We were up at dawn on Sunday morning. I gorged myself on a big buffet breakfast while Jay went to Sunday mass. We had agreed to meet Germán at 8:30 for the big tour and he showed up right on time.
Here is the breakfast buffet:
First stop was the house where the final battle occurred when Pablo and his driver were killed in a hail of gunfire. I had seen photos of the house on the internet so when we drove up we recognized it immediately. I had to have my picture taken in front of it! This is now a quiet neighborhood and many people were on the streets walking to church while I am having my picture taken in front of the house. I am sure they thought “crazy tourists”. Germán described the battle in detail and it pretty well matched up with what I had read. It was unbelievable, just having finished the book, and now I am standing in front of the very house! It was like living the story.
Next, it was off to the cemetery to see the tomb of Pablo. Again, as soon as we walked onto the cemetery grounds I recognized the tomb after seeing pictures of it on the internet. Quite an impressive little plot of dirt! Several family members are buried right there next to him. Germán told us that Pablo was considered the “Robin Hood” of Colombia and that people still bring flowers to his grave every day.
Here German is giving Jay a little history of the events surrounding the burial of Pablo:
For the next 4 hours Germán drove us around Medellin visiting various sites which were major points of interest including many of the buildings that Pablo used to own and some of the apartments where he lived. We finally got our fill of Pablo.
One more thing I wanted us to do was to ride the cable car that is an extension of the metro system in Medellin. The cable car is part of a transit system that serves a rather large, lower socio-economic neighborhood that is built up into the hills. It is the main system of transportation for this neighborhood and connects with the metro for travel throughout the city. It is a series of 3 different cable car stations; each one located a little higher up the hill than the other–similar to a ski lift. We jumped on a car and rode it through all 3 stations and back while Germán waited on the street for us.
It was quite interesting to go over the top of the neighborhoods and see how people are living below you. Each car held about 6 people. The other passengers were all very friendly so we chatted with them a little in Spanish.
As you can see, it is an interesting way to travel through your neighborhood:
(click on the photos to enlarge them)
By this time it was 12 noon and we still needed to call Dr. Olga. Germán dropped us off in the park where we had dinner the night before. We used a pay phone to call Olga. Olga wasn’t there but her sister answered and said she was aware we might come by the farm. She said Olga would return in an hour and suggested we call back then. We used the hour to have lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Great cheeseburgers!
When we returned to the hotel we called Olga again and this time she answered. She suggested we get Germán to drive us to the little town of Retiro which she said was on the way to the airport (sort of). She told us to have him drop us off in the town square and she and her sister would pick us up at 2:30. So, on a wing and a prayer we told Germán…”It’s Retiro for us, Amigo”!
Next-Retiro and meeting the family of Dr.Olga