We found the tourists

By Colin McFadden
This post is part of a series called Colombia 2017
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Our last day in Bogotá! We woke up early to hit the Museo del Oro before leaving the city. The museum opens an hour earlier than some of the others, a good enough reason as any to visit. That and it reportedly had an excellent exhibit about ancient metallurgy. We arrived a few minutes before the museum opened so I grabbed a Tinto (small instant coffee) from a small cart. As we entered the museum we met a fellow American who was also headed to Medellín later in the day.

Kat spent most of the time in the first gallery learning about different alloys and techniques for working precious metals. I was fascinated by the section on how ancient metalsmiths repaired broken gold ornaments. And of course the rest of the museum had rooms and rooms full of gold objects that were stunningly lit.

Having exchanged contact info with our new American friend, we grabbed a few more street snacks en route back to the apartment. We were decidedly unenthusiastic about leaving. We have grown rather attached to our lovely apartment and neighborhood.

Regardless, we headed to the airport for the trip to Medellín.  The airport and flight were pleasantly uneventful. As we descended into Medellín however, we broke through some clouds and the green mountains below came sharply into focus. The moment was magical.

The Medellín airport is a good distance from the city itself.  We met an Uber and settled in for the twisty drive through the mountains.  Immediately, you can sense the wealth of Medellín – the well manicured gardens hiding mountain estates, and the stream of fancy cars on the road.

We’re staying in El Poblado, the upscale trendy neighborhood.  We checked into our Airbnb – gorgeous, but nothing can compare with our Bogotá space – and then headed out in search of a late lunch.

A few blocks from us is the commercial center of El Poblado, full of botiques and cafes and hipster restaurants.  Luckily, there are still a few small stalls selling arepas and empenadas as well.  It’s quite a change from Bogotá.  It was also immediately clear that this neighborhood is the hotbed for tourism.  There are numerous hostels, and for the first time we saw an large assortment of American and European faces in the crowd.

Tonight was the important soccer match between Colombia and Peru, to determine whether Colombia goes to the World Cup in 2018.  The whole neighborhood was preparing, with balloons and outdoor monitors.  The game kicked off at 6:30, and we settled in on a set of steps in Parque lleras, facing a large outdoor monitor.  It was a festive, upbeat atmosphere. We were setting next to a whole family in Peru gear, and yet there was no hostility.

Eventually, the game ended in a tie.  Which, thanks to rules that we don’t entirely understand, was a good thing, and means Colombia will be going to the World Cup in 2018.  Woo!  As we turned to leave the park, we ran into Chad from Bogotá.  Quite a small world!

Tomorrow, we’ll start exploring Medellín for real.

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