And that's pretty much what happened yesterday.
We left the house at around 10:45am with our couchsurfing hosts Andrea and Herber. We had been contemplating taking the bus and metro system, but with the 4 of us a taxi wasn't much more money. Plus, it's a long weekend here in Colombia with Monday being a National holiday. So they said there will be more people out and about and it's Halloween as well.
So we walked out the door, and sure enough one of those little yellow taxis came down the road about 30 seconds later. As I said, those little yellow cars are everywhere!
Andrea, flagging our taxi.
Yes, this is a two way street.
At the bottom of our hill, about 2.5 kms from the house is the big Exito supermarket. Haven't been in it yet, so not sure about prices or selection. But it is big!
We got out near downtown and paid the taxi bill...10,000 pesos ($4.72 CAD). All taxis are metered and the meter starts at 2.700 pesos, with the minimum fare being 5,000 pesos ($2.36 CAD). It is not normal to tip a taxi driver in Colombia. He would have had to have done something extra special for you to give him extra money.
Near downtown, at Plaza Mayor.
The only problem is that Medellin is not a bicycle friendly city. They have begun building some bike lanes, and they close some downtown roads on Sundays for cycling, but otherwise we don't see a lot of people on bicycles. Motorcycles, yes...but not bicycles.
This office building had a lot of greenery. It is the Public Utilities Intelligent Building.
In front of that building is "Barefoot Park", where you are encouraged to go barefoot with shallow water pools and sand.
Ruth, testing out the waters.
Not cold, but warm...comfortable, she said.
Herber, Andrea, and Ruth at the bamboo forest.
Ruth and a pretty flower.
Interesting architecture at the Lapujarra Administration Center.
A police officer with his co-worker!
The Plaza of Lights.
Medellin is big on fancy lighting, and was listed in National Geographic as one of the 10 best places in the world to see Christmas lights. We will be back here for that in mid December!
Taking a break. Ruth, Herber, and Andrea...taking a photo of me!
Busy street corner.
Taken from the Palacio de Cultura building.
There are a lot of these "fat people" statues in the downtown. Done by artist Fernando Botero, apparently they are famous around the world.
Next up, a stop for a late lunch. We wanted something traditional, and that's what we got. And we got enough that we didn't need any dinner...what a meal!
Yep, 100% traditional.
We timed it perfectly. Just as we got in the restaurant it started to pour buckets of rain. The restaurant was busy and is obviously popular. Herber and I ordered the mixed plate and the girls ordered a smaller dish and then we shared. Tons of food!
A pretty big lunch.
Total bill for all that food and four beers and two lemonades? 85,000 pesos ($40.00 CAD). Again, it is not normal for Colombians to tip, and if you do it would only be 1,000 or 2,000 pesos no matter the size of the bill. Although apparently some fancy restaurants will include a 15% service charge so if you're in a higher end place be careful that you don't double tip.
Then we took a taxi to the El Poblado neighbourhood. This is where many tourists will stay because it's a little higher end and you kind of get the "sanitized" version of Medellin. We wanted to see it just because, however it's not where we would have wanted to stay. Glad we're getting the local version. That's what we love about couchsurfing.
Lots of hotels and restaurants. I had read that many of the basic hostels in El Poblado cost more than a decent hotel room in other parts of the city.
Fancy hotel in El Poblado.
Lots of trees and greenery. It's a pretty area.
Old church in El Poblado. And of course a couple more yellow taxis.
Taken from one of the metro station platforms.
We took train, cable car, and bus to get back home. We were zonked....and of course we've got another busy day planned for today. We're doing a day trip to Guatape...about two hours on the bus each way. Sorry...I guess tomorrow's blog post will also be full of pictures!
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