For the Semana Santa break, we expanded our travels to South America! We went to the beautiful city of Medellin. It is the second largest city in Colombia with a population of 2.5 million people. Unless we were on the tram or on a hill above the city, it never had the feel of a huge city. It had an amazing metro that allowed us to get where we need to be with some assistance from taxis, It was an easy city to navigate. Being in Colombia made us realize how diverse Panama City is. Panama has so many different nationalities and immigrants that Panamanians do not care that we are norteamericanos. In Colombia, we stood out. Liam was followed around a museum by 3 (cute) tween girls, people wanted to take pictures with us, and kids would come up and ask “Como se llama? to the boys”.
Once again, we were so happy to be at altitude. The city is nestled in the Aburra valley of the Andes mountains. It is the start of the range so we have to wait until Peru to see the impressive peaks that we are used to in Colorado.
We had 7 days to explore the area so we were able to do a lot in at a relaxed pace. We flew in early on Saturday so once we were settled, we took the metro to almost the end of the line. Part of the metro is a tram (gondola for all the skiers reading this) that took us up over an impoverished barrio and to a national park. The tram had 3 stops and it has to be a life changer for the residents of that area. The streets and sidewalks go straight up with little relief. The views were amazing and heart breaking at the same time.
Fernando Botero is a Medellin artist whose work is very familiar to anyone who took Art History 101. Plaza Botero sits in front of the Museum of Antioquia. I visited there three times! So before we left for Colombia, Dano was taken out by a nasty stomach bug (trip to a Panama ER for an IV). Not surprisingly, Liam was taken out on Sunday and Sully felt funky on Thursday. Over 2 decades of teaching has kept me immune to most bugs, so Plaza Botera was our go to place when someone was feeling a bit off.
Parque Explora is one of the best science museums that I have ever been to…hands down!
We were falling in love with Colombia, but it was a done deal when we traveled into the country side. Miguel, our driver, took us to Guatape, Colombia. He stopped along the way so we could get photos and took us on a mini-tour of the area before we arrived in Guatape.
The reason we found out about the town of Guatape was the rock–El Penon. Over 650 stairs up the rock, we were rewarded with an amazing view of Lago Guatape. I loved the town–from the cafe con leche in china cups, Semana Santa procession, the artists who wouldn’t sell work displayed in his gallery because he liked it too, the frescos & brightly painted building, and of course, the rock!
The town of Guatape!
Leaving Panama for a solid week to a familiar environment gave us an appreciation for where we currently live as well as the world we left 8 months ago. When I asked Liam if he would like to return to Colombia, he said, “Yeah, I love Colombia. But where will we go so we can have a new experience….Bogota or somewhere else?”