Medellín Part 2: El Peñol, Guatape & Bandeja Paisa

Saturday morning is upon us and we gather in the bedroom to squish together a plan for the day. Before you can say City of the Eternal Spring, CJ is up and off to explore the city. The Rest of us take a little longer to get ourselves ready. We get on the Metro train, and hop off at the Terminal de Transportes (Transport Terminal, obvs). Bus tickets bought we are set to head off to Guatape and visit El Peñol, a colonial style town outside Medellín with stunning man-made reservoirs and a huge rock formation that allows for spectacular views.

The bus ride is rocky and rough. Several times Rob, Kirsty and I find ourselves in mid air above our seats and we struggle to secretly munch on our breakfast empanadas. We arrive finally at The Rock (La Piedra, known as El Peñol). Not too tempted by a horseback ride up to the beginning of the steps, we hike on up the windy path enjoying the panoramic vistas below. At the foot of the impressive stone feature, we grab a fizzy drink and catch our breath before we embark on the 700 or so steps to the top.

We start to walk. Alex and I are a bit on edge due to the sheer height we’re at, and Jay seems to power up without a bother but the rest of us need a few rest stops. Three weeks of dance classes obviously haven’t done much to help my fitness. At the top the views are magnificent- we take a wee breathe before we gather ourselves to look down below us. We take some great photos, have a laugh, and swat lots of midges away from us as we try to maintain our camera-smiles.

At the bottom we hire a Chíva to take us over to Guatape. There we snap pics of the colourful colonial buildings, and finally settle on a place for lunch. Rob, Kirsty and I decide to share two Bandeja Paisas between us, and Alex attempts the feat of eating this 9000 calorie meal all to himself. Bandeja Paisa, which means Paisa Platter includes a fried egg, sausage, a Colombian version of black pudding, some kind of minced meat thing, patacon (fried plantain), pork cracklings, avocado, rice and beans. I have to say it was very nice (Guess which part I didn’t eat? Egg of course) but I am definitely glad I chose to share and not go for one by myself- it’s a lot of food for one person to handle!

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After our wee meal we got an ice cream and dandered along the promenade, before heading to get the bus home. While waiting this girl started waving at me. At first I thought she was waving at someone else, but then it transpired she wanted me to come over so I did, and despite finding it slightly strange, I had a lovely chat with her and her family. I have no idea why they wanted to talk to me- but it was nice to meet such friendly people!

Getting on the bus early to grab the best seats, we were slightly miffed when the driver then instructed us to move as seats were allocated. So not fair, we were there first! So on the way back we all tried to sleep, but it wasn’t very successful.

Back at the hostel we were over the moon to find that Patrick had arrived! Some of the lads headed out for a few cervezas, but Kirsty, Rob, CJ, Patrick and I stayed at the hostel. Kirsty drifted off fairly quickly (nice snoring) and the rest of us amused ourselves by playing childish games. I was shocked at how long it took for the guys to catch onto the rules of “Crossed or Uncrossed”, and playing “Sun, Moon and Smiley Face” was hilarious as Rob and I couldn’t believe that CJ and Patrick took so long to figure out the secret to passing the task.

As Kirsty was sleeping, we headed out to TV-Room in the hostel. Rob patted the cat for ages. I tried to stay away from the cat for ages. And eventually it was time to go up the wooden hill.

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