The weekend starting 28th July was unforgettable. On the Friday, we went to a reggaeton concert in the stadium fifteen-minute walk from our house. The concert was the inaugural event for the start of la Feria de las Flores (the biggest festival of the year in Medellín). Jowell y Randy, a reggaeton act, was headlining. However, there were all sorts of music leading up to them, from salsa to bachata and the atmosphere was intensely Latin.
Diego, Dario, Julian and Andrés (two mexicans, a catalan and a colombian who I was living with at the time) all got lost before we even made it to the concert. We had drunk a lot of Aguardiente, Colombia’s national anise-flavoured liquor, before leaving the house and the four, were already quite merry. We left the stadium after Jowell and Randy told us for what seemed like the billionth time that it was time to go. I asked my Chilean friend Yanina if this was normal at Latin concerts and she said that it was to hype the crowd up. In my British opinion, it is acceptable to say you are going twice. Once when the act ends and then again after the encore; any more than that is just a bit too much.
At 6.45 the following morning I forced myself to wake up in order to go on a tour of some of Medellín’s iconic locations: el parque de los pies descalzos, un pueblito paisa, la plaza botero y el parque de los deseos.
- El parque de los pies descalzos (the barefoot park) is a park where you walk around and supposedly experience the nature through your feet rather than through your eyes. There were areas with sand, a copse with bark flooring (which hurt considerably), and a fountain.
- The pueblito paisa (a small colonian town) in Medellín is a small square filled with beautiful buildings with a fountain at the centre. Up some stairs is a viewpoint from which you can see the entire city and where people go to have picnics, exercise or walk their dogs. At night you are surrounded by the Medellín skyline and whichever way you look, the view is breathtaking
- The plaza botero is probably one of the most known locations due to the huge disproportioned sculptures made by the country’s favourite artist.
- El parque de los deseos was less of a park and more of beautiful miniature shopping centre, with a live jazz band playing on one side of the building and a stage being set up for a concert on the other. People were sat around on bean bags, reading or just relaxing.
It was an amazing experience and one which I would highly recommend to anyone who is in Medellín for a limited time. The tour gives you a good sense of the city’s innovative spirit and its desire to put its bloody history behind it.
In the evening, we went to a club in el Poblado, the area of Medellín known for its’ nightlife. The music was heavily favoured towards reggaetón but I was meeting and speaking with so many people that the music was not at the forefront of my thoughts. The Colombian people really are some of the most welcoming people I have met in my life, they all seem to want to give you a great impression of their country.
Sunday was very relaxing and I thought I was coming down with something. Harvey (a friend and fellow Southampton student) and some of his friends were planning on going to Cartagena the following weekend and I was weighing up the pros and cons of going with them. However, if I was going to go, I would need to buy my plane tickets sooner rather than later because the prices were quickly starting to rise.
That said, I have the feeling I may be contracting the toxic Latin attitude of “it can wait until tomorrow”…