So you think one week in Medellin, Colombia is too much time? Think again! We were there for six days and we came to the conclusion we would need at least a month to thoroughly explore the city and the nearby towns. There is so much beauty and history everywhere you turn! It’s surreal. You think I’m biased simply because I’m a born and raised Paisa? Ask my
boyfriend fiancé! (Still getting used to the transition).
Our week in Medellin:
We explored the city and had a fabulus lunch at my grandparents’ after we settled into our fabulous hotel in the heart of El Poblado which is the equivalent of Beverly Hills over there. The floor to ceiling windows and the stunning views of the city were the backdrop to a truly luxurious stay. The hotel? The Diez Categoria Colombia. The five-star service, delicious food, the rooftop spa and the authentic Colombian decor throughout the premises made for an unforgettable stay.
My birthday! Yes, we celebrated my big 2-8 in my birth city. We even (coincidentally btw) passed by the hotel I was born in on our way to the Botanical Gardens for a spectacular lunch at its famous restaurant, In Situ. The restaurant is celebrated for its five-star, local and organic cuisine and for its spotless service. After lunch, we strolled through the gardens and toured the premises on the cutest little train.
At night, a small gathering with friends and family had been planned by my mom, Gabe and my grandparents. My birthday cake was to-die for!
BOMB typical Colombian breakfast: Calentado (Colombian bean soup and rice) with eggs, arepa (our thicker, crispy version of the tortilla), fresh soft cheese and butter, hot chocolate and aguapanela (like honey-water but sweeter) and milk. This my friends, is the ultimate breakfast of champions.
Then, finca day! (Finca means farm in Spanish). Some of my fondest childhood memories are from this farm. This is our farm located about an hour away from the city. Through the years, my grandfather has been the mastermind behind the family business. Out of this land, we have raised and sold cattle, distributed milk from our cows, sold pigs, rabbits and hens, we have distributed fresh eggs from our hens, raised and sold Paso Fino horses, and now, the latest family business venture is the flower exportation, directly from our farm. We have been successfully growing Hydrangeas for the last three years and selling them to distribution companies here in Miami.
I hadn’t returned to our farm since we moved to Miami 12 years ago. Everywhere I looked evoked a memory: Christmas by the fire with the family while my dad lit up fireworks and the dogs hid under the pool tables, waking up at the crack of dawn to collect fresh eggs from the hen coops, learning how to milk a cow (which is not as easy as it looks), getting covered in mud while racing down the dirt road on our ATV’s, going on day-long hikes with my dad and the dogs, climbing trees and needing rescuing…it goes on and on.
This was supposed to be our tour day. I had planned a tour of the most touristy places in Medellin but some of my older relatives dissuaded us from going due to safety reasons. Little did I know, they have an exaggerated view on local affairs (I mean, what else is on the news?) as I my childhood friend and her boyfriend debunked all those rumors. As long as you don’t wear anything flashy, you will be safe, especially in the tourist areas which are essential to the economy and are well-protected by the Police and local neighborhood-watch groups. Either way, we were supposed to go see:
- The Botanical Gardens: Fortunately we went on my birthday.
- The Metropolitan Cathedral: The largest cathedral in South America.
- The Botero sculptures park: The super fat iron sculptures.
- The Antioquia Museum: The history of Botero, our city and more paintings of fat stuff: dogs, horses, people.
- El Pueblito Paisa: The perfect representation of a typical small town in that region.
- The Park of Wishes
- The Barefoot Park
- Metrocable Ride: The only cable system in the world designed for the transportation of the local people and not for tourist use or profit.
Yup, we missed out on some of the most important local things to do while in Medellin…which is a perfect excuse to return soon! Instead, we had a chill day at the hotel and then Gabe popped the big question (no biggie). Read about the proposal here!
La Piedra del Penol. We drove about two hours to this nearby region called Guatape. The entire area is filled with lakes and mountains and small fishing towns. The main attraction? A ginormous rock that claims to have the best view in the world. After climbing 740 steps to see for ourselves (make sure you stretch out those calves!), we realized they weren’t kidding. Pictures do no justice to what you encounter up there: The lush green mountains, the reflection of the water against the blue skies and the puffy clouds…’Twas a sight we won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Depression started setting in as we realized we had to pack…and I had SEVERELY overpacked for this trip. We had another couples massage to alleviate our tired muscles from the 740-step climb from the previous day. We then had lunch at my childhood friend’s trendy restaurant called Amoretti in the heart of El Poblado; needless to say the food was delish and the company was even better! We then visited El Tesoro, one of the beautiful local malls that leaves nothing to be desired in comparison to our malls here. Designer names, fantastic food options, movie theaters and some of the best views of the city can be enjoyed here. Of course we did a little shopping, grabbed some dinner and toasted to our fantastic time in beautiful Medellin and vowed to return very soon.