Friday 10 February 2017
Our final full day in Medellin was a great one. Well not actually IN Medellin. We were picked up by our guide for the day, Alejandro. He was fantastic. He whisked us off through the city and out into the countryside, taking about 2 hours to reach El Penol, a great chunk of rock projecting up into the sky. There we climbed over 700 steps to reach the viewpoint at the top where we could look over a vast number of 'islands', actually the tops of hills left when valleys were flooded by the building of a dam, back in 1978 to 1982, displacing a whole community. As a result it has become a recreational playground for the wealthy, including in the old days, Pablo Escobar. In fact, if you want, you can take a boat tour that takes you by the ruins of his old mansion.
After descending we went to the nearby village of Guatape, a beautiful little touristic village that has an amazing claim to fame. The residents, for decades, have used painted cement to make something called zocalos on all of the buildings. The more elaborate ones are 3-D. An interesting history behind them too, but rather than describe them, best to show them in pictures.
The view from above:
Alejandro by one of the zocalos:
Street in Guatape: