Ten Tips for Visiting the City of Flowers and Eternal Spring

 

By J.J. Scott

Article from TravelLady Magazine

 
   
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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.

   

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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 area.

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. www.ichotelsgroup.com

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 little time.

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