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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Medellin - el Peñol, Guatape

An hour and a half bus ride east from Medellin is the resort town of Guatape situated on a man made lake, The Guatape Dam built in the lare 60s as a hydroelectric project.

Once off the main highway that links Bogota and Medellin and on to a smaller road the landscape was lovely, lush and green agricultural land, quite a stunningly beautiful area and Guatape itself is major tourist destination. One of the biggest draws there is La Piedra de Peñol, Peñol Rock, formed some 70 million years ago rising 200 meters high.

There's a stairway built into the rock providing access to the top.

Those 734 stairs are a killer but the view from the top is magnificent.

There were actually nine more
 

This was a recommendation from Sebastian and a very good one. Funny, as I was slogging my up the the stairs I had a recollection of seeing this place on the internet and making a mental note to go there. Like so many mental notes, it got lost but now, here I was.

After taking my fill of the view, I made my way down and caught the bus to Guatape despite the best efforts of a moto taxi driver to intimidate me into using his services. Man, are those guys aggressive, almost threatening: "nah, the bus won't be here for a long time, get in, get in, you'll be there much faster, c'mon, c'mon, get in!" And then the bus pulled up.

Guatape was a cutesy little tourist hole, a painted up whore sort of place, the lakeside lined with restaurants touting identical dishes, tour boats lined up blaring their attractions on loudspeakers, a very typical tourist resort scene. Glad I wasn't there on a weekend. I wandered around a bit, took a few pictures and went in search of lunch.

Church of Our Lady of Carmen

After pursuing this and that restaurant, I chose a place with a set lunch menu where there seemed to be mostly locals, usually a good sign. Not this time. I'd be challenged to find worse food anywhere. I was hungry but this was just not doable. Took a few bites of some nasty ground meat, ate the hard boiled egg (can't screw that up too badly) drank a beer and that was it. Blaghhh! And so, with a bad taste in my mouth, literally and figuratively, I caught the next bus out of there.

View from my room at Sebastian's:

 

 

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