“Ya llegamos!” The excitement of the small child filled the cable car as it approached the final station. “We’re arriving! We’re arriving at the bike!”
His excitement was easy to understand, he was four years old and on a cable car. But I didn’t understand the bike reference until his mother pointed out the sticker by the door, advertising the four means of transport included in Medellin’s public transit network: bus, metro, cable car, and bike. “We’ve already been on the bus, the metro and the cable car,” she explained. “Now he thinks we’ve just got the bike to go.”
I love moments like these, brief shared experiences with local people living their normal lives. It might not seem important or life-changing, but it’s one of my favourite things about travel.
In fact, we’ve spent a lot of time over the last two weeks sharing experiences with local people living their normal lives: we’ve been working full-time in a coworking space in Medellin, Colombia. The first one we tried had a great atmosphere but bad internet, so we moved across town to Epicentro. Although their coworking spaces were full, spots were found for us in their events area, and we spent far, far too much time there. Craig was working on a big web development project, and I was dividing my time between doing customer service for Performance Foundry and working on Indie Travel Podcast.
Our first week involved eleven-hour days at Epicentro, followed by arepas at our favourite restaurant and then collapsing into bed quite late at night. Over the weekend, we moved from the Laureles district to El Poblado, mostly to be closer to the office, but also because our guesthouse in Laureles wasn’t ideal. While I enjoyed most of my conversations with the old lady who was the guesthouse host, she was a little overbearing at times — I was relieved to move into a hostel where nobody was going to knock on my door!
On Sunday, Craig was still tied to his computer, but I headed out hiking with Estefania from Epicentro and her boyfriend Andrés. Exploring the mountains around Envigado was excellent, as was the lunch of bandeja paisa we had afterwards, and the jugo de lulo that followed. I’m a big fan of trying new things while travelling, and Colombia is full of interesting fruits to try — lulo is just one of them.
Our second week in Medellin was a little more chilled, and we managed to leave work early and explore a little of the city. Notably, on Thursday we headed to Tres Cordilleras microbrewery with our German friend Momo (who’s living in the city temporarily) and his friend Marius. The beers were great and Craig walked away from the mini-tour of the brewery with more stickers for his laptop. He’s starting to run out of space!
Our flight on Saturday (to Cartagena, where we are now) wasn’t until 5:30pm, so we used the morning to see a little more of Medellin. The cable car gave us great views across town, and we spent some time checking out the botanic gardens and Plaza Botero. I felt a little less than safe when a stranger told me to put away my phone as people would kill me for it (it’s a three-year-old iPhone), but apart from that we had a great day. We were sad to leave Medellin, but knew a new adventure awaited in Cartagena — and just like the kid on the cable car, I almost couldn’t wait to arrive.
Have you been to Colombia, or do you want to go? What should we see while we are here? Leave a comment below.