Every year, Medellin comes alive with the Christmas spirit. The entire city participates to cover the landscape in millions of colorful lights and decorations. Nowhere is this more evident and magnificent than along the Medellin river where the city dedicates countless man hours and millions of pesos in electricity bills to create one of the most impressive Christmas light displays in the world.
This event is called Los Alumbrados and begins in early December and continues through early January but the locals are so enthusiastic about the tradition that the preparations often start in September. This year seems to be one of the most spectacular in recent memory, which is no easy feat because every year seems to be more impressive than the last. Each year a different theme is chosen for the celebration and this year’s features the various barrios (communities) of Medellin and highlights a specific facet of each.
The city goes to great lengths to give everyone a chance to see the Alumbrados up close by shutting down the highway that runs along the Medellin River. This creates a “boardwalk” type atmosphere with over a hundred stalls for food vendors, souvenir shops, and entertainers. Locals and visitors alike come down to the river to take in the millions of lights and creative decorations.
We took a video of the nearly 2 kilometer stretch along the river during the daytime to give you an idea of just how large, detailed, and creative the Christmas celebration is. We hope you like it!
(A description (in Spanish) of the Alumbrados can be found here.)
While cruising the streets of Medellin we see plenty of signs that make us laugh; whether they are funny by accident or by design, the result is always the same. Here are a few of the best that we’ve seen:
These super sexy undergarments, called Fajas, are all the rage in Colombia. Note how you can choose which ''asset'' you'd like to enhance.
Speaking of assets, take care of those hemorrhoids with NewAss! Colombians are very blunt, and so are their product names.
This bathroom is specifically for women with holes in their torso.
Although there are many wonderful details on this cart, we really like the smog bit at the bottom.
What's a Japy Niu Yiar? That's Happy New Year spelled phonetically with Spanish sounds.
God posted several posters similar to these around the city giving good advice to his creations. This one says "If you're going to drink, don't drive...even I won't be waiting for you. God"
Thanks to Medellin’s tropical climate, we are constantly seeing bizarre tropical flowers that look as if they came from some fantasy world. Most of them can be found in the city’s fabulous Botanical Gardens. Here are some of our favorites; our apologies in advance for not knowing what any of them are called!
This crazy flower looks like an artichoke on an acid trip.
We're convinced that these flowers are straight out of the movie Avatar.
We don't even know where to begin in describing this flower!
Same goes for this guy, we think they're related.
This electric pink flower is certainly appealing to the butterflies.
These fuzzy flowers come in just about every shade of red, pink, yellow and orange. They are happiness in flower form.
Colombia is home to a great variety of exotic fruits that we had never seen before. One of our favorite tours to give is the fruit tasting tour because it’s so much fun to see our guests reactions to the various foreign fruits. The following photos are of some of the fruit all-stars.
This colorful fruit has a similar flavor to passion fruit and is great for people who want some tanginess in their lives.
This mildly sweet fruit is known here as Pitayah, and dragon fruit in Asia. It's one of the rarest and most expensive fruits here because each one takes months to grow and ripen.
This frightening looking fruit is called Guanabana, one of the most fun words to say in Spanish!
The fruit in the tan bowl is Guanabana pulp (pictured above). The fruit with the orange shell filled with what looks to be fish eyes is granadilla and is one of our favorites. The white fruit with black dots is the aforementioned Pitayah. The bright orange fruit is Zapote and has the texture of a ripe mango with the flavor of cantalope.
Mangostino is our favorite fruit here, perhaps because it's one of the few fruits that isn't available year-round. Due to its limited availability it is the most expensive fruit in the markets, but arguably worth every peso!