If ever a city needed a
public relations makeover it is Medellin, Colombia. The 40-minute drive
from the airport to the city, up the hills and down the mountain, along
the serpentine road offers panoramic views of the countryside before
reaching the city nestled in the narrow valley. The city is growing and
prospering with high-rise buildings climbing up the mountainside.
Located in the Aburra Valley in the Central Andean mountain range at
5000 feet, Medellin is the “City of Flowers and Eternal Spring.” Trees
and flowers are everywhere. There is plenty to attract tourists.
Turibus: Hop-on-hop-off the tour bus for an introduction to the city.
The four-hour tour stops at all the important sites. The guide is
multilingual. Get on at Park Poblado and start early to allow for
extended time at Park Bolivar, Barefoot Park, Parque de los deseos, Cerro
Nutibara, and Plaza Botero.
Museo de Antioquia: While the museum is home to movies, library services
and art workshops the center focus of the museum is the donation made by
Medellin-born artist, Fernando Botero. On display are his full-figure
works plus selections from his international collection. The plaza in
front of the museum is home to 23 Botero sculptures including “Adam and
Eve” and Botero as a Roman soldier.
Museo Interactivo: The EPM Interactive museum makes learning about
energy fun for all ages. Multilingual guides lead visitors through the
museum where most exhibits are hands-on. A Van de Graaff Generator makes
one’s hair stand on end, another gismo takes an image of ones aura, but
the most fun are the Disney-like rides. On the Future Floor, visitors
pick an animal to follow into the future and an attractive female robot
explains what happens to that animal without good conservation methods.
A centrifuge ride recreated the g-force experienced by astronauts. There
are 22 rooms on four floors and over 200 experiments.
Bare Foot Park: Parque de los Pies Descalzos is an open sky space with a
peaceful oriental atmosphere. It is a delightful contrast to the noise
of the city. A sand park, water fountains, zen garden, guadua tree
forests, and wooden tables are surrounded by business buildings. Park
attendants guide visitors through a series of relaxation exercises.
Truly one of the world’s most unique city parks.
The Park of Wishes: The park includes Planetario de Medellin, which is
not only a planetarium but a unique open space area where people can
observe the universe. Special benches and a large incline are designed
for people to lie down to look at the stars and to view movies on
astronomy. Eleven interactive scientific attractions are in the open
Little City: Atop Cerro Nutibara which offers panoramic views of the
city is El Pueblito, a replica of a rural village complete with a school,
church, chemist’s shop, barber shop, café, and handicraft shops along
with a sculpture of Cacique Nutibara, a native chief. It is the largest
natural park within the city.
The Liberator: So important is Simon Bolivar that every major city in
Colombia has a park in his honor. The fountain and statue in front of
the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica represents the four countries
Bolivar freed. The Cathedral is the world’s largest baked clay structure
with a whopping one million, one hundred and twenty thousand adobe
bricks. Along with the imposing interior and religious art museum the
Symphonic Band of the Unversidad de Antioquia plays classical and folk
music every Sunday.
Beautiful people: In Medellin they say, “There are no ugly women only
poor husbands!” The city is the cosmetic surgery capital of South
America. Vacations that promise “Body Beautiful” transformations are
promoted by travel agents and
plastic surgeons in Colombia.
Stoned! Today in Medellin that means sitting around the beautiful pool
of the InterContinental Hotel enjoying a unique Hot Stone dinner.
Besides the special Italian pizza cooked in wood-burning oven the hotel
offers a new way to cook your own dinner. A sizzling hot stone is
brought to the table along with thinly sliced fresh tender meats and
vegetable for the guests to cook on the hot stone. Not to be missed.
The countryside: There is plenty to do in Medellin but there are also
the green tours to the areas that are coffee and flower producing along
with tours that focus on the history of the area. So much to do, so