A Travellerspoint blog

Medellín without Pablo

Gondolas without snow

sunny 25 °C

Day 10 Thursday February 8, 2018

For a long time Medellín’s image was one of extreme violence caused by drug trafficking including the local cartel run by Pablo Escobar. During the late 80s and early 90s the city had the reputation as being the most dangerous in the world. Following his death, drug trafficking didn’t go away but the murder rate dropped significantly.

After a quick tour of our neighbourhood we jumped on a coach to go to ….. market. The market is definitely not a tourist market but a vegetable and meat market with a flea market attached. The main market was three stories with mostly vegetables on the first floor as well as herbs. Huge avocados, sacks of potatoes, various unidentified fruits and veggies. It was hard to believe that this much food could be sold in a day. On the bottom floor was mostly a meat market. You could buy a whole pig or buy the parts and assemble your own. Lots of chicken and fish too, for a bit of variety. Out back was the flea market with headboards, appliances, toilets, electronics and further on was the animal section with goats, ducks, chickens, cats, dogs, and various other birds.


We then headed out to experience the transit system. Medellin has a mixed transit system with LRT, buses on their own roadways, and even gondolas. We took the bus to the train and then on to the gondola. Medellin has several large slums created by people displaced during the various violent periods. The government is quite progressive and has put services such as the gondola system to assist in transportation, electricity, running water, community centres, libraries and increased schools and educational training programs into these areas. These community changes offered the poor from this and other barrios alternatives that didn’t exist previously. The murder rate in the city has fallen from 380/100,000 in 1993 to 20/100,000 in 2011.The barrio we traveled over in the gondola (just like the gondolas found at Whistler) was built on very steep hillsides so that the residents would not have to climb up to their homes.


We then went to Botero Plaza, surrounded by the Museum of Antioquia and the Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture, which is a 7,000 m2 outside park that displays 23 sculptures by Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who donated these and several other artworks for the museum's renovation in 2004. The plaza is located in an area of Medellín, known as the "Old Quarter". Despite their immense size, they were a bit dwarfed by a large cathedral and museum surrounding them. Off the square were several pedestrian malls that we checked out. They were very busy with a few tourist stores but mostly product for the local people. We were getting hot and tired and Fred’s knee was bothering him so after trying to get a cab with no success (not sure why but they didn’t want to take us, perhaps cabs must stay in certain areas) we got on the metro and successfully found our way back to our hotel.


Tonight is a tejo game. Not sure what it is but it seems to involve explosives and beer.

Posted by Fredricgail2017 16:56 Archived in Colombia

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