When I wasn’t having weird dining experiences or dodging poop jokes in the streets of Medellín, I was enjoying the amazing transformation this city, once deemed one of the most dangerous cities in the world, has undergone over the last decade as well as older architectural delights. When people discuss this revitalized city nowadays, the conversations center around the unique architecture and urban development rather than the drug wars that ravaged the city in the 90’s.
A lot of this new urban development can be seen in El Poblado, the upscale neighborhood located in the southern part of Medellín. This is where most of the more popular backpacker hostels are located, most likely due to the proximity to the bars and clubs. I stayed here as well because it felt rather safe, but I was happy to venture to other parts of town during the day. The only building I found interesting here was the apartment building or possibly hotel (I didn’t actually get close enough to see a name) that looked as though the designer was influenced by Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect famous for among many works, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The balconies were constructed in a wave pattern with a wood finish infusing the viewer with the same trippy feeling one gets when looking at Casa Batlló.
My favorite spot to kick back and take in the scenery is Plaza Botero in San Antonio where one can admire and perhaps snicker at the sculptures by famed Colombian artist, Fernando Botero. Not having read up on him yet, I get the sense that he is a surrealist of sorts. He’s all about the disproportion of reality, creating stumpy human beings with sometimes under exaggerated body parts, much to my immature mind’s delight. On the east side of the plaza is the Palacio de la Cultura, a beautiful chessboard looking building and across from that is the Museo de Antioquia. All around, it’s a fine place to linger to get away from the standard tourist fare of El Poblado with its never ending maze of trendy restaurants and lounges.