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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Great Day in Arvi Park

Dear Family and Friends,

The other day Chuck and I went on a fun adventure.  We explored the metro system of Medellin.  Here we are in a gondola going up the side of the mountain.

But I need to start at the beginning.  In the last 20 years Medellin has changed from bleak to progressive.  Yes, it has evolved from the most dangerous place on earth to a wonderful, delightful thriving city.

One testimonial to this city's progress is their metro system.  It is the only metro in Colombia.  Their metro consists of a light rail system that serves the main part of the city and a gondola system that serves the populous mountain side.

Since this city has turned around....the evil gone and the hope regenerated....the people of Medellin are experiencing, with gratitude, their new city.

One example of their gratitude is the metro culture.  There is not one sign of graffiti anywhere.  The stations are kept very clean.

When we boarded the train, we were instantly offered a seat by young riders.  This was done for every older person who boarded.  The young offer up their seats.  Impressed, you betcha!

We rode the metro for the purpose of riding the gondolas.  The gondolas are part of the metro system.  The locals refer to this part of the metro as the metro cable. No extra fare required.

The purpose of the gondola system is to service the people who live on the steep mountain side.  It is so steep that they could not even have a bus system.

These people are poor, without cars...maybe a motorcycle if they can afford one.  Most of these people spent up to two or more hours walking down the mountainside to get to work, then trudging back up at the end of the day.  You can see what a blessing the gondolas are to them and why they are so respectful of it.

The next couple of pictures are looking down on the populated mountainside.

There are three metro stations along the mountainside where you can get off the gondolas.  For our purposes we stayed on the tram.  We wanted to get to the end of the line so that we could take another gondola across the countryside to the next valley.

We paid another fare for the cross country gondola ride.  Here we are leaving Medellin behind.

Looking out at the beautiful countryside of Colombia.

When we got to the end of the ride, we were at Arvi park, a "resort type" place.  They had nature trails, bicycles to loan (for free for one hour), crafts for sell and goodies to eat. We found out later they even have a butterfly sorry we missed it.

Here is Chuck chatting up the ladies at the information booth.

We bought some fruit.

We selected the Andean blueberries.  They are much smaller than what we buy in North America and they are tart.

They were also selling uchuvas.  Uchuvas are also known as Peruvian ground cherry.  They are related to a tomatillo, which is from Mexico, but are smaller, yellow, and much sweeter.  We buy them in Ecuador.  I use them in green salads.

They were also selling strawberries.

I loved these colorful paper flowers being sold in the craft section.  Wish I could get them home.

 Here is a fellow making candy to sell.

Chuck and I had these delicious, portobello type,  charcoal grilled mushrooms with a chimichurri sauce.  They were delicious

Interesting plants...

tons of hydrangeas.

We spent a good part of our day on this adventure.  If you come to Medellin we recommend that you use the metro system.  It is safe, clean and fun especially the gondola ride.  Check out your guidebook on how to ride the gondolas.

We were advised to not get off the gondolas on the mountain side where the people live because it may not be safe to walk around there...especially at night.

Looking at these flowers makes me want to go to the botanical gardens.  They are easily accessible on the metro. Maybe we will do that today.


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