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Sat Dec 28 2013: Settling into Medellin

We're in search for somewhere to call home for a while. Although there's a certain romanticism around the nomadic lifestyle, we're finding we're now craving a balance of stability and routine - somewhere where we can stock the fridge without having to label our food, use all the pots and pans in the kitchen and not have to clean up immediately, walk around in our underwear... No wait, I do that last one everywhere I stay anyway...

Passing one of the small towns heading westwards from Puerto Berrio to Medellin

Riding into the big city!

This is the bustling metropolis of Medellin - the second-largest city in Colombia. The Spanish language in this country is a bit different than what we're used to - the double "ll" in Medellin is pronounced like a "J" instead of a "Y". So we teach our family and friends back home how to pronounce Medellin by telling them that it rhymes with Neda-Gene.

A city with a name like NedaGene, how can we not stay here for a while?

Hostel Casa Kiwi: "Just throw your motorcycle over there behind those plants..."

We booked into a hostel for a few days to get our bearings in Medellin. The plan is to search around for an apartment, which should greatly reduce the cost of our accommodations.

Crashing a Christmas Party. What's ADV.com anyway...?

Just a few days into our stay, we were spotted on the road by Marc, another ADVRider who was traveling southwards as well. We were invited to a Christmas dinner at the Shamrock Pub, just a couple of blocks away from the hostel that we were staying at.

Birds of a feather feasting together, while Valentino cooks up some mean ribs

We spent the evening hanging out with the latest group of motorcycle travelers who just got off the Stahlratte. The sailboat has dropped off two sets of bikers and backpackers in the time that we've been here! We feel like we're the welcome wagon to Colombia, and we'll soon be waving goodbye to these travelers as they make their way onwards.

We travel slow. Oh well...

Hey we got a kitchen! And an apartment came with it as well! Neda is super-stoked!

The search for an apartment was quite painless. We got a referral from the Casa that we were staying in in San Gil the week before. When we dropped in to take a look at it, we fell in love with the place immediately. Located on the second floor of high-rise condominium, it's got a walk-out balcony where we can sit down and eat or read a book. It's in a very nice part of town called El Poblado. There's a grocery store right across the street and the subway is a 5 minute walk away.

World-famous NedaBurgers make a return, with home fries and a side of sauteed mushrooms. Fancy!

I got a Man-Cave! Well... a Man-Corner...

We can catch a bit of sun out here on our balcony

The weather in Medellin is very temperate, even though we're fairly close to the equator. Because we're 5000 feet above sea level up in the mountains of Colombia, the average is about 22C all year round, it can get to 30C in the hottest part of the day and then down to 15C overnight. Because of its unchanging climate, Medellin has often been referred to as "La Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera" (The City of Eternal Spring).

In other words, the perfect place to settle down for a bit.

By contrast, Toronto is suffering from the worst ice storm it's had in several decades. Over half-a-million homes were without power in the dead of winter. When we tried Skyping with my folks for Christmas, we found out that they had to relocate to a friend's house because their house was without heat or electricity.

Although we feel bad for our family and friends, I kinda feel a bit smug sitting down here in the City of Eternal Spring... hehehe....

So we get this idea that we'll ride everywhere in Medellin.
That idea dies a quick death when we get stuck in the city's horrible traffic...

...so these are our new wheels!

Medellin is very much a large, modern city. With a population of about 2 million, it's about the same size as Toronto. All the amenities are available here, and within walking distance there are plenty of huge malls, one dedicated to just electronics! I'm in heaven!

Every once in a while, we take a day-trip downtown, about 5 subway stops away

Vera Cruz Church. Behind the scenes: Neda ran into the courtyard
flapping her arms to scare up these birds... Locals not amused...

Sunlight on the Vera Cruz Church

Found some time to get our shaggy-dos trimmed. Shamefully, it's been months overdue...

What the heck are these things?

We were fascinated by the Parque de Las Luces (Park of Lights) downtown. It's as if a convention of giant Jedis just threw their lightsabers into the ground and went off to have lunch somewhere. We stuck around all afternoon and into the evening to watch them light up:

I sense a disturbance in the city's electrical grid

Lightsaber Park is quite a sight at night

Popular place to hang out

The Parque de Las Luces was right next to this very avant-garde-looking building

Things are looking up for Neda

Buildings nicely lit up downtown

Can't get enough of the lightsabers

Christmas lights decorate the streets of Medellin

Streetside vendors take up valuable lane space downtown

Peldar Bridge, just a few blocks away from our apartment, all lit up for the Christmas season

Oh yeah, our second Christmas on the road... Kinda cool...!

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