Medellín is Colombia’s second largest city and it has a turbulent history. Located in and up the sides of a steep valley it used to be controlled of one of the world’s most notorious drug dealers – Pablo Escobar. While we were there we enjoyed reading the biography about the US war on drugs and their efforts to take down this brutal but popular villain – ‘Killing Pablo’.
Once a no go zone, since Escobar was killed in 1993, Medellín has undergone a transformation and is now a vibrant and safe place for tourists to visit. We stayed in the region called El Poblado and whiled away a couple of days in the city. It rained a lot while we were there and as a result we did not get around as much as we might have liked. We left feeling like the city had much more to offer but that a lot more time would be needed to really get a true sense for the place.
The city is sprawling but fortunately, because it is the only city in Colombia with a metro train system, it is very easy to get around. It even includes two cable cars as part of the metro. We took one of these cable cars out of the city to the pretty parque Arví – this was a massive 40 minutes by cable car from the base of the valley up the hill and then some distance through a forest at the top. Not great if you don’t like heights but if affords some incredible views of the city and beyond.
We also took the time to visit the Boltero museum in the Parque de Berrío in central Medellín. We loved this along with many giant bronze sculptures in the square in front. Boltero is a famous Colombian artist who creates sculptures and paintings where the subjects appear enlarged and fattened. They are great fun and this museum is doubly good because Boltero donated many of his works to it for the public to enjoy.