Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Monday 2nd Jan - Guatapé

(7am, 3rd Jan) On my second day in Medellín, I went on an excursion and it was the most amazing day!

The shower in the hotel in Medellín. Now, that I can understand! See the post "A party but not for me".

What does one do when one has only 3 days in a location? Answer: take an excursion! 

The tour was advertised at 69 mils which was amazingly cheap. It included breakfast, lunch, many hours travelling, a boat trip. Our guide was called John but he was from Medellín. I didn't want to say anything to him about the price but I thought that maybe the city of Medellín was subsidising the tours. The coach collected us at the hotel -  ' when I say "us", there was a young Dutch girl who was also from my hotel, tall. She was brilliant company, joking with John a lot of the time. Our hotel was the last stop and there were already about 25 people in the coach. So very soon we were climbing out of the city up one of the mountains which surround the city. I was getting anxious as the temperature dropped because I had not bought a jacket. We went up to 2000m but then thankfully stated the descent down the other side. After an hour we passed the other airport at Rio Negro that I mentioned, from where I had accidentally booked my return. So that was a lucky escape! One hour!
Soon after, we stopped for breakfast and I joined two couples at a table. They were from Bogotá and were staying at a hotel close to mine. We chatted a lot and soon became "companions" during the trip. It was still a little cold but I need not have worried, later the temperature soared! My friends had a water-based chocolate which arrived like a soup. It is very popular here. I had a coffee instead and the main meal was eggs and banana fritters.

Our first stop was Peñol, or Nuevo Peñol because the original town was flooded in 1978 and the town was re-built on higher ground. The church is made totally in concrete.

As I understand it, this lake is actually a reservoir, in other words, artificial. Dating from 1978. It is enormous. We stopped near to the lake where you can see the mini-church! 

After about 15 minutes, we descended to the boats for a leisurely glide around the lake which took us about one hour. Quite a contrast to the boat trip in Cartagena!
For lunch, we drove to the Piedra de Peñol. For some reason, John our guide took off rapidly without checking if all of us has come back up from the jetty. After about 1/2 km, we stopped and I heard the words, "faltan 7" which means 7 missing. The coach did a 3-point turn and returned towards the lake. Very soon we saw two men running by the side of the road waving frantically. Then by a bridge, a sad little group huddled under a tree to avoid the hot sun. Rather as though they were stranded in the Australian Outback hoping that a passing plane would see them before they died of dehydration. We turned around, picked up the missing 7 and continued our journey. As you can see, there is a stair up the side. It looks daunting but I guess only because it is visible. There are separate up and down staircases.

Later,  we visited the town of Guatapé and wandered around, stopping for coffee at one stage (where you see the umbrellas). This was the last stop and we headed back towards Medellín at about 6pm. By the time we arrived back at the hotel it was well after 8pm. A long day! And how can they do it for just 69 mils? (about 22 euros).

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