Cycling these 800km has comprised of riding through mostly smaller pueblos where foreigners rarely, if ever, pass through. Arriving at Ivy Hostel in Medellin felt like the perfect moment to take a break from the road, interact with other travelers and enjoy the relaxing space. The historical aspect of the Free Walking Tour in the city was my favorite thing, as it was a fantastic way to dive deeper into some of the stories I had heard thus far on my bike trip. I particularly found the discussions about the “acuerdo de paz” interesting on the tour, especially given the myriad of rumors I had heard as I traveled down south.
The Free Walking tour guide not only showed us the city center, but also gave us a clear picture of the good, bad and the ugly of the city’s history. I really appreciated her explaining both sides of the coin, because it allowed me to better understand how Colombia is seen internationally versus what has actually happened over the last fifty years. The progress that has been made in order to make the country a safer place for both Colombians and tourists is astounding and something I believe is important for me to share with folks back home.
Taking a break from cycling has allowed me to enjoy other aspects of the city that I have not had the opportunity to do in other towns. There is a fantastic music and dancing scene, enormous grocery stores–something all cyclists will love haha– and a wealth of diversity. I particularly appreciate how, like in other Latin American cities, Medellin closes down various roads on Sundays for folks to get out and exercise. It was a blast to go running this morning and people watch. I am extremely passionate about access to the outdoors and it was great to see such a wide-range of people out and about walking, jogging, hobbling, sprinting, cycling and skating. I think we should adopt this practice of closing roads to vehicles in the States because I think it provides a medium for people to get out who normally are not able to.
I won’t be surprised if I cycle through Medellin again later in my journey to enjoy the myriad of things the city has to offer and the delicious coffee at Ivy!!