise myself with this language.

Strawberry chocolate
Although; I do not think my knowledge in asking how much an apple costs would have helped a lot in a long lecture on astrophysics.
Jesus was incredibly cool the next day when he took the time to drive us all the way to one of the mountains surrounding Medellin.

We had arranged paragliding and looked forward to flying like birds again. It's an amazing feeling, and there was never a scary moment. I just held on tightly while the pilot did all the work. Torunn hovered right next to me with another guy. Before we went out to fly they had a draw on who was flying with whom. The guy that drew Torunn was upset and the one that drew Stig was delighted… but when we walked over to our selected pilots their facial expressions changed quickly.

They thought I was Torunn and Torunn was Stig….

Torunn flying !
it's probably a little more popular flying with a small sweet lady than a bundle of muscles with scars.
The view was amazing and it was actually an incredibly relaxing feeling to soar 1000 meters above the city, it does not feel like an extreme sport. All that fun only cost 250 norwegian kroner, the same as you would pay for a couple of half liters of beer at a pub in Norway!
In the evening we said goodbye to Jesus and Mary and wished them good luck (they have some problems with the father of Jesus who is a narcissistic asshole). We had got a ticket on the evening flight to Cartagena for 300 norwegian kroner. The Colombian plane had an incredibly high standard, and good food, armchairs and flat screen with entertainment at every seat! Significantly better than the aircraft that we had crossed the Atlantic with 4 months earlier.
Great views of town

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Vegetable market MEdellin
Vegetable market MEdellin
Meddelin square
Meddelin square
Fish market
Fish market
ME and Torunn eating by the lights…
ME and Torunn eating by the light…
Us and our Australian friends
Us and our Australian friends
Botello masterpiece
Botello masterpiece
Religious teenage acting drama
Religious teenage acting drama
up to the mountain we go!
up to the mountain we go!
Sunset over MEdellin
Sunset over MEdellin
Strawberry chocolate
Strawberry chocolate
Torunn flying !
Torunn flying !
Great views of town
Great views of town
pretty flower
pretty flower
Strawberry chocolate
Strawberry chocolate
Devil is trying to pull them to hi…
Devil is trying to pull them to h…
Evil evil homosexuals and murderers
Evil evil homosexuals and murderers
Cool modern place
Cool modern place
Torunn and the mice
Torunn and the mice
squirrel eating nut, as they tend …
squirrel eating nut, as they tend…
Lizzard..pretty!
Lizzard..pretty!
Big flower
Big flower
Banana sellers !
Banana sellers !
One of many Medellin churches
One of many Medellin churches
Fried banana with cheese, special …
Fried banana with cheese, special…
Torunn with crazy Colombia hat
Torunn with crazy Colombia hat
Night over the city seen from our …
Night over the city seen from our…
The planetarium dome
The planetarium dome
Me and Torunn in Medellin
Me and Torunn in Medellin
PAragliding fun
PAragliding fun
Paragliding fun
Paragliding fun
Central Medellin
Central Medellin
Torunn learning how to fly
Torunn learning how to fly
Us and JEsus- our couchsurfing host
Us and JEsus- our couchsurfing host
Medellin
photo by: caliphil007