Monday this week, saw me at a private viewing of Parque Arví, the natural paradise at the top of the mountains here in Medellin, for the organisation of the international press tour. This is due to be on the Monday before fashion week starts so that our international guests can have the pleasure of seeing some of the ‘real Colombia’ before work begins. As my job title is International Press Manager, it was very very important that I attended… 😉
I went with my boss and a representative from the local tourism office to the park to trial the day in the eyes of a foreigner. Essentially, this consisted of trialling the menu (:O #yum), going on a mini park trek and being chauffeur driven up the mountain (as the cable car is closed on Mondays). Not a bad start to the week!
More importantly however, this weekend was another long one (bless the bloke who incited these holidays!) so we took the chance to go to Bogota. It also happens that Simona’s mate, Jordan was coming to Colombia for 2 weeks so we managed to combine meeting up with him and sorting out his visas before seeing some of the captial city.
I arrived at the ass crack of dawn on Saturday (literally, 6am landing- t’was not welcome). I went to the hostel where Simona and Jordan were staying and actually woke them up with my arrival… sorry again guys. We tried out a local spot just down the road for breakfast where I had the BIGGEST bandeja paisa I’ve ever seen in my life. Essentially, these dishes consist of minced meat, chicharron, avocado, platano, arepas, eggs, beans and rice. They are made to be big as they were originally the food of travelling cowboys who would ride the whole day then eat a single meal to fill their tummys.
We eventually dragged our gorged bodies to the meeting point for the Bogotá Graffiti Tour- an alternative way to see the city. I’m really glad we did this actually as it was something totally different that really opened my eyes to the art form. Our guide was great and told us about the political history of the city that is woven into the graffiti. Turns out, he’s a prolific street artist himself with a lot of his work featuring around the city. He was also responsible for these awesome masks that we kept seeing everywhere on huge murals.
After the tour we topped up on prime Juan Valdez coffees before heading out to see the gold muesum- another truly spectacular feat, the gold pieces were artworks in themselves. Considering they had all been made thousands of years ago, it was really eye-opening. Entry was only 3000 pesos as well (1 pound!) which made it even better.
I also met a llama in the main square just down from where we were staying. He tried to spit at me because I scared him when I ran up to take a photo, but here he looks relativley calm. Me on the other hand…
We spent the evening drinking, catching up and eventually eating the left overs from that morning’s bandeja paisa (there was more than enough for the three of us!).
On Sunday we went to an old vintage market that had some awesome pieces from ages past. It was right next to the National museum so we went in there to take in some history. A much needed nap was had before going out again- this time to one of the worst/best bars in Bogota that played british rock, offered beers for less than a quid and had scum on the walls from the 80’s. Best bar ever? I think so.
Monday was pretty chilled as we were all shattered. Australia were playing Spain and it was pretty painful to watch, so we were all in a weird mood. But Juan Valdez perked us up enough to take us up Monserrate- the huge mountain overlooking Bogotá. The views were SPECTACULAR however our visit was tainted with a supremely weird tasting Guarapo from “The Mountain People” and the most morbid clock to ever grace the earth…
That evening I flew back to Paradise (Medellín) arriving back at a solid 1am. I’m now cowering at my desk at work in fear of falling asleep whilst the Colombia match is on (god help me if I fall asleep in this game!).
In other news, I’m happy to say that I’ve been offered a month’s internship as a Research Executive for Flamingo- a global insight and brand consultancy within the Cultural Intelligence department, back in London in September. I’m made up because it’s the sort of job I’d die to have when graduating, so I’m hoping to get some solid experience under my belt before going back to Sheffield to finish my last year at uni!
Bring it on, World!