72 Hours in Medellín, Colombia (Part IV)

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Day 3 in Medellín

Chapter 1: Getting there
Chapter 2: Day 1 in Medellín
Chapter 3: Day 2 in Medellín 
Chapter 4: Day 3 in Medellín (the post you are reading)

Our final day in Medellín fell on a Saturday, which just so happened to be the day that the Paisas celebrate Halloween when it falls on a week day. That meant throwing together a simple but fun costume and getting ready to party! However, before we embarked out into the streets to celebrate with the wonderful people of Medellín I wanted to explore more parts of the city.

Panoramic view from the balcony on Saturday morning.

Due to the fact that we stayed out quite late the night before… well we slept in on Saturday morning 😀 That’s no big deal in Medellín, though, since the city is alive and full of things to do on Saturday. TIP: If you’re visiting Medellín try your best to do it over a weekend; Colombians are known for staying fairly low-key/family oriented Sunday through Wednesday.

As you’re probably aware of by now, up to this point we’d spent the majority of our time in the Parque Lleras/Poblado areas. Therefore, I decided to “venture out” beyond my comfort zone and see what else was in walking distance from our plush condo.

I headed north away from the Parque Lleras area towards the neighborhood of Las Lomas. I heard there was a mall/international market over that way and was looking for a hearty lunch. The walk was quite enjoyable, heading up gradual hills and meandering through the winding streets dotted with luxury homes and condos. I wasn’t aware of this area until I walked through it (great way to discover new parts of a city) and almost wished we had stayed here. Next time!

After about 30 minutes of strolling I had worked up quite the appetite and made it to Mall Interplaza (Facebook page here), which is essentially an outdoor mall with lots of shops and restaurants. The choices are varied and depending on what you’re in the mood for you may need to check out their menus before deciding. I was going back and forth between the Cuban restaurant and the Asian/Colombian fusion restaurant. Ultimately, I went with the Asian fusion because I was seriously missing noodles and it smelled amazing!

Lunch in Medellín Day 3: 123 WOK in Las Lomas

When it comes to Asian food in general I don’t claim to be an expert by any means. However,  between living in Southern California and dating an Asian woman I’ve become to know and appreciate the cuisine very much. So it’s not hard to imagine that if you develop a fusion of traditional noodles and rice with a Colombian/South American flare, voila you have something delicious! What’s great about 123 WOK is you can build pretty much anything with the ingredients they use/have on hand; and it’s a lot! Oh, and the price is extremely reasonable. I added in quite a bit of “extras” in the way of toppings and extra veggies and got outta there for less than $6 USD.

The menu is in Spanish, but you get the idea!

I sat outside and enjoyed my tasty lunch amongst the locals that were chit chatting in Spanish and enjoying the beautiful weather. One thing you’ll notice early on during your visit to Medellín is that the people are fantastically kind and polite. I am a tall white male with freckles, dark hair and a beard and it’s beyond obvious that I am not Colombian (or Hispanic at all). Toss that in with my broken Spanish and American accent and I stand out quite a bit. Nonetheless, whenever I travel I strive to immerse myself amongst the locals and see life in their country from their perspective. I truly believe it is this that sets “touristy” travelers apart from world travelers in search of genuine cultural experiences. Moreover, the people of the country you are visiting will appreciate and respect you for just trying.

Promptly after I finished my lunch and was just sitting and relaxing it began to sprinkle (surprise surprise). My walk back to the condo was shortened a bit by taking the walkway along the highway. Walking in the rain is something I think the people of Medellín are accustomed to, so I didn’t make a big stink about it; especially since it felt quite refreshing.

I arrived home to find the majority of the group to be either sleeping or out getting lunch as well, so I decided to throw on my bathing suit and hop in the jacuzzi 🙂

Can’t really beat the view

After my dip in the jacuzzi I decided to take a nap myself and rest up for our plans for dinner and our last night out. Since it was our last day in the city and we’d already done our nice dinner out we arranged for something a little more unique and authentic for our last dinner… One of the guys in our group has a family friend that has been living in Medellín for 10+ years. Through him we were able to arrange to have a professional chef come to our condo and cook a traditional Colombian dinner. She brought everything, literally, even her own cookware!

Dinner in Medellín Day 3: Traditional Colombian meal cooked in our condo

Alexa and her partner arrived around 4pm to begin preparing for the fabulous meal they had planned for us. When you’re cooking everything from scratch it’s important to prepare and take your time, but they were efficient and professional. Our group was 11 guys in total, all of which can put down some serious food; so Alexa had her hands full!

  •  Food:
    • Frijoles con salchicha (bean soup with sausage)
    • Carne asada
    • Carne asada con arroz (con fideos y verduras) y ensalada (carne asada with rice (noodles with sautéed veggies)
    • Patacones con hogado (fried plantains with spicy red sauce)

Night out in Medellín Day 3: Halloween Block Party in Parque Lleras

We spread dinner out over the course of 2 hours. We ate, chatted, mingled, drank and just had a genuine good time enjoying each others company and preparing for an eventful final night in Medellín.

The Medellín crew. From rear left to right: Sebastian, Dan, Dusty (the bachelor!), Danny, Steve (me). From front left to right: Mielad, Tyler, Cory and Sean.

We got good and saucy at the condo and around 11 p.m. we embarked out onto the packed and vibrant streets of Medellín. And boy oh boy were they packed! Many words come to mind when trying to describe Parque Lleras/Poblado on Halloween… chaos, disorder, even pandemonium! But one thing it is most of all is safe. The Paisas take Halloween very seriously and they love to dress up and celebrate.

This was the least packed street we ran across. Blurriness credited to the alcohol 🙂

All in all there’s roughly 10-15 blocks to roam and take in the festivities. We mostly walked with the crowds and observed. Peeled into a few bars and clubs for a drink and more observation. In my personal opinion it is most fun to buy a drink “to-go” and just walk the streets. There are street performers, impromptu costume contests and the occasional random act of surprise like this one…

In the US this entourage of “jihads” might get a few looks of disapproval. Not in Colombia!

These guys were great. They were actively interacting with the crowd and put on quite the show. They were also part of a bachelor party, all of which partook in the charade. Very creative.

These are some photos I snapped while meandering through the madness. As you can see the costumes are quite good and the people are friendly and more than willing to share and pose for a photo.