Our one day spent in Medellín was a bit anti-climactic. We were most excited to visit the Parque de los Pies Descalzos, a park with a bamboo forest, lots of shallow pools to wade through, different-sized stones to climb, and signs encouraging you to remove your shoes. Unfortunately, when we arrived the park was under renovation or something because there wasn’t a single pool to cool our feet in and the stones were all roped off. Sad.
On top of that, we were discouraged from exploring much else when we saw a couple of policemen driving a man, naked from the waist down and missing an arm, off the sidewalk with the front wheel of their motorcycle. No one else seemed disturbed by this which made us think we weren’t in the best part of town.
We quickly shoved off for Manizales, one of three towns in the Zona Cafetera where most of Colombia’s coffee is grown. Its fresh, chilly climate was a nice change and the steep, tidy streets more closely resembled a city in Europe than Colombia. From here, we organized a tour of the Venecia coffee plantation where we learned about the entire coffee production process, including how they export the best coffee beans and leave the rest in Colombia (unfair, huh?). Also included in the tour price was all-you-can drink espressos. I’m pretty sure Juan is the only person that has truly utilized that benefit. Let’s just say, he had energy ALL DAY.
We were also in Manizales for Valentine’s Day (yes, the Colombians celebrate V-day in October) and the two girls that worked at our hostel invited all their friends over, cooked a 15-person meal, crowded out the hostel guests, and partied until almost midnight. I really hope none of them ever get a job in the US because they would never understand why they got fired…