Guatape and “The Rock”

La Piedra Del Penol, Spanish for “The Rock of Guatape”!  The rock shoots 2,135 meters or just over 7,000 feet, straight out of the earth.  The elevation here is 2,000 feet higher than Medellin.IMG_2355

The drive from Medellin is over an hour out of the valley and over the mountains through beautiful countryside dripping with green.  The fincas, or small farms, dot the landscape of rich Colombian soil that grows fruit, vegetables and flowers all year long in this land of “eternal spring”.

In the distance you begin to notice the rock, a mountain jetting from the earth that our guides tell us is four times as larger under the surface.  It is quite beautiful.

Our plan, like many, is to climb the rock’s 659 steps to the top.  The man made steps are stitched into a crevice of the rock and go straight to the top.  The hike is a switch back of cement stairs that climb to the top of the rock. The altitude and steepness of the climb get the heart pumping and the head light.  The view is spectacular with waters in the distance as far as the eyes can see.

We were driven and guided by Juan Camilo and Esteban of All Access Colombia.  They are great guys that will take good care of you from start to finish.  Juan Camilo speaks perfect english and Spanish and when we told him…”Somos estudiantes de Espanol qui en Medellin y en Mexico.  Necesitamos practicar por favor.”  The Spanish flew inside the car as they explained Colombian culture and  told us stories of friends and co workers.  It was fantastic and as we listened we understood.  We are getting this Spanish language.  We are hearing the words and understanding.  I know we will speak well soon!  I know because now when I can’t sleep instead of counting sheep I’m conjugating verbs and thinking in Spanish. 

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Medellin-Steps-The Metro and the Pick Pocket

In Medellin we walk!  No cars, no taxi just walk and the metro to get us in and out of our longer walks.  We set our step goal at 12,000 steps per day which is about 5 miles.  What a great work out at any altitude.  Especially this one.  Medellin sits at 1,495 meters which is just under 5,000 feet.  We just stride on by the honking, noise of the motorcycles, trucks and taxis.  Oh, and by the way. Do NOT expect them to stop for you while crossing in a crosswalk.  Caroline jokes that she hears them step on the gas as we cross the streets.

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We arrived to live in Medellin in mid July for 5 weeks.  Our first seven months in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico were fantastic but we set out on this journey to live in three or four places a year.  We are living here in Medellin and learning here.  We meet people, talk to people and learn the culture as best we can.  The city is clean and fresh especially after a hard rain.  We are feeling at home and relaxed. 

Photo Jun 22, 3 16 16 PM
Medellin, Colombia

We are in school in Medellin at Total Spanish and we are learning new verbs and phrases different from Mexican Spanish.  Both work together well and we continue to learn.   Our teachers are kind and patient.

The barrios are incredible! Including Comuna 13 which was once considered the most dangerous neighborhood in Latin America.  We learned that Hip Hop Art continues to be credited with bringing the barrio back from the brink of crime and drugs.  We met the artists and saw the amazing spray paint art that changed a neighborhood. 

July is when the Fieria de las Flores takes place.  A festival of flowers that fills Medellin with flowers, people of course, music and food.  The Orchid competition and display at the botanical gardens is world class. 

Parque Arvie is an ecological and archeological park in Medellin that sits high above the valley.  Recently a gondola  like tram was built to bring people in to the city from the hillsides and to deliver people to the beautiful park above the city.  Check out the video of our trip down.  Just like a ski lift at your favorite ski hill.  Mine is Snowbird!

Photo Aug 13, 12 04 43 PM

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