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Monday, July 28, 2014

MEDELLIN MAGIC -- EXPLORING COLOMBIA'S REMOTE METROPOLIS 8



MEDELLIN: SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE, SLEEP CHEAP AT PIERS' PLACE IN LA LAURELES

To stay in Medellin for less than $25 US per night, go to AirBnB and search for Laurales Estadio 23 (Calle 46 #70A) and email Piers.

Pros:

Tremendous price.

Laureles is safe, quiet, secure.

Apartment is very short walk to Estadio station for dirt cheap metro train access to entire city.

Nightlife, restaurants, street vendors and true flavor of Medellin within crawling distance along famed La Setanta but somehow, the apartment is very quiet -- so best of both worlds location.

Cheap nearby eats.
Crawling distance of the stadium if you want to catch a soccer, errr, futbol game.

Bathroom/shower kept super clean.

Funky blend of longer term and short term guests at this funky single family house.

Full kitchen plus washer to use for free.

Balcony to catch the mountain breezes while drinking in the sounds of a real neighborhood.

Taxi ride to centro about 6 mil COP (about 3 bucks US) if you're feeling too lazy to walk 6 short blocks to metro station.

Little market in bottom of house directly across the street, open roughly 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily -- has great prices and everything you need such as snacks, beer, soda, bottled water (though Medellin's is 100 safe out of the tap).

Location is in a real middle to upper middle class neighborhood -- you will be walking past everyday people, not tourists. Can't stress enough how important it is to stay local.

Piers saved me at least 60 US round trip by suggesting I take collective bus from airport to center (San Diego), then taxi to his place.

A taxi from airport will cost at least $35 US one way and gets you there no faster than the Piers suggested route, which costs only a couple bucks -- and exposes you to local culture that takes place on a 45 minute bus ride through the countryside and into the city.


Monday, July 14, 2014

MEDELLIN MAGIC -- EXPLORING COLOMBIA'S REMOTE METROPOLIS 7



MEDELLIN: THE METROCABLE DOES MORE FOR TOURISTS
THAN SIMPLY TRANSPORTING THEM TO PARQUE ARVI



On the way up the mountain, don't just transfer from one cable car station to the next on the way to the mountaintop Arvi Park.

Get out in Comuna Santo Domingo and take a walk around.

This used to be an unthinkable thing.

Not that long ago, the area was beyond dangerous.

It's certainly very, very rough around the edges.

But it represents the real Medellin.

There are more folks scratching out a living in the makeshift bars, shops, restaurants, barber shops and markets of Santo Domingo then there are millionaires in a walled and guarded enclave in El Poblado.
Even in the poverty-challenged hillside comunas, I experienced an amazing vibrancy of life and a resolve to create housing, shops and more out of basic materials.

Monday, June 30, 2014

MEDELLIN MAGIC -- EXPLORING COLOMBIA'S REMOTE METROPOLIS 6



MEDELLIN: MUCH MORE THAN EL POBLADO



Far too many visitors from the United States stay, eat, shop and play in El Poblado and never leave.

Certainly, the area is beautiful and features most of the city's 4-star hotels as well as its highly-rated restaurants and malls.

El Poblado is pretty, but it no more gives a realistic picture of Medellin than Beverly Hills does of diverse and fascinating Los Angeles County in the states.

Stroll downtown's San Diego district (indeed, it is safer before sundown.)

Marvel at old mansions in El Prado.

Set up camp in La Laureles, a middle class neighborhood near universities and the city's soccer stadium.

Dance, drink and dine on street food along the enchanting street fair that is La Setenta.



Monday, June 16, 2014

MEDELLIN MAGIC -- EXPLORING COLOMBIA'S REMOTE METROPOLIS 5


MEDELLIN: MUSEO DE ARTE MODERNO, IN CIUDAD DEL RIO



The accessible and dynamic Museo de Arte Moderno displays an impressive collectino in its magnificent adaptive reuse building in the rapidly developing Ciudad del Rio section of town.

The contemporary museum has a nice selection by the late Cleveland, Ohio native Ethel Gilmour.

Gilmour spent most of her adult life roaming around Colombia and capturing everything from folk life to political tensions on her canvas.

Bonaur, one of Medellin's most progressive restaurants -- specializing in everything from new takes on traditional cuisine to a funky blend of American Low Country/New Orleans cooking -- is connected to the museum.

A pending museum expansion. plus urban infill housing, office and other mixed use development is taking place in the increasingly fashionable Ciudad del Rio district.

Monday, June 2, 2014

MEDELLIN MAGIC -- EXPLORING COLOMBIA'S REMOTE METROPOLIS 4


MEDELLIN: A VIEW FROM CERRO NUTIBARA


Visit Cerro Nutibara at sunset and marveL at the varied centers of commerce and housing that fill the basin and creep up the hillsides in every direction.

At night, the million lights from basin to near mountaintop create an urban image as exhilarating as any urban setting in South America.

Monday, May 19, 2014

MEDELLIN MAGIC -- EXPLORING COLOMBIA'S REMOTE METROPOLIS 3






MEDELLIN: VIBRANT PARKS AND PLAZAS THROUGHOUT THE CENTRAL COMMERCIAL DISTRICT AND FAR BEYOND

In the Medellin's vibrant central city, visitors can stroll through the parks and plazas teaming with street vendors and colorful people. 

It is easy to get swept into the urban theater while becoming envious of the civic interaction that takes place among thousands of people moving about the city of 2.5 million.