Medellín, Colombia – Hovering above the brick city

Most towns with over a million inhabitants in the New World aren’t excessively worth seeing. This is actually true for Medellin as well, but there is an interesting way of sightseeing: cable railways and a 30 km / 20 mi long metro built on pillars. From Parque Arví, a recreational area for locals where we camp, a 4.4 km / 3 mi long cable railway hovers over the forest and than steep into the valley (one-way ticket 3,500 Peso = 2 $). Then we have to change into the “regular” public traffic network where we can travel back and forth as long as we want and we don’t leave the station (1,700 COP = 1 $). Another cable car lets us fly above the uniform russet city: red brick buildings and just as red roofs set the tone for the scene.

We leave the metro at Parque Berrio to admire Plaza Botero in front of Casa de la Cultura. Here stand 23 monumental sculptures of the Colombian sculptor Fernando Boteros – the world’s best paid artist. All statues from black bronze are voluptuous, carnal, and corpulent. If cat or horse, Roman soldier or woman – the unconventional masterpieces contain a high recognition factor. Back to Parque Arví we may hope for another cool night in 2,400 m / 7,900 ft, during Medellin is located at 1,500 m / 5,000 ft. At Ecoparque Piedras Blancas (N 06°17’41.5’’ W 75°30’00.8’’), a part of the Arví park, we are offered the night for 14.400 Pesos (8 $) per person on the lopsided gravel parking, but the choices for camping are little in Medellin. For just 1,000 Pesos (55 cents) a bus brings us to the cable car station respectively back. Medellin has also a conveniently situated Carrefour (N 06°19’03.1’’ W 75°33’25.2’’). The multi-storey car park problem with the low entrance height is solved by the market-own gas station where we can stay at the side after asking the manager kindly. The fuel is reasonable in addition.

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