Medellin: Communa 13

We woke up in our cozy AirBnB with stiff backs from the hard mattresses, and got the cat settled in for his day of lazing around on the couches. A couple of blocks from our house we ran into this mural, which just has a lot of great things going on.

We headed towards La Candelaria to see what the center of the city had to offer. That turned out primarily to be statues and tall buildings.

There’s also a huge, sweeping street market, selling (as far as we could tell) mostly clothes. Also pictured, an extremely custom beer delivery bicycle.

We saw what we assumed would be a church, but turned out to be a cultural museum. The exhibits were a lot of dense Spanish, beyond our level, but the building was neat and we enjoyed the courtyard.

In the plaza on the opposite side, we found a bunch of Botero statues.

On our way back to the metro, we passed this guy flashing “Mi Vaccuna” cards – clearly offering fake vaccine passports. We were a bit nonplussed.

After a quick snack-lunch right outside the metro stop, we met up with our guide to start our Communa 13 tour. Communa 13 is a formerly dangerous neighborhood on the side of a hill, which has transformed itself into a mecca of street art and tourism. The beginning of the tour focused on some of the excellent murals that seem to cover every available surface.

We worked our way up the (famous) esclators, stopping to try some Colombian coffee.

We also tucked into some stair-side art galleries, which were just full of treasures.

The higher we got up the hill, the better the views over the city.

We eventually found ourselves on a main walkway, with views down across the chaotic but strangely compelling favella, and sweeping views across downtown Medellin.

Where art and tourism mix, there will be microbreweries, and we got to sample some coffee- and fruit-infused brews by a local company. Not fantastic, but they’re new, and they’re experimenting, and that’s great to see.

Up near the top, the tour paused to take in a performance by some aspiring rap talent. Here’s Tauni getting serenaded.

Eventually the tour ended, and we got hungry, so we headed back down the hill and took the bus back to the metro station.

We stopped for a snack and margarita at The Patio to wait for dark to fall. Along the way, we saw this fantastic fresco of the Madonna and the Jesus of Futbol.

When the light faded, we headed to the park for our second day of Christmas lights; story for another post. We came back to our home neighborhood, where we stopped for a late dinner at Oh La La Bistrot, a little French restaurant, and were thrilled to find a baked cheese and onion soup.

This was Dia de la Velitas, and we walked around the neighborhood to check out all the little candle displays along the sides of the streets. This seems to be more of a quiet family affair than a raucous party; we saw lots of little groups quietly sitting outside, drinking and chatting.

The next morning it was time to leave Medellin. So we checked out of our AirBnB, and headed around the corner for brunch at Hija Mía Nómada. The hotel-restaurant had a lovely spread of trendy breakfast goods, and as usual, Captain was the star of the show.

And then it was time to hail a cab and head to Guatapé!

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