September 8th, 2011
We always love it when we have guests during the first Saturday of every month, because that means we can show off the handy-work of Medellin’s artisans. The monthly San Alejo Artisan Fair is a great place to buy hand crafted souvenirs and to peruse their wares with the locals. Below are some pictures from this weekend’s fair and some of our favorite finds. Enjoy!
September 7th, 2011
Medellin is the home to many renowned artists, the best-known being Fernando Botero with his signature “voluptuous” style. There’s no better way to experience Medellin’s abundant artistic talent than with a visit to the Museum of Antioquia and surrounding areas. Here are some pictures of the iconic Botero Plaza, located outside of the museum.
September 2nd, 2011
Today’s pics feature our Rio Negro Tour, where you can visit a real Colombian farm and even milk some real Colombian cows! Crops of corn, potatoes, and strawberries can also be found on the farm. Nothing tastes quite as good as a fresh-picked strawberry!
April 12th, 2011
…that is, except for here. We were recently turned on to the coolest little bar, so cool in fact, we’re not going to tell you its name. This bar, we’ll call it The Cabana, is so amazing that our biggest fear is that some guidebook will find out about it and flood it with tourists. The only gringos we want to see there are ourselves and our guests!
What makes it worth the secrecy you ask? Well for one, two nights a week they feature a live band playing traditional Argentinean and Colombian music. There’s no stage; the six or so members gather around a small table with their glasses of beer and empty shot glasses and play whatever strikes their fancy. It’s more like sitting in on a close group of friends having a jam session than listening to a band play.
Every night the experience is completely different, thanks to the local musicians dropping in to lend their voice, guitar, or harp to the band (yes, I said harp). One night we had Argentineans belting out mournful songs, followed by a local singer/cab driver leading the crowd in a rousing version of Tengo Mil Novias (I have a thousand girlfriends). Another night we witnessed a man playing the wooden spoons and an Andean flutist putting Ron Burgundy to shame. We have no doubt that our next visit will bring an entirely different experience.
The owner keeps the drinks simple: aguardiente, rum, and Heineken beer. However, the accompanying snacks are anything but. Served with your drinks are no fewer than four bowls for the fritos, cheese flavored bread balls, mango, fresh coconut pieces, orange slices, grapes, and tree tomatoes (didn’t know some tomatoes grow in trees, did you?) And if that array of munchies doesn’t cut it for you, the tasty pizza joint across the street will bring you your choice of crispy-crusted pizza. ¡Delicioso!
The thing that brings everything together is the ambiance of The Cabana. The entire bar is perhaps the size of a living room and barely fits 10 small tables, which encourages the intermingling of the patrons. Adorning the walls are a variety of musical instruments, portraits, and vintage advertisements for various Colombian beers featuring pin-up girls. Vinyl records are haphazardly stacked on random shelves and in nooks and crannies between the assortment of antique amplifiers, record players and sound equipment. On nights when the band isn’t playing these records are filling the air with the traditional sounds of tango, and if you’re a music buff, you can make requests for your favorite Colombian or Argentinean song.
Rest assured, if you come visit us in Medellin, we’ll show you a good time at The Cabana. But until then, let’s just keep this secret between us.
More photos of The Cabana can be found here.
March 18th, 2011
It’s hard not to stand out here in Colombia. I’m a 6’3” American with a lumberjack beard and a thick accent I just can’t seem to get rid of. With all of the fun Gringo stigmas I get to be associated with as we walk the streets of Medellín, one of my favorite stereotypes (and one that we have for good reason) is how we close car doors.
We’ve discovered that, for whatever reason, the car doors are considerably lighter here, so when we shut them with the same force as we would shut an American car door, there’s the expected loud slam but it’s followed by a wincing sound from the car’s owner. For example, when I closed my first Colombian car door coming off the plane, our cousin Pedro cringed and said “Hey primo, watch it with the door, man. Don’t slam it like a Gringo.”
Whenever we get into a cab here in Medellín, we always notice the driver eying us as we close the door as if bracing himself for the pain-inducing Gringo slam. Some politely remind us to close the door softly while others have taken to posting reminders on the doors (one was actually written in English!). Sometimes drivers have even reached their arm allll the way over the the opposite side of the car to catch the door as we close it and finish the job themselves.
For visitors new to the country, it’s inevitable that they’re going to slam some doors and unintentionally irritate some taxistas. It’s not their fault, they don’t know. That’s why we’re doing our part to inform the Gringo masses of their inevitable future folly and hope that we can one day shed this ugly reputation…one softly closed door at a time.
So fear not, globe-trotting Gringo! The next time you find yourself in Medellin (and we hope that’s soon!), we’ll remind you to “cierre suave” and together we can shock the taxi driver universe!