Ash Wednesday in Medellin

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A station of the Medellin Metro. All the stations were immaculate and clean, and fares were about 75 cents.

Hello all,
This morning I was determined to get out and see the sights in Medellin.  From my hotel it is a 15 block walk to the closest Metro station.  I have walked it every time so far, but I wanted to figure out the bus situation to prove I could do it.  I walked over to Calle 10a, the closest main road that heads west and waited until the first bus came along.  There was a sign that actually said Estacion Poblano on the front.  That was easy, and I made note of the number for the return trip.  The cost for the bus was about $0.57.

I grabbed the metro and headed towards the city center.  I got off of the metro at the Parque Berrio stop.  I headed west and ran smack into the Plazoleta de las Esculturas.

This is the Palacio de la Cultura building. It isn’t particularly old or notable, but it is neat looking.
 
This plaza is filled with sculptures by Fernando Botero.  Botero has donated over 20 of his works to be displayed here, and they are amazing.  Everything is done in bronze and they all have the same general theme, all of the people and animals are very round and fat.  I couldn’t decide if they were all hideous or beautiful, but I think it’s more of the latter, with a bit of the former.

Medellin has a good share of great old churches, and open space plazas or parks in the center of town.  This really gives the people a place to congregate and get together for the buying and selling process.  Today also happens to be Ash Wednesday, so there were huge crowds of people going in and out of every church.  By the way, here in Medellin the priests really seems to attack the forehead with great fervor.

The Plazoleta de las Esculturas in Medellin. All sculptures are the work of Fernando Botero.

I have seen some really well placed and dark ashen crosses down here.I made the circuit of the downtown area a got back to the Metro.  I made the trip to a station in the north of town that connects with MetroCable.  MetroCable is a cable car system that is part of the Medellin Metro, so you can ride it without paying an additional fee.  Metrocable goes up a steep hillside that would have made a traditional leg of the metro very difficult.  The cable cars themselves are very similar to any other system, but there are three stations along the way.  It seems like a very creative solution to reach a poorer neighboorhood that would have been very difficult to attach to the system.

I then took a ride on the metro until I got to the northern terminus, and then traveled back.

More Botero sculptures in the plaza.

It was a nice, cheap way to see some parts of the city.  I got off at my station, and checked out the local Exito store.  This department store and grocery store was very busy, and I love getting a look at what things cost, and what types of produce and meat the locals buy.Getting the bus back to my neighborhood was easy now that I had the bus number, and then I went back to the hotel for a nap.  I grabbed some chinese food at a local establishment that was delicious, and then did some research on my Friday airport trip.  My flight leaves at 7:30am from the Medellin airport, which sounds great but the airport is actually in Rionegro.  Rionegro is an hour drive from the center of town, and that makes it worrisome and/or expensive to get there that early in the morning.

Another Botero sculpture. This one is a horsie.

The hostal was kind enough to make a call for me, and they confirmed that there is a shuttle bus that makes the run from a downtown hotel starting at 4:15am.  So now I may still have to take a taxi downtown, but that is much better then the possible $20 I would pay for a taxi to the airport.  Then again, the metro does start running at 4:30am, so I may be able to swing just a taxi to the station, metro to the hotel, then shuttle to the airport.  We’ll see what kind of risk I feel like taking Friday morning.

Tomorrow I am not sure what I will do.  Maybe I’ll take a little daytrip to a nearby town.

Later, Phil

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A station of the Medellin Metro.

This is the Palacio de la Cultur

The Plazoleta de las Esculturas

More Botero sculptures in the pl

Another Botero sculpture. This

Medellin’s oldest church, the Er

I love the domes on this buildin

A nice statue across from Parque

Parque Berrio in downtown Medellin.

The Basilica de la Candelaria ac

The view down Pasaje Junin in do

People taking a stroll in Parque

Statue of Bolivar in Parque de B

Catedral Metropolitana stands ma

Another view of Parque de Bolivar.

This building is the Parque Bibl

The view looking west down the M

View of the neighborhood below t

Hazy view of Medellin from Metro

I can only guess that this

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