Flying High Over Medellin

December 18, 2016

We wake up well rested and look forward to another day in Medellin. While researching things to do in Medellin, we kept coming across Paragliding in San Felix but weren’t sure if we would have enough time to fit this in. We bring it up to the rest of the group and everyone seems pretty excited to do some paragliding. We quickly book tickets and head to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. On the way to San Felix, we stop at Pueblito Paisa which is a little village that simulates life in colonial Colombia. Pueblito Paisa has some small shops and is a small village with colored doors and balconies; however, its real charm is the 360 views of Medellin that it offers. We spend some time shopping and eating fresh fruit. Then make our way over to one of the many view points. We snap a lot of pictures and enjoy the beautiful views of Medellin.

We grab Ubers and head over to San Felix to do some paragliding. Rishabh and I (this is Sanchit) take the 2nd Uber and make our way to San Felix through possibly the sketchiest parts of Medellin. Though we pass through some rundown areas of Medellin, we certainly enjoy being closer to how people live their day to day lives. Our Uber drive laughs in frustration when he finds out that there is a highway all the way to San Felix from Medellin. Again we are greeted with amazing views of Medellin as we rise even higher up. We quickly get paragliding 101 lessons and head over to the jump site, which actually happens to be in the neighboring city of Bello. We are harnessed by our tandem pilots and off we go one by one. The next 15-20 minutes are simply breathtaking. One truly experiences a bird eye view of the vast city and with no one around, you simply feel relaxed and at peace. It would be safe to say that paragliding will certainly be one of the top activities of our trip.

After safely landing back, we start walking towards a bus stop nearby for a bus back to the city. On our way, we notice some street vendors selling local treats. We try few things but our favorite are the “Obleas”.  Oblea is essentially a wafer sandwich filled with arequipe (similar to caramel and prepared by heating milk), jams, and cheese. Yes, it sounds bizarre but trust me it makes for a great dessert.

After devouring 3-4 obleas, we catch the bus and nap on the 45 minute ride back to the city. The bus drops us at the main bus station and we decide to grab a bite before heading to our next destination. While daddy, mummy, and Akshita opt for a safe option (Subway sandwiches), Rishabh, Suhail and I are feeling a bit adventurous. We get all sorts of meat (mostly chicken) dishes and while the food is sub-par, Suhail’s dish makes for a good story. After braving through few bites of his dish, Suhail finally looks at Rishabh and I, and starts flaunting about his dish. We each try a bite and don’t quite understand the hype. Turns out Suhail is just being sarcastic and hates his dish. We quickly do a Google search and learn that Suhail had ordered “Consomme” which is a clear soup made using vegetables and chicken parts including legs, neck, heart, and liver.

After an interesting late lunch, we start walking towards Parque Norte, an amusement park in Medellin. The park is decorated every year for a Christmas lights display that is known as El Alumbrado. The display makes for a grand spectacle that is visited by upwards of 4 million people every year. Christmas is no joke in Colombia! We learned that very quickly once we arrived in Colombia.

After spending some time in Parque Norte, we make a quick pit stop at Parque de las Luces before heading out for dinner. During the Pablo Escobar era, tourists would never have dared to go to this area as one of the nearby buildings served as the drug kingpin’s headquarter. Today, the plaza is part of a larger transformation project in Medellin, to turn the unfortunate past into something good. The newly renovated plaza contains 300 light poles that are lit up at night.

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Next, we grab dinner at the Taco Place close to our hotel (btw we all agreed that it was better than Chipotle) and finish it off with some ice-cream from the next door Burger King (yes we are classy). While daddy and mummy head back to the hotel, the 4 of us walk over to Parque El Poblado, a popular outdoor meeting area amongst locals. We enjoy few beers, talk about Colombia – its past and its present, and cap it off with the most AMAZING empanadas I have ever had. I am not sure if it was the alcohol but those were some pretty darn amazing empanadas! We Uber it back to the hotel and call it a night in preparation for our early morning flight to Cartagena!

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