Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Colombia: Medellin City Tour

Even though it's Colombia's 2nd biggest city, I had never heard of Medellin until I started my international job hunt. Due to the climate, it was actually my #1 choice for a job (but they didn't pick me!). Medellin used to have a terrible reputation during the 90's due to lots and lots of drug violence and the infamous Pablo Escobar. Now, though, it's a beautiful city and the local paisas are very proud of their city-and they LOVE tourists! On my first day here I took a free city tour, where most of the photos were taken. Many locals said hello, welcome to Medellin! The tour guide explained that Colombians are just so happy that they are now a popular tourist destination, after so many years of violence. As a free plug, the city tour (Real City Tours) was about 5 hours long and it was amazing!! Highly recommended. There is a lot of history in the city, and the locals are none to eager to paint their city in a negative light, so the tour was a good way to learn about it. 

There are sculptures, statues, parks, and art EVERYWHERE in this city!
In the background is the Parque Cisneros and Plaza de Las Luces -Plaza of Lights. It used to be a dangerous slum with lots of drugs, with but the city turned it into a lovely park. It's beautiful at night!
One of my few selfies this trip!

Used to be the National Palace....now a shopping mall. 

Remember these guys from Bogota? Yep, more Botero sculptures!

A cathedral that was never finished...some problem with the architect or the money.

This Botero sculpture of a bird was destroyed by a bombing in 1995 that killed 20 people. The city hurried to remove it but Botero asked that it be kept as a reminder. He also fashioned a new one, below, which stands beside it. 

Parque San Antonio, where both of the above statues are, was completely deserted. In a country that loves to congregate outside in parks, it was very strange. I was told that paisas would rather not dwell on the history of violence in their city, so maybe that's why. 

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