kristen reNae

travel

Guatapé y La Piedra

Following a day in Santa Fe de Antioquia, we decided to take another 1.5 hour bus ride from Medellín to adventure the town of Guatapé. However, right before Guatapé, you can hop off the bus at La Piedra, where you will see El Peñón de Guatapé (aka the “seven wonders” rock).

IMG_2156 IMG_6590

El Peñón de Guatapé is a huge rock formed millions of years ago, and then someone thought it would be a good idea to create 750 steps to go up to the top. Don’t get me wrong, the view is magnificent – but that is a workout!

IMG_2157 IMG_2158

Once at the top, there is a lookout area to view the lake and catch your breath. There are also a few concession places that offer cut up fruit and cervezas. Of course with it being a tourist trap, there are several small stores that offer overpriced trinkets. By climbing a few extra stairs, you have a 360 degree view to take pictures, however, it was bombarded with a ton of people, selfie sticks, and weird bugs that swarmed the area.

IMG_2161 IMG_2160

From there, we found a motochiva to take us from the rock all the way into Guatapé. We were dropped off in the main square and we began to explore the cobblestone roads. There was a lot more going on in their main square area than in Santa Fe.

IMG_6622 IMG_6652

We walked around to find a bite to eat and landed at a restaurant overlooking one of their main strips of cafes and boutiques. They had one menu nailed to the wall, and we all decided on the plate of the day. It was a delicious start to the trip. After finishing our meal, we began walking the streets to capture the colorful community.

IMG_2162 town square

The vibrant neighborhood lead us to the waterfront, where vendors were lined up along the sidewalk to make sales on tourist items (mainly hats, ponchos, food, etc.) Across the street were various restaurants overlooking the water. We took it easy for a while and enjoyed a cerveza and people watched as locals and tourists napped on the grass, boarded boats for a tour, and took a flight on the zip line.

IMG_6664 chillin

We were advised to purchase our tickets in advance for the ride home because they often sell out. So we thought the 6 pm bus would suffice. However, around 3 pm we were about done being tourists.  We attempted to exchange our tickets for an earlier time, but had no luck because they had sold out. So we lollygagged around town a bit more – taking pictures and running into dead ends. Then it was finally time to head back.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0541. DCIM100GOPROGOPR0542.

Overall, Guatapé had a lot to offer and was a fun adventure to add to our time in Colombia.

Santa Fe de Antioquia

Our first adventure outside of the metro area was to Santa Fe de Antioquia. We woke up early on a Saturday to take a bus ride about 1.5 hours Northwest of Medellín to get there.

bus station bus station2

This beautiful town was once the capital of Antioquia. When entering this small town, you are dropped off by the bus just on the outskirts of the main square. The stone streets lead you into the middle of the square where there is the market, surrounded by a church, Catedral Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion, and other small store fronts.

cathedral

Our first stop was to grab a late breakfast, an arepe con pollo (it tasted like a chicken pot pie with less flavor) and then we began walking the streets.

arepa con pollo

The town streets are lined with beautiful white-washed brick walls showcasing the occasional paintings or statues, which provide stories of the past.

IMG_2149 white washed

The main square (and the city overall) was pretty quiet and we were told that the market was a must to visit. However, when we began making our rounds, it was much smaller than imagined; and each stand began to look the same. Most of them sold Tamarind (you have to try the sweet candy made from this) and then a few other stands had miscellaneous hats, ponchos and knick-knacks.

IMG_2150 IMG_2151

After we walked around a bit, we found a group of motochiva’s (aka tuk tuk’s – my first time!) that took us from the city to Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West, a National Monument). It was about a 15 minute ride and I would highly recommend paying a few pesos for this. It would be a long, uphill walk otherwise. Plus, our driver recommended the best places to take pictures from on the opposite side of the bridge and then advised us to walk the bridge to the other side and he would take us back into town.

The bridge is mostly wood and sits above the Cauca River. Honestly, after a few pictures, there isn’t much else to do, so you would only need about 30 minutes before heading back to the main square.

bridge walk bridge selfie

After we returned from “the bridge”, we decided to visit the Museo Juan Del Corral. The Museum is free and full of history, but it is also all in Spanish.

And don’t be fooled, traveling from Medellín to Santa Fe, the weather here was scorching hot! So be prepared with sunscreen, cooler clothes, and a hat!

Overall the city can be seen in under four hours. We spent our time taking photos, having a few beers and people watching. We then caught the bus ride back to Medellín to rest up for our adventures the following day.

Colombia Fútbol

Our first weekend in Colombia was already off to a great start. We began Saturday by adventuring off into downtown Medellín. Following our tourist expedition, that afternoon, we lined up a sporting event; to attend the local fútbol match of Independiente Medellín (aka DIM) vs. Junior F.C., a big rivalry match.

futbol ticket

Our housemates were attending language school at Mission 20 and one of their teachers is a big Independiente Medellín fan and offered to take us to a game. We took the metro to the stadium and then walked around to find a spot to hang out until the game started.

stadium entrance
Entrance into the stadium.

people watching.

So, we had a few beers and people watched while the teacher, Daniel, attempted to teach us one of the songs:

Dale dale Medellín,
Hoy te venimos a alentar ,
Para ser campeón hoy hay que ganar…

Which translates to:

Come on Come On Medellin,
Today we come to encourage you,
To be champion you have to win today …

As the crowds began to accumulate, we learned that there are official fan groups from different areas of Medellín. Some gathered in the middle street partition to hold flags and chant. Then, the team bus came in and everyone gathered to watch it enter the stadium, although you couldn’t view any players.

futbol bus

They also take their security very seriously…

security

After a couple Aguila’s, we scouted out shirts to buy for the game and then got in line to enter the first security checkpoint. Once we were in the first gate check, we grabbed another beer (since they don’t allow alcohol in the stadium) before the lines began forming to enter the stadium.

aguila

We had great seats overlooking the field, even with the sun on us for the first part of the game. Each ticket was about 30,000 pesos ($9.42 American dollars). This was my first fútbol game, so it was very exciting to watch the energy of all the fans – the entire game. The game was a bit slow and the end was a little weird, as we weren’t sure if it had ended or not. And unfortunately, Medellín lost. This was their first home game and it was against another Colombian team, so it was not a good loss.

stadium

stadium2

After the game, we went across the street to the strip-mall of bars to enjoy a couple more beers and let the Metro clear out. It was quite entertaining to people watch and be in the mix with the locals.

At this point, we were all pretty hungry and tired, so before hopping on the metro, we stopped for some pizza and then rolled back home.

Overall, the experience was awesome and I would definitely attend another match!