Sunday, March 23, 2008

Medellin, Columbia (continued)

The Fundacion Jardin Botanico Joaquim Antonio Uribe (what a mouthful), is a really beautiful park at the University stop on the subway. There was an exhibit of orchids under the wonderful designed wooden lattice “trees” at the entrance. We spent several hours walking around the park and met the first of many Columbians who came up to us to introduce themselves and ask if they could be of service.

These conversations were delightful – both older men and women, and children did this during our five days there. We did not find this to be true as much here in Cartagena. English speaking tourists are very rare in the interior and everyone was so happy to see us! The lovely lagoon had a pair of friendly turtles as well. Across from the park near the subway stop is a very attractive Science and Children’s Discovery museum.
The modern architecture in Medellin is marvelous. Their support for the arts extends to this medium for sure! We didn’t go inside but the outdoor activities looked really fun (that's Scott cooling off in the spray fountains outside with the museum behind.)
We splurged on a Steak House restaurant at 43B and 16th street in Poblado for a very late lunch. The outdoor porch was cool and the service attentive. We ate a plate with three big pieces of filet mignon with three different sauces, served with potatoes and arepas. They gave us a complimentary plate of meat balls as an appetizer. We were amazed though that no vegetable or salad made even a token appearance. This was $12 each. There was a nice salad bar but we had no room. We were carnivores for sure at that moment.
We spent quite a bit of time with the hotel desk manager and the concierge trying to plan a tour of the coffee road. (that's our hotel breakfast buffet on the left below)Finally it turned out there wasn’t a group tour available (that would have been $200 for three nights and four days in a bus, including as below with more sights, but no English speaking guide) and the individual one they put together was too expensive for us, $450 each. This would have included a private car with an English speaking guide, two nights in a Finca hotel with breakfast and dinner and three full days of touring. If you would like the cheaper tour (and would prefer not to drive yourself) our recommendation would be to find out from a tour guide or your hotel when the group tour is available and book it along with the hotel. Friends on “Tothill” went to Medellin and did some day trips around the city using Juan Carlos Mesa (310-462-1993) as a coordinator. He arranged English speaking guides/drivers.

The hotel helped us make reservations for a car at Hertz for $78 a day a day (incl. insurance) for the next three days. It was a comfortable 4 door car and the personnel couldn’t have been nicer there. One person spoke English and we were treated royally (comparatively to the states) – coffee served as you waited yet! We picked up the car at 8:30AM Wednesday morning just a few blocks from the hotel and returned it Friday night at 4PM at the airport. We could have made all the arrangements ourselves – do bargain however if you do. We got a cheaper rate by getting a “mechanico” gear shift instead of automatic. (continued in the next entry)

1 comment:

Peter said...

I go on line and whow! Who do I find? You guys with our other sailing buddies, roy and sue! Good to see you all having a good time. We are currently in Costa rica enjoying the cloud forest, museums and shops. Our boat is Colon. We will be heading back soon. Hope to see you soon.
Peter and Connie on justoo
PS, Wonderful website!