The warmest place on the bus to Medellin is the bathroom. While I’d like to remain inside for a few minutes to warm up, the swaying is rendering me black and blue. I return to the icebox.
The Lonely Planet Guide to Colombia had warned the Lezovich and Hufford families: “Colombian bus drivers turn the air-con down to arctic temperatures. Wear a sweater, a beanie and gloves, or better yet, bring a blanket.” I had foolishly packed lightly and spent the night freezing in shorts and a sweatshirt.
The Hufford family arrived in Cartagena three days ago after leaving their catamaran Eclipse at a secure marina in Santa Marta. We showed them the sights of our adopted city, and now we’re making our first trip inland together. Most Colombians say that Medellin (pronounced med-e-jean, med-e-heen or med-e-yeen) is the most beautiful city in all Colombia. It’s no longer the murder capital of the world, as it was known in the 1980s. The cocaine business moved to the hinterlands following the death of Pablo Escobar in 1993, and Medellin now is one of the safest cities in Latin America, according to the Lonely Planet Guide.
Our 12-hour bus ride ended around noon and we easily picked up the Medellin Metro (75 cents per ticket) at the bus station. After renting three rooms downtown at Hotel Conquistadores ($27US per night), we found some lunch and strolled around. We visited the Museum of Antioquia, home to 92 sculptures, paintings and drawings by Fernando Botero, the city’s favorite native son. He’s known worldwide for his voluminous figures of men, women, children and animals. Another 20 sculptures stand in the Plazoleta de los Esculturas just outside the museum.
From our brief excursion today, we’re very excited to be in the City of Eternal Spring.