driveby) we took a flight to Medellín, where we stayed 5 nights. A shuttle bus brought as from the airport to the city. The bus ride over the mountains on a winding road took about an hour, as long as the flight. The views of the rough landscape - mountain chains covered with a lush vegetation - were gorgeous. As we approached Medellín we saw the city deep below in the valley - an awesome impression. We arrived at rush hour and the taxi ride from the bus terminal to the hotel took another hour.
Middle Class Oases
Medellín is a patchwork of very different regions. There are large traditional low income areas - including huge slums. But all over the city you can see modern oases with nice middle class districts and clusters of high-rises. We stayed in the middle class district Laureles, which reminded me a bit of Barcelona.
Medellín maybe known by the Netflix series "Narcos" and has a very bad reputation. But this is history. We never feared for our safety, we never got bothered. Medellín doesn`t have the aggressive beggars & and heavily drugged people which are frequent on the streets of New York City or San Francisco.
hiking) we had a police escort on horses.
We got irritated by the taxi drivers. They don´t understand English, like the rest of the population, and they didn`t know our locations, including the hotel. The city is big, but the streets follow a grit system, a chess board pattern, like Manhattan. Carreras (streets) run from South to North, the calles (also streets) cross the Carreras and run from East to West. Apparently not much help for the taxi drivers. Showing them the address in print, doesn`t help either. It looked like that many have problems to read. Nor did it help to show them the location on Google map. But finally they managed to bring us to our locations, often by asking people on the streets.
2 times we used a terminal station, which also is an interchange. This intersection gets flooded in rush hours. There are open boxes indicating the access to the trains. When the train has arrived, its passengers leave on the opposite sides and then the doors open for the waiting lines, letting the new passengers stream into the car. Usually the trains cannot swallow the whole queues. When the train is full, a signal sounds, the doors are closing, and the rest of the queue has to wait for the next train.
Hustle And Bustle
The subtropical metropolis has a vibrant street life and there are many street markets where you can watch the hustle and bustle.
Medellín was a great experience and provided much fun!