During my first day in Medellin I did a 3 hour guided tour of the Museo Interactivo (Interactive museum) - learning all about forms of energy - potential, caloric, mechanical, etc… as well as about types of dams & ways of using water pressure for energy. It was like a Liberty Science Center but even more educational since it was guided - they even had the static electricity ball that made our hair stand up! From there I went to the Parque de los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot park) where I had another guided tour - we walked barefoot on painful big stones then grass, then sand that was really small pebbles. It was good and painful at the same time. After that we had to walk through a labyrinth w/ our eyes closed then across varied height pillars while looking straight ahead - just using our feet to feel around. From there we went back onto the grass and it actually felt different! She said that is the real feeling of the grass but our feet are desensitized to it because we wear shoes all day long. We ended in 2 different pools of water where we gave ourselves foot massages. It was an awesome experience - very unique!
Day 2 in Medellin I got on the Turibus tour bus at Bolivar park then it took us to el parque de los deseos. It is set up w/ different things to do w/ astronomy & got its name from the wishes you make on shooting stars. There was a really cool sun clock w/ am & pm as well as 2 conch type enclaves where you talk into one and you can hear the sound on the other one. We went to the Barefoot Park (where I had already been) then to Pueblito Paisa which was pretty disappointing. The square was similar to the colonial one in Panama City and then there were a ton of food venders and a lookout area with a pretty decent view of the city. Our last stop was Astor reposteria, famous for its besitos de negro - thin napoleon crust w/ marshmallow & covered in chocolate. The tour ended at parque de las esculturas, filled w/ tons of Botero statues. I went into the museum (Museo de Antioquia) and it was really amazing - it is funny how Botero even paints fruit and buildings fat! There were also great works by other famous artists like Jaramillo and Nel Gomez and a big Picasso exhibit. Afterwards I took the metro to the metro cable to Santo Domingo. They actually have a cable car system as part of their metro in order to get to the poor people living up in the hills. I believe it is the only one of its kind and we tourists take it as a cheap aerial view of the city!! I ended the day w/ a Van Gogh play - interesting but not amazing.
I took a tour the next day and met these 2 great women who I hung out with all day. At the first stop they even got this new fruit for me to try - an orange grape like thing called uchuva. It was a little sour - not bad but not good either. Next, we got to the town called Nuevo Peñol. It was a brand new town to replace the original Peñol since the original town had to be flooded in order to create a dam and the townspeople fought to get it rebuilt. So, the whole town was re-erected in the 80s and they built a new church in the form of the Peñon rock that was right near them. It was a cool looking church. After the church we went to the rock. I walked up alone but it wasn't even exercise because there were so many people we went super slowly. The view from the top was really nice and the walk back down wasn't as slow but the whole thing wasn't totally amazing. From there we went to a little town famous for its zocalos - paintings at the bottoms of the walls of the buildings. They were originally like a coat of arms for the family indicating their profession - silleteros, weavers etc… We went by a place selling goat cheese that had baby goats that were so cute as well as a mama goat that you could milk. After that we went on a party boat that took us all around a lake with great views of the sunset and the big rock in the distance.
Monday, August 3, I spent one more day in Medellin before heading back down to Argentina. I stayed at the Hostal Odeon again and the girls at the reception were so sweet, having worried about me since I got in later than expected. I must say that the people in Colombia are incredibly sweet and friendly and they are always so concerned about whether or not I was enjoying their country! I never felt in danger there at all, in fact with so many tourist police I felt rather safe! I slept in after another horrible night bus trip then took the other metro cable to Aurora (an area in the opposite direction with stunning hilltop views of the city). I met up w/ Oliva (one of the women that I had met on the tour the week before) and we went to Pueblito Paisa where they had some examples of publicity flower circles for the huge flower festival that was going on at the time. There were also people there making them and answering questions about them. I got to see how they glue the flowers then spray paint them. From there we went to the Parque de los Pies Descalzos where they had an orchestra playing and I ate a Mexican cazuela. (All this travelling in South America really made me miss Mexico!) We then enjoyed a guitar duo from Cuba & the US and some great opera singers. (The concerts were all free because of the flower festival.)