During my stay in Medellin I either wanted to visit Guatape or Rio Claro. Ideally I would have done both but I had neither the time nor the money to do both. Rio Claro was recommended to me by Alejandra who had claimed that it was one of the most beautiful places she has ever seen in Colombia. It was great advice, but the day before I heard an American chap talk about how he was bit by a mosquito there and then six weeks after he had parasites crawling out of there. It was enough to sway my decision to Guatape. Guatape would be great anyway, it was less expensive to visit, Becky wanted to go so I would have a friend on my travels, there were no parasite Mozzies that I was aware of and the biggest selling point for me was that you could go paintballing in one of Pablo Escobar's blown up mansions.
The bus there was only an hour and a half which mainly consisted of me telling Becky that she would see a cow every day of her life, she was adamant she wouldn't but as she looked up and out the window there was a herd of cattle. She was still adamant that she would t see a cow every day, and I explained that I was of the same opinion but since Sao Paulo in Brazil, a good four months ago, when Rory told me about the fact I had legitimately seen a cow every single day even when climbing a snow filled volcano, or the amazon of even just a lazy day. She still wasn't having any of it and told me she would let me know when she had a day and not seen the farm yard animal. I've not herd anything yet, so I assume she is still spotting cows. The rest of the tie on the bus was spent playing Solitaire. Becky told me I sucked after I told her of my stats, which is something ridiculous like played 1880 and won 290, but she didn't fair to much better and in fact in one game she said she had lost I found a move and ended up winning. She didn't really like losing. But soon enough we were in Guatape, or to be precise we were just outside in a place called La Piedra, named after the massive rock that is located there and infact La Piedra ins Spanish means The Stone. We climbed the 740 steps to the top of the rock to take in the breath taking views of the surroundings where It is possible to see the 500 km shore-perimeter dam. The stone is composed of quartz, feldspar and mica. At its highest part, on the rear, it has an elevation of 2,135 metres over sea level, with an average temperature of 18 °C. The "Peñol" has 22 cubic mega metres of rock mass and it is 385 metres long, with an approximate weight of 66 million tonnes. Yep that was all sourced from Wikipedia and I'm not a rock geek.
After the rock we got a tuk-tuk into Guatape with an American chap who claimed to be a chef but it appeared as though the only places he had worked was fast food restaurants or in schools with frozen food. It would be like me saying I was an IT consultant because I worked on a computer for years. The tuk-tuk also looked like it wasn't finished being built, it had no roof and screws sticking out in various places still it did the job and got us into Guatape. The first thing that happened as we stepped of the tuk-tuk was that we were approached by a local trying to sell us the paintballing excursion. It turned out it would be quite expensive, we would get a thirty minute boat ride, an hour paintballing or however long it took us to use a hundred bullets and then the return trip for 90000 Colombiano's. The real kicker was that it would only be me and Becky, and though having the excuse to shoot a girl a hundred times may have had a certain appeal I couldn't do it and besides paintballing is much better in a group. So we told the bloke we would have a think about it over lunch which was a decent 6000 Menu.
The next job on the agenda was to find a hostel, the American dude had recommended us a place called the Tomato Café, but this was rank, Lake View was closed for some renovations so we had a walk around the square and we found a little quaint hostel that didn't appear to have a name, we got a room with two double beds and en-suite bathroom for 1000 less than what we would have paid in the rank Tomato Café hostel.
We then had a walk around the town, maybe to see if we could haggle on the Escobar tour or even be offered the excursion by someone else. It was a nice little town, bright colours, hanging baskets, on a lake, Becky liked to say the place was cute, a lot! I suppose it was a bit, though I'd phrase it somewhat more masculine, maybe that the town had a certain something about it. We didn't find the man or anyone else offering the paintballing so as the rain began to fall we decided to have a beverage in the bar across the road from our hostel. The bar was a proper Old Man's place, full of old gents playing cards, or proper billiards. We each tried a Redd's there which is the closest I have come to cider since being in South America it had a distinct fruity taste about it. The light rain soon turned into a massive storm so we retreated to our hostel and watched a weird film called Filth. The storm hadn't got much better but we braved it and went out for a dinner menu before again retreating back to the hostel to watch another weird film called Bunny and The Bull. It wasn't that great and I fell asleep pretty during the film not waking up until the morning.
With us being priced out and not having a group to paintball with we decided to go kayaking instead. I was a tad nervous the last time I went Kayaking was in Dubai and I got sun stroke, sea sick and kept going round in circles and barely made it out into the sea. This time though it was alright, although we had the uncanny habit of making the kayak /canoe turn right, we also had the habit of going down streams with dead ends, all in all I'd class it as a success we only crashed once and I was the hero getting out to push us back into the lake, the only thing was we didn't have no time telling device on us so we arrived back after only ninety minutes of our allotted hundred and twenty minutes. There wasn't much more to see in Guatape so we got our s*** together and got on the bus back to Medellin. The bus back took a bit longer than going but it also saw me crowned Solitaire champion, despite the battery of my iPod going early doors I managed to win one game while Becky didn't win one, she was far from pleased with the loss which made my gloating even more funnier. After two hours we were back in Medellin and ready for one more crazy night so until next time stay safe and take care.