To learn more about Medellin, we signed up for a 4-hour Free Walking Tour (our first, but definitely not our last). We met up with Mari, of Real City Tours, and 19 other tourists, at the Poblado metro station, a 10-minute walk from our accommodation. We purchased a metro ticket ($2,150 COP/~70 cents USD) and hopped the metro for a few stops into the downtown area.
Throughout our tour, Mari entertained us with stories of the history of Medellin and its transformation from its violent, crime-riddled past to its vibrant and tourist-friendly present, of buildings and plazas that were the center of crime but are now the center of education and transformation.
During the tour, we visited the Plaza de la Esculturas Botero and ducked into the Museo Antioquia to get out of a short downpour. We learned about Botero, Medellin’s most famous artist and his generosity to the city of Medellin.
And of a tragedy connected with his work where, in a different plaza, a bomb was placed beneath a sculpture and detonated when the plaza was filled with festival goers. As a monument to that time, the ripped apart sculpture remains but is joined by a newer, whole sculpture, representing hope and peace.
We returned to visit the museum and plaza on another day immersing ourselves further in Botero’s art and influence.