Our Real City Downtown Walking Tour in Medellin gave us an interesting and informative overview of the city and its history. The tour lasted about 3 hours.
Medellin has a proud history and is the capital of the Antioquia Department (province). This northwest part of Colombia including the departments of Antioquia, Risaralda and Quindío and a part of the Andes, forms the Paisa region.
It is reputed that the people of this region the “paisas”, are prouder to be “paisas than Colombians.
Historians believe that many of Medellín’s original inhabitants were Spanish Jews fleeing the Spanish inquisition.
Downtown Walking Tour in Medellin
We took the Metro (just so easy!) from Estadio station which was a short walk from our AirBnB. A few stops to San Antonio and then on Metro Line A (La Estrella) to the first station – Alpujarra.
The weather was perfect … overcast and warm. The walking tour is taken at an leisurely pace with many stops for stories and a short break for a lunch snack – ours was a deliciously greasy empanada … no “pollo” (chicken) so we settled for “carne” (beef).
Met at the station by our guide for the day Juliana who was vibrant and expressive storyteller. Many of the areas we visited had until a few years ago been “no go” areas. And although some of these still exist today they have been massively shrunk. These changes are thanks to past mayors who had some vision and were committed to improving the lives of the citizens.
On our Downtown Walking Tour of Medellin, we visited:
- The old Railway Station
- Alpujarra administrative centre
- Square of lights
- Vasquez and Carro buildings
- Palacio Nacional
- Veracruz Church
- Botero Square
- Murals and Berrio park
- Bolivar Park
- Metropolitan Cathedral
- San Antonio Park
Finishing at San Antonio Park was a moving experience. In a relatively deserted park sitting next to each other are two of Botero’s sculptures. The one disfigured and damaged and the other one whole. The first one was the site of a bomb that exploded during concert in 1995 which was attended by many young people. 23 people were killed and many hundreds injured. The “Wounded Bird” sculpture remains as a symbol of the not to be forgotten past and the new one “The Bird of Peace” represents a hope for the future.
A number of groups were suspected of placing the bomb but to date the real culprit remains a mystery.
Across the park is the San Antonio Metro station and a final short ride back to Estadio Metro Station.
Travelling on the Metro:
If your Spanish is not too good then I recommend you refer to the map (take a photograph) and count the stations to your planned stop and then you don’t have to be concerned about trying to understand the announcements.