Late nights and early mornings are becoming a thing but 6 hours in a hostel room without aircon is definitely enough… Plus brunch at our local hero, Al Alma is enough to get us through any day on zero sleep. Eggs Benedict and an Americano and we’re ready to roll – I won’t say anymore about Al Alma as I dedicated a whole paragraph to this place’s breakfast brilliance in my last entry and now the whole of Pit Stop Hostel is heading there for brekky and I’m starting to think Tiplr should become a worldwide mission to find the best brunch… Yep, we deserve commission from this place!
Anyway, today was our last chance to nail Medellin with our flight to Cartagena tomorrow, and we did. First, we took the Cable Car up the sides of the valley, which is actually part of Medellin’s famed metro and the reason the Wall Street Journal voted the city the most innovative and you can see exactly why. OK, so their metro has one line which in comparison to London Underground is minuscule, but for a country girl like me, a Cable Car metro-station is a pretty cool way to get home from work, and for the locals who live in Favelas up the mountainside, a luxurious way to transport themselves from the slums to the city centre. The view is fairly sweet too! Since the creation of the cable, Favela roofs have been painted with various exotic animals to please viewers from above in the overhead cars. In fact, this journey is the best and only safe way to view the tougher side of city life here in Medellin, a city which from the centre, appears wealthy and modern, but on climbing the hillside, still exhibits gang life, with walls controlled by Favela owners. I’d have loved to jump out and explore the colourful street food stalls and townships blasting reggaeton music, but the reality is that for new tourists like us, it’s just not safe.
Later though, we did get to mix with the locals! Seeing as I’ve never even been to a football match in England and haven’t a clue about the game, I figured it would be a great idea to head to my first soccer match in Medellin! In South America team rivalry gets so intense that fans from the opposing team aren’t allowed to attend football matches, i.e. You can only see your team play at home, which is bizarre but actually makes the atmosphere in the stadium much more one of unity than hooliganism and you don’t have to worry about abuse from the other side – ideal! Despite sticking out like sore thumbs as non-owners of bright green Atletico Nacional shirts, the locals adored our enthusiasm for their team and in an intense second half against the backdrop of the sunset in the Medellin valley, our team won. Plus, 90 minutes later and plenty of non stop singing, we were pro’s at the Olé chant!
Tiplr Tip of the day: go to a football match in Medellin, it’s not only wild but a great way to mix with the locals in their own environment, enjoying a sport that Colombians believe is in their blood…just make sure you buy a jersey beforehand!
After all that chanting, it was, yes you guessed it, time to find a great eat! What we’re saving by staying in hostels is definitely being spent on food discovery but this is just how we like it. We kept hearing fellow travellers tell us that Colombian food wasn’t great, so are on a mission to find the best ones! We thus decided on doing so by properly toasting our trip Saturday night style at a top rated restaurant called Barcal. We pushed the boat out with 3 courses and vino bianco and let’s just say, in Colombia, you pay half of what you would in the UK or the States for an equally delicious meal. I’m talking amuse buche and silver service, for less than 35 USD each. I won’t go into details but once you see these cookies and cream and salted caramel chocolate bombs, you’ll be on the next flight!
Photo Credits: Author’s own