Monday, February 14, 2011

Here and there

Medellin gets some powerful storms, and I love to watch the clouds gather over the mountains and then wait to see the lightning and hear the thunder clap so loud that it makes car alarms go off throughout the city.
We never get tired of the view from our balcony
We are really lucky to have a small, but important group of friends in Medellin.  Having friends for dinner is one of our favorite things to do and so this week we had a gathering to welcome Kevin's fiance, Kathia, and their son Max who have spent the last few weeks in Kathia's home country, Costa Rica.  Our realtor and friend, Daniel, his wife, Diana, and Craig also joined us.
Clockwise from left:  Me, Roger, Diana, Daniel, Kathia, Max, Kevin
Our Aussie mate, Craig, always has great stories and keeps us all laughing
We've been taking day trips to discover new places.  My job is to research where to go - and Roger's job is to get us there safely.  This week's destination was Santa Fe, a small colonial town about 90 minutes north of Medellin.  It was founded in 1541 and was once the capital of Antioquia. 
We passed by some of the poorer areas of Medellin on our way out of the city
In the last few years, Medellin has implemented a cable car system that joins up with their above ground Metro.  This allows people living in the poorer areas to access good transportation to jobs within the city.
We went through the longest tunnel in Colombia that was opened a few years ago and spans 4.6 kms
We drove through Santa Fe to Puente Occidente which lies a few kilometers out of the town.  It spans 291 meters and was built in 1895 by the same engineer that worked on building the Brooklyn Bridge.  Puente Occidente was one of the first suspension bridges built in the Americas and is an impressive engineering feat.
The wooden planks rattled as we made our way across the river
Traffic can only go one way at a time, so a line up of cars are always waiting.  Industrious vendors sell cold beer, water and pop while you wait

 We walked through the town and found the plaza where a lot was happening on a Sunday afternoon. 
A wonderful lunch in a neat restaurant looking out to the plaza
The main church was built in 1799

Whether it is in Spain, Portugal, Mexico or Colombia -- I love watching old men in plazas. 

On the way home, we stopped at one of the many fruit stands.  Here, a farmer sold us delicious apple bananas, oranges, and tamarind paste (in the background hanging down by the bananas wrapped in cellophane).  Now, I just have to figure out what to do with it!
 Another Sunday drive.  Another beautiful part of Colombia discovered.  Un día maravilloso!

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