Today I would like to share with you the final part of my adventure to Medellín, Colombia. If you missed the previous parts, you can catch up here:
For our last day in Medellín, I desperately wanted to do some street photography. I had been itching to take my Nikon D850 to the streets, but my fiancée had convinced me that this city was not the place for a gringo to be walking around with a big camera. I knew she was right - as much as I liked Medellín, I did not feel quite as safe here as I did in Mexico City. People were friendly enough, but I frequently found myself to be the only gringo around and on the receiving end of some unfriendly stares.
But, today was the last day of our trip, and I just couldn't bear the thought of leaving Medellín without grabbing a couple of shots of the local street scene. Stephanie reluctantly agreed to be my wingman and to check my six if we only stuck to the safe areas - whatever that meant.
As we left the Setenta district I caught some of the local street art including this foreboding message: (hopefully today is not any day!)
Shrugging off the warning on the wall, we continued on to the El Poblado communa to do some exploring. We started at the Parque Lleras which is a very popular tourist destination and known for its rich nightlife. The park and the surrounding area had a lot of lush and green vegetation, and was the perfect place to relax and do some people watching. For some reason the park was completely deserted except for a couple of vendors and the odd pedestrian. Even the streets surrounding the park were totally abandoned, and the place felt a bit ghostly. I guess the real action happens when the bars and restaurants come to life at night. After grabbing a couple of shots of the area, we headed over to the Juan Valdez coffee shop for our caffeine fix and then continued on to el Poblado Avenue.
All the streets were deserted:
While walking around blissfully unaware of my surroundings and shooting to my hearts content, we were approached by some drunk who appeared to be quite excited and talking a mile-a-minute while pointing at the camera. I couldn't understand the man but I knew that he was interested in the camera. I was of the mind to tell him that he could have the camera if he could take it from me as he was drunk as a skunk and it would be easy to throw him flat on his ass. Luckily common sense prevailed, I kept my cool and we both went our separate ways. Apparently the guy wanted the camera and when he couldn't have it, he wished that someone would rob me and take the camera because I am obviously very rich. Clearly this guy hasn't seen my credit card bills.
Yes, I understand it's foolish to walk around with a flashy camera if you're the only white guy for miles. But how tragic would it be to leave and not have any photos?
On our way to meet some more family, we stopped at the Parque Berrio in downtown Medellín. A lot of the locals seemed to just hang out and visit or listen to music which gave a nice vibe to the square. According to legend, this square was used as a public market at one time and also a place were public executions took place in times past.
After a morning of exploration, we returned to Poblado to meet with yet another family member who lived in a high rise apartment with an incredible view. This is where I was introduced to Aguardiente.
Aguardiente, roughly translated as "firewater", is a traditional liqueur with an anise flavour that is distilled from sugar cane. At 29% alc/vol, a shot of this stuff will burn all the way down to the pit of your stomach. It tastes a lot like liquorice and it's quite popular with the locals, but it wasn't really my thing.
For dinner we went to Midas Restaurante Bar in the Setenta district. Once again I was just astonished by the large amounts of food Colombians consume. This time, I opted for just a steak, fries and salad, but Stephanie and her mom each ordered two plates chock full of food. For 5 plates, an appetizer, and 3 high quality juices, we only paid $100,00 COP ($40 CAD/ $30 USD), including tip!
And then, with a full stomach, I realized that I haven't tried any of the street food in Setenta yet. We grabbed some stuff to go to munch on on the way home. Tomorrow we leave.
And so the journey to this charming city came to an end. The Colombian people were warm and inviting, I loved the food, the culture, and the climate; and of course the prices were very attractive. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit; however, as a wannabe expat I am cautious to consider Colombia as a place to land for an extended period of time. While the cost of living is indeed very attractive, I never felt quite safe walking around especially since I can't yet fluently express myself in Spanish. Perhaps there are other, more suitable places waiting to be discovered in this land.
Thanks for sticking around for the read!
See you soon,
Journey of a Nomad
PS. If you like my photos, you can find them at http://journeyofanomad.redbubble.com/. They make beautiful wall art!