Left to Right: my wife, Beatriz, and her sisters.
I NEVER GOT TO QUITO… I first saw Medellin!
On my way to Quito to couch surf with a cousin who had chosen Ecuador for many good reasons, I thought I’d take the advice of Live and Invest and other sources and take a look at Medellin. I never thought I would want to step foot in this city with such a bad reputation for gangs and drugs and murder. An awful reputation in all the media in the states… uhh two decades ago it fit. No longer!
The magazines and newsletters all agreed that it had changed, was graciously livable, almost European in flavor. And as safe as any large city.
I am a retired school teacher on a modest pension who had lost his house to the subprime bubble. What I was looking for was somewhere out of California, the land where affordability went to die, somewhere highly cultural and cultured, that was friendly pretty much to all foreigners, that had a cultured expat community, that was a short trip back to the States, and that had good weather. I found all of the above and the weather was better than good, it is perfect.
And I met and eventually married my Beatriz. I never made it to Quito or Cuenca. I fell in love in and with Medellin.
Soon after I arrived, Anthony Bourdain and Martha Stewart reviewed the food their experiences living here and both loved it. They particularly loved and admired the people who had come so far since the bad days. That helped my decision to stay
But, also, the city is simply beautiful. I think its motto should be “Fruit, Fun, Greenery and Great Kids!” There are fruit stands everywhere, and most are at least half full of a fruit I never experienced before. Try the Lulo, Mangoita, or the Guanabana! Parks, squares and plazas are everywhere too. The older sections such as Prado and Belen / Laureles still show off their early Nineteenth Century homes and institutions.
It’s a lovely walk through the hills of Prado or the “swanky hills “ of El Poblado, our Pacific Heights section, or the elegant and lower priced neighborhoods of Laureles, Envigado and Sabaneta. And you would see the kids are all smiling with their chums or playing futbol, or even with their families in tow at one of the splendid new malls.
Bird by Fernando Botero, Museo de Antioquia, Medellin
Medellin is the "Most Innovative City in the World" according to the Wall Street Journal and Citibank. The Rockefeller Foundation, Harvard School of Architecture, Huffington Post, Forbes, Bloomberg, National Geographic, and the New York Times rave and recommend Medellin on any list they publish of great places to visit and great places to retire.
I had lived for two years and visited France many times. But there was no way I could afford it and still stay in contact with my adult children in California. So I was looking around as you might be too.
Dance Ceremony in Cementario y Museo San Pedro, Medellin
A List of stuff about Medellin that You might want to know :
the water here is pure, safe and delicious mountain water.
Smoking is forbidden in all restaurants and most bars and on the Metro. Colombian food is not like Mexican food.
We live with windows as our air conditioning and as our thermostat .
There are no bugs.
The city is as safe as any large city.
The transportation here in the city is by very inexpensive ubiquitous metered cabs or by our ultra modern metro system,
Fernando Botero is from here and also Juanes, Eladio Velez, and Pedro Nel Gomez.
The city is loaded with street art, miniparks and signs calling on all citizens to continue their great support of this Andean city.
Parque de las Luces, Medellin: Note fellow in shorts. This is the weather, not hot, but springlike all year long.
Riding the Metrocable is like Disneyland for 85 cents. It is all casual and the weather is 74 degrees EVERY day all year.
We have two spectacular festivals..Flowers in August and Lights for Christmas and festivals of all sorts all year. We have great culture from Salsa to classical to opera to folklorico. Our museums are state of the art with surprising collections of great art and exhibits in all the sciences. Best coffee in the world. The town is green in fact and in attitude. The Botanic Gardens in the center of town recreate the Amazon and the orchid strewn highlands of the surrounding areas. And it is very inexpensive for the tourist and retiree. There are great neighborhoods and apartments and inexpensive hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast accommodations. We have a great group of expats who love it (almost) as much as I do. And the folks here are tierna, amable, hermoso y agradable = nice! And hard-working too! Nestled in a high Andean Valley its natural and green beauty extends to its streets and its women (I had to mention that!)
And it is very inexpensive for the tourist and retiree. There are great neighborhoods and apartments and inexpensive hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast accomodations. We have a great group of expats who love it (almost) as much as I do. And the folks here are tierna, amable, hermoso y agradable = nice! And hard-working too! Nestled in a high Andean Valley its beauty extends to its streets and its women (I had to mention that!)