Sunday, 31 March 2013


Hello from Medellin, second largest city in Colombia and a city of contrasts. The city was a no go area for tourists back in the 1990’s due to the drug gangs, but over the past decade real progress has been made making the city safe again. Like Rio in Brazil, there are still some no go areas up in the favelas and you have to be careful at night, but it is amazing the progress the authorities have made.

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable afternoon exploring the historic centre and the Museo de Antioquia which houses a very impressive collection of contemporary Colombian art. Medellin is the home town of Colombia’s best known living artist, Fernando Botero and therefore the museum has a large collection of his works. I cannot say I am a fan of his style (Botero depicts men, women, daily life etc with exaggerated and disproportionate volumetry), but some of his works are quite interesting, especially the bronze sculptures, some of which can be seen below. The museum itself was excellent and the best art gallery I have visited so far. The Catedral Metropolitana is also a very impressive church. Built between 1875 & 1931, it is reported to be the third largest brick building in the world.

Today myself and the majority of our group went on a guided tour of the city, covering the main sights outside of the centre. The highlight was a cable car up to Ruta Parque Arvi, a park in the mountains above the city. The views across the city were amazing and it is incredible to see how a city as large as Medellin (2.6m pop) has developed in such mountainous geography.

Tomorrow we are off to the coffee growing heartland of Colombia, Manizales to sample some black gold and spend some time on a coffee estate. Unfortunately they tend to drink their coffee very weak in Colombia (Neil would be at home), so fingers crossed I can get a decent strong coffee in Manizales.


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