Matt on metro cable Medellin

The Metro-Cable of Medellin

Friday September 20, 2013

metro-cable Medellin

As much as we would have liked to stay in Bogota a little longer, explore the city more, and most of all, go out with Nicholas and Diana again, we decided that five days there was enough and if we didn’t start moving toward Medellin, we might never get there. We had spent one more full day on a bus, from around 9:00 am to 8:00 at night, but this time I planned ahead. I went with the deluxe class that had personal tv screens for each person, and wireless internet access whenever the bus was passing through an area that celluar access was available. I consider the $10 extra for the both of us well worth the upgrade.

After stepping of the bus in Medellin we were pleasantly surprised in two ways. One was that the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ was true to it’s name. Even at night the air was warm with the promise that I might have the chance to slip into shorts and a t-shirt once more on this journey. The other pleasant surprise, is that at a concession stand they were selling Mt. Dew. MT. DEW!!! We had been searching for this ever since we’d left the States, and not one country we had been to stocked it in any shelves, restaurants, or soda dispensers. It’s a good thing we have our priorities straight as we travel the world.

With five full days to spend here in Medellin before our plane departs on the 25th, there is only one sight to see here that’s kind of an absolute must. It’s not the tour of Pablo Escobar’s home, although that’s a pretty popular one too. No, we were on a mission to find and ride the cable cars. These are a gondola lift system with the purpose of reaching some of the underdeveloped suburban areas of the city. They extend far into the hills of Medellin and allow cheap sources of travel to the more impoverished citizens of the city. There are multiple lines of the cable cars, and we obviously chose the tourist one.

Again, we were only going on basic knowledge that we found online that gave directions of taking the metro to a certain line, and riding it to the top to a place called Arvi for some a nice spot to wander around. Not wanting to bother with cab drivers again, we made a list of very detailed instructions on a piece of paper getting ourselves from the hostel to the metro, and to the stop where we could board the cable cars. We surprisingly managed to do both just fine and before we knew it we were stepping into a cable car with a few others, on our way up the hill.

The views were amazing, and although I wanted to refrain from looking like the eager tourist between the other locals we were sandwiched in between, I couldn’t help myself. The camera was out and I was snapping away, trying not to plaster myself against all four windows while trying to get the best views.

Matt on metro cable Medellin

view from metro-cable Medellin

This happened to be a double line gondola and there was a stop about 2/3rds of the way up the hill/mountain where we had to disembark from one cable car, pay another fee, and ride the other one to Arvi.  We really had no idea about anywhere we were going, we just assumed it would be a quaint little town at the top of the hill with great lookouts plus little shops and restaurants.  In the heat of Medellin I had finally pulled a sundress back out of my bag and was looking forward to a nice afternoon of strolling around in the sun.  But as we got closer to the very top of the hill, there was no end for the cable car in sight.

Instead we got to the top, and then continued on back through a now flat surface.  With views still looking down upon the city there were many fields with lush green rows of produce sitting on top of a soil rich earth.  As the car continued back the landscape turned to forests of pine and deciduous trees.  Did we just get transported back to Michigan?  It almost looked like we had, with the exception of mountains looming in the background.

crops growing over Medellin

cable car heading to Arvi.

 Finally getting dropped off at our destination, we wandered outside into the fresh air only to find that the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees.  Plus, there were no cobblestone streets filled with shops and restaurants.  No, we had just been carried to a type of National Park.  Um, not quite what we had in mind for the day, but sure, let’s see what they’ve got.

entering Arvi Park, Medellin

 We were shortly greeted by a park guide, who only spoke Spanish, but with the help of a translator we found that they gave free tours of the park and there was a young English speaking girl just about to start.  It ended up only being the two of us and her, and with my sundress and flip flops on, I followed the two into the brush.

Throughout the tour, our guide did her best to explain the different plants and trees surrounding us, even though she wasn’t absolutely fluent in English yet.  She did rather well though, and at times it became a game to try and figure out the English word she was trying to translate to us.  Kind of like ‘Taboo: Nature Version’.

orchid in Arvi Park

road through Arvi Park

 I swear I’m back in Michigan..

horses through Arvi Park Medellin

 Oh look, she has on a sundress and sandals too.

Trails through Arvi Park Medellin

 Overall the tour was nice, but I think I would have enjoyed it more had I been wearing the appropriate attire.  Near the end all I wanted to do was get back into the sun because I was shivering and covered in goosebumps.  We thanked our guide, and went to find food at a little restaurant about a half mile down the hill from the cable cars.  Time to add a new beer to my World Beer Tour.  I think I’ll try the Aguila today.

lunch outside Arvi Park Medellin