Medellin, a metropolitan city

Date: 23/01
City: Caucasia, Columbia
Kilometres ridden: 353
Cumulative kilometre: 30958

We started around 8:30, saying good bye to Lisa, who was the last of the Stahlratte bunch in the hotel with us.

With all the old trucks on the road, it made travelling very slow but interesting. The scenery is just fantastic.
We had a short lunch break on the side of the road, just in front of a bus stop. It was interesting to see the local youngsters on motorcycles rush to the bus and try to get passengers from the bus to hop on their motorcycle for a lift home. The guy in the yellow shirt just got a young female passenger, he had a huge grin on his face when he passed us 😀.

There were also two boys hanging around and looking at our bikes and asking for money. We gave them two balloons instead which seem to entertain them for a while.

At the next petrol station we tried to get rid of the salt on the bike from the sea crossing, it work partially, but there is more work to do. Just before dark we found good accommodation on the side of the road, with pool and breakfast. The rain forest started just behind the hotel.

And this was the view behind our rooms.

Date: 24/01
City: Medellin, Columbia
Kilometres ridden: 285
Cumulative kilometre: 31243

Today we got up early and had breakfast. From our breakfast table we could see the highway, and we saw Lisa passing by. We checked the internet for accommodation in Medellin, which delayed our start. So we started as usual around 9:30AM. The road followed a river and then started to go into the mountains. There were plenty of trucks, some of them were really slow on the way up, while others were reasonable quick. We overtook them mostly at a tope (speed bump in a villages) or at the peaje (a pay station for toll roads) where Motorcycles can pass there without paying . We just had to drive along a small lane at the right hand side is .
The first time we got into the normal lane and when we got to the front the lady in the toll both tried to explain that we should use the right hand lane… Well with our Spanish, that didn’t work too well. In the end, a security guard with a big shotgun kindly showed us the way.
We climbed up the mountains up to 2500m, and by then we were riding through clouds. Just 60km before Medellin we had a break and got a great meal. We were laughing a lot as we tried to figure out what meals were available, but in the end we figured it out.
It was worth all the effort! I had ‘Schweinebauch and scrambled eggs’, it was fantastic.

When we were sitting there, we saw some guys on pushbikes hanging of trucks to get uphill. The trucks were not moving slowly, I’d guess around 60km/h on the straight parts of the road, so it was hard to capture one.

Eventually we arrived in Medellin, the last 20km were on a 3 lane highway which made for easy riding, but it got really warm again. We couldn’t find the hostel that we had earmarked for the night and in the process of finding it we stumbled across a hotel that had a good price, was close to public transport and easy secure parking – so we stayed. At night we went up to the roof to have a look at the surroundings. Here are some pictures of the train station and the mountains surrounding Medellin.

Tomorrow we will explore the city.

Date: 25/01
City: Medellin, Columbia
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 31243

When we planned the visit to Medellin, we realised that the best way to travel is the train system. Part of the train system is the metro cable which came highly recommended in all travel advice.
We just had to suss out how to get there using the train. We found it easily using the internet (not sure how people travelled before the internet) and the price was also great. For 1US$/person you can use the train until you reach the destination, regardless how often you have to change trains. The train stations and the trains were exceptional clean, the tiles are polished, no rubbish, no graffiti. For me it was the cleanest area that I ‘ve seen in central or south America so far.


Having said that, there were at least six police men at each station… Might be related?
After a short time we arrived at the base of the metro cable. The metro cable was built to give people in poor community’s access to the public transport.

During the ride we saw houses built into a steep mountain

And among all these houses there were three strange building with a bridge leading to them. It turned out to be a bibliotheca (Bibloteca Espana).

When we arrived at the end station, we realised that there was another cable metro going even further (the building on the right), so we thought we give it a try. This time we had to pay to get to get in. But, as we found out, it was worth it.


We expected to get to the top of the mountain and to find a coffee shop or something like that. Houses got few and fewer until we reached the edge of the mountain.

From now on the cable stretched over the top of the rain forest and went on for miles.

In the end we arrived at a nature reserve, the Arvi Park. We could have easily spent a day or two here. They offered free pushbikes hire, guided tours around the reserve, a bus to an adventure reserve with white water rafting, rock climbing, absailing….. and another bus to another nature reserve. Well, we only planned one day here, so we took a couple of pictures before we made our way back.

Here some more pictures of our way down

And we could see the library from the top now, in the middle the three black buildings.

And there was that humongous Satelite dish, not sure if NASA put it here 🙂

On our way down we meet two nice Columbians, Bernado and Alejandra. Bernando was from Medellin and Alejandra from Bogota, both were very proud to be Colombian and told us a lot about both cities, well as far as our Spanish got. I took a picture of both and Sigrid took a picture of me at that very moment 😀

When we arrived back at the base, they helped us to find the way to our next stop, the ‘Plaza Botero’. When we came out of the train station we were intrigued by a strange looking building so we had a look at it. As we found out, it was the ‘Culture Palace Rafael Uribe’ and had some exhibition on and the entry was free. To be honest, I didn’t find too many exciting exhibits there, except one that caught my eye.

The building had three floors, so we had a look through all of them. The building was somehow intriguing, with all its small passages, patios and roof turrets.

When we strolled along, we found a window where we could have a look at the Plaza Botero. It was intersting to observe the people around the plaza from here.

After a while we went down and arround the corner where the plaza was. Here are some more sculptures. Not sure if these two sculpures belong to each other.


Then we had a look at a church and

stumbled across the ‘Centro Comercial Palacion National’, which was a shopping centre with a very luxurious interior.

Now we made our way back to the Metro. The station was the last station on the line that we were using, so they used the unused rails to build a temporarily platform.

 

When we returned we had a surprise waiting for us. The hotel page who was cleaning his bosses car in the morning had cleaned our bikes, too! No more salt residue on the bikes, bonus! We gave him a nice tip for that. Tomorrow we are heading towards the ‘Catedral del sal de Zipaquira’, a Cathedral build in an old salt mine, which is 60km north from Bogota.

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