An excellent few days in Medellin – the city of eternal spring.
The hotel I initially stayed in was fine- it boasted such amenities as tv, hot water,and limited daylight. (The former lacking the DirecTV so apparently essential in rural areas- available channels were news, various apparently endless telenovelas, the title screen for a dvd of ‘the lovely bones’ .. and one channel that was just constant porn. Fortunately I’m not here for the telly.)
Downtown Medellin is busy and loud – full of light and life, and every sort of commerce. Latterly, I was very kindly put up by Nydia, who also had good advice as to what to go and see.

More culturally nourishing than telenovelas (I established a while ago that slickly produced, terribly acted melodrama actually wasn’t helping my spanish) was The Museo de Antioquia – with it’s large collection of (among other things) Botero sculpture, paintings, and sketches. There is an amazing Fredy Alzate painting which caught my eye- I can’t find a photo of it though.

Not far from there, there are many bike shops- the first one I tried reckoned it would take two days .. if they could do it at all. (My rear spokes are a slightly eccentric length, and i didn’t have my spares with me) Just outside were lots of improvised workshops on the pavement – a new spoke was improvised from a longer one, fitted, and my wheel expertly trued (with very basic equipment) all for 3000 pesos. (~£1) – and all very quickly. Medellin is probably one of the wealthiest towns I’ve visited here, but there is very much a culture of repair rather than replace – everywhere there are small businesses collectively offering to fix just about anything.

Museo de Arte Moderno was also worth a look- less impressive in scale, but interesting nonetheless.

The Biblioteca España is in Santo Domingo Savio- a neighbourhood located some distance up the hill towards the north of Medellin. Impressive in vision and view, the library seems to be a powerful and popular means of bringing education to the community surrounding it. The Metrocable is the method of choice for getting there, passing sometimes closely over the densely packed houses that sprawl up the hillside.
..it was in the way up that I met Andreas, a fellow two-wheeled tourist from Switzerland (though his are motorised). Together we walked most of the way back down the hill – while europeans were clearly an oddity there, everyone we passed was pretty friendly, and untroubled by blue-eyed camera-toting interlopers.

And so southward- the next leg takes me to Cali, some 425km away. Cali is a little lower than Medellin, and there is certain amount of relief between here and there (as ever, a steep climb to begin), but nothing too terrifying. I hope.

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