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