Bucket List #13: Medellín

I want to first begin this post by saying that I’m aware of how dangerous Medellín once was. It’s pretty clear that this city has made massive improvements in terms of crime, and the homicide rate has dropped lower than some popular cities in the States that I would have no problem visiting. As I researched how practical a trip to Medellín would be, I learned that most of the crime is consolidated to a specific area of the city (as is with most big cities), and it typically happens with people that are already caught up in some sort of dangerous criminal activity beforehand. I’m sure the stigma of how dangerous Medellín once was may take a very, very long time to escape the minds of foreigners, but after spending quite some time on the data behind the crime in this city, I would feel safe enough to go! I know it’s a little bit of a downer to start the post with, but I felt it necessary to talk about. I, as an American, know that the days of the Medellín Cartel are what typically come to mind first when the city is mentioned, so this is an important topic to address. Now, for the fun part, let’s talk about the 3 things I want to do most on a trip to Medellín!

First: The Museum of Antioquia

You already knew there would be a museum included, didn’t you? Since it’s obligatory for me to go to one in our destinations, this is my choice! This museum includes several works of art from famous artist and native of Medellín, Fernando Botero, including his painting, “The Death of Pablo Escobar,” and several statues that are located on the same plaza as the museum. I’m a sucker for amazing art, and this will be no exception 🙂

Next: Tour of Comuna 13.

Now, I mentioned before that Medellín has become a much safer city, and it certainly has. Comuna 13 was named the most dangerous neighborhood in Medellín while the city was the most dangerous city in the world. With the recency of this, it would be very difficult for me to take our little one with us on this adventure, but I think that this would be awesome for a couple different reasons. 1) It’s a huge part of the history of Medellín, have been controlled by Pablo Escobar, and being so dangerous that, at one point, there was a 6 p.m. curfew to try to control some of the violence. Now, there are guided tours that take you through the streets of the Comuna, and this is where it takes a turn for good. This Comuna, while still having its problems, is celebrated for its enormous turnaround from being invested with homicides and drug-trafficking to having colorful murals on building walls, and having kids playing on the vibrant streets during the day time. It’s also home to a great network of open-air escalators, which have helped curb the crime by giving the comuna better access to the rest of the city, and the polic better access to the comuna. I’m excited to see this incredible turnaround!

Last: Barefoot Park

How cool is this? A park in Medellín that was built in a zen-like style that encourages children and parents to run around, play, relax, all while doing so without their shoes! I wouldn’t have thought it would be a big deal, but this is one of the top rated tourist attractions in Medellín, so I’m looking forward to this! I wonder if they have some sort of yoga class that we could do in the park like I see at home?

Alright, alright alright….my favorite part! Food!!! Here are 3 dishes I MUST try while in Medellín!

  1. Bandeja Paisa
    • Everything I’ve read says that this is the most traditional dish in the Antioquia region of the country, and it sounds wonderful! It’s English translation is “Paisa Platter,” which includes white rice, red beans, carne asada, chorizo, black pudding, fried egg, plantain, arepa, avocado, and one of my favorites, chicharrónes! I usually end a dish like this by saying, “I’ll take 3!” but with how robust this platter is, I think 1 will do the trick 🙂
  2. Ajiaco
    • This was another dish I found was pretty universal when looking up traditional dishes in Medellín. This is a hearty soup made with chicken, potatoes, and corn, and is served with a plate of rice, avocado, plantain, additional cream (I would assume to put in the soup), and some places added a side of capers. For this dish, I can definitely say I’ll need more than one!
  3. Obleas
    • We always have to have dessert, right? Obleas are a simple but amazing street sweet, consisting of two wafers with whatever filling one would want, but the most popular in this region would be arequipe (aka dulche de leche). I’m confident that we would be having these after every single meal!

Also, we would be drinking every ounce of coffee we can get our hands on! Outside of Jamaican blue mountain coffee, we both think that Columbian coffee is the best choice, so you better believe we’ll be sucking down all the coffee in sight!

That’s all I have for Medellín, my friends! You all are a pleasure to write for 🙂 Have a great rest of your day/night!