Lacking the Spanish in Medellin

20th July 2015

La Pinta had been a great place to stay in Bogota as my double room with en suite including breakfast had been incredibly comfortable and I actually had the room the Lonely Planet called the best one in the hostel!

With all the extras included, my bill for three nights came to £62!  Absolute bargain!

Next stop on the itinerary was Medellin. From 17 degrees to 27 – let’s get the ghostly white legs out to scare the locals!

After a very short, turbulent flight, over valleys and emerald green hills, warmth and sweet air hit me as I got into the taxi I’d ask my guesthouse to arrange.

The journey from the airport into town was stunningly beautiful – there are meadows with horses up in the hills, big ranch style houses, the mountainous road loops and curves downhill and uphill, passing people who looked darker and more indigenous than the Bogotans.

I’d arrived in the Aburra Valley, a central region of the Andes with Medellin nestled into its contours and its comunas (favelas) stretching up its hillsides like octopus tentacles.

My guesthouse, 61 Prado, is in the historical neighbourhood of Barrio Prado which is known for its architectural heritage.  Its got a really nice roof terrace, the room was large with a giant fan (required) and decent bathroom and the restaurant and bar area were clean and well serviced.

Wifi worked and I received a text message from my Spanish teacher asking if I’d arrived as her aunt and uncle would be visiting me in about an hour!  Yikes!!

They were so sweet!  The aunt spoke no English at all and the uncle was self-taught and quite brilliant.  It took me a while to understand him as his accent was very guttural – I’d liken it to the Cornish accent when a proper Kernow speaks to another Kernow and there’s no hope of understanding what either says.  My Spanish really wasn’t up to scratch.  Basic doesn’t even cut it!

We went to Pueblito Paisa, a government-made ‘local’ village which has, apparently, stunning views of the mountains.

However, this being spring, it was chucking it down! We couldn’t see any of the mountains so had a quick trip around the village (rubbish!) and then the uncle treated us to refreshments whilst we struggled to speak to one another, the universal language of nodding, smiling and laughing coming into play.

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Realising the downpour wasn’t going to end, and them being lovely hosts, they took me to a shopping mall. To be honest, this doesn’t really do anything for me but I understand how a nation that’s rebuilt itself over the past 20 years, especially in Medellin which is renowned for Pablo Escobar’s escapades, will be proud of the fact they have made so much progress.

Tiring of one another (in a good way) they dropped me off and I made my way to the restaurant to have a beer and lomo decerdo y durdano asado (flame grilled pork with fruit, mash and my first slices of avocado) for the princely sum of £3.50!

An early night was required as I would be seeing the uncle tomorrow for a trip up the cable car.

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