After a month at home it was finally time to board a plane again and this time en route to Medellín, Colombia. This was my second time in the country having been to Cali a year earlier. People I spoke to of all ages and financial status raved about Medellin because of the beautiful green hilly landscape that surrounds the city, the perfect spring weather all year around, and regardless if you are on a tight budget or ready to splurge there is so much to do in this beautiful city that is within your means. Some sites even rank Medellin as the best city to work remote in South America.
Back when I booked the flight while in Barcelona the cheapest option was the JetBlue flight from Miami International Airport to Jose Maria Cordova international airport located on the outskirts of Medellin. In case you do not know, because I did not know either, Jose Maria was a decisive general in the battle for independence from Spain in the early 19th century.
By the way this JetBlue flight only occurs once a day so if you miss or forget something like my brother did a few weeks later (Covid-19 card), you have to wait till the next day.
My friend and I arrived at the destination airport and put ourselves in the back of this ginormous line at immigration and again I really wished there was a ‘citizen of the world’ passport that could just let you skip immigration lines when going abroad or even when going into the US because those lines be long too.
Ninety minutes later we got through immigration and called an Uber. The ride was about 50 minutes and cost about $20. At this point though the frustration of waiting in line for so long dissipated and the renewed excitement to be here increased. We were hungry though, but that could wait. It was a very nice ride seeing the landscape that is so different from anything I had seen before and certainly that of south Florida. Hills and mountains everywhere you look covered in vibrant green that looks like it has been cut uniformly throughout the region.
The drover told us the first part of town we were passing is the famous El Poblado neighborhood. At the beginning of my AirBnB search I was looking at this area because this is supposedly the nicest area of Medellin and also where most of the expats and tourists stay. In the end I decided to for a place in Laureles which is also a nice area and next to the Girardot stadium where the two first division Medellin soccer teams play and also where they have events such as concerts. I chose the the place in Laureles because it was cheaper, has three bedrooms so if friends or my brother wanted to come they could have their own room, and because the Girardot sports complex which is just a few minutes walk away has a track and swimming pool which is perfect for my triathlon training.
I paid $999.18 for the month which to me sounded like a good deal knowing what a three bedroom apartment would cost in Miami.
My first impression of the apartment was the nice view out the balcony since I was on the 15th floor, but my second impression was that the apartment is very small despite there being three bedrooms. For my needs though it was sufficient.
We were very hungry so a few minutes after entering the apartment we walked right out and towards where there seemed to be restaurants. We quickly found one and ordered a few things, but most importantly something everyone has to get if you are in the land of the paisas which is what the people that are from Medellin are called. The dish is called ‘la bandeja paisa’ or the ‘paisa tray’ in English. It contains chicharron (fried pork), chorizo, egg, beans, a little arepa, salad, plantain, avocado, and this one also had yuca.
In Miami I would have never been able to sit outside in July with a long sleeve, but here in Medellin it is possible. For the most part it is not too hot and not cold and AC is not even needed to sleep at night. It is known as the city of eternal spring and from day one I was loving it.
In the next blog I will discuss the search and discovery of where I could continue training for my first triathlon towards the end of the following month in August.