Stairway to Heaven

Happy Mother’s Day (May 10th) to all of you out there!  We headed out of Medellín this morning for a drive back up into the countryside in the gentle mountain range outside town this morning.  After about an hour on the road, we stopped at a small roadside cafe to stave off imminent hunger (NOT!), by having a snack (called algo or algito, meaning something or a  little something).  I think the Colombians should meet the Swedes.  At the stop, there were many different kinds of baby farm animals, and we enjoyed our algo of hot chocolate and fresh warm cheese bread (pan de queso). As it turned out, it was good we stopped to stoke up, because our first activity of the day was an insane climb up a stone monolith called Piedra de Peñon.  Jim wussed out, but about half of us slogged up the switchback stone steps (740 of them, to be precise), the catch the views of the surrounding lakes.

Piedra de Penol 2

Piedra de Penol 3

Stairway to Hell
Stairway to Hell
Views of Represa de Guatapé
Views of Represa de Guatapé

Seniors' Cumbia Demonstration

Piedra de Penol 1

Seniors' Cumbia Demonstration
The few, the brave, the foolhardy!
Seniors' Cumbia Demonstration  Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape

After we crawled off the monolith, our tour went out for a ride across  the lake we could see from the Peñon, which is called Represa de Guatapé.  The cool lake breeze blowing across us was a welcome relief after our climb, and the lake and its surrounding countryside was really beautiful! One of the highlights of the cruise was a drive b of Pablo Escobar’s former lake house which was gutted by his rivals in the aftermath of his killing.

 Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Boat ride on Represa de Guatape
Pablo Escobar's Lake House
Pablo Escobar’s Lake House

Following the boat ride, we went to the town of Guatapé, where we started with a great traditional meal called Bandeja de Paisa. 

Bandeja de Paisa
Our Mother’s Day lunch
Bandera de Paisa
Bandera de Paisa

Then we walked around the town, which is famous for the painted cement tiles on the lower walls of houses, businesses and even the local church, which are called socalos. 

Guatape 3

Guatape 4

Guatape 5

Guatape 6 Guatape 7

Guatape 8

Guatape 9

Guatape 10

Our next experience with local culture involved rides in the little enclosed motorcycle taxis called motochivas (literally, motorized goats). on our wild ride, we saw socalos with every theme and subject matter under the sun.  We even got to meet the artist who is mainly responsible for creating (and maintaining) most of the socalos in town.


Guatape 12

Guatape 13

Guatape 14

Guatape 15

Guatape 16

Guatape 17

Guatape 18

Guatape 19

After our motochivas brought us back to the center of time we walked around the town square, and watched numerous Colombian families celebrating Mother’s Day along the lakeshore.  On the whole, Guatapé was another charming Colombian town where we could readily see spending another week.  However, after  such an eventful day, we were ready for our bus ride back to Medellín, and a quiet night.

Guatape 20

Guatape 21

Guatape 22

Guatape 23

Editorial note:  Yes, we ARE back in the U.S. but just tardy in posting the remaining parts of our itinerary.  Keep posted and we should finish up fairly soon. Thanks for being such loyal followers!

One thought on “Stairway to Heaven”

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