25.03.2018 - 16.04.2018 18 °C
So my time in Medellin flew by! I ended up spending over 5 weeks in this beautiful town; studying full time and of course exploring town as well. I studied at Total Spanish Medellin, which I can recommend to everyone looking to study Spanish, and I think that the 20 hours of private classes per week really helped me improve. I also met plenty of nice people at the school, with whom I was able to sample a few local brews every now and then..
In the last few weeks since my previous blog post, I did go on a few trips as well. I went to explore Communa 13 with the school, which is a very poor neighborhood in Medellin with a big history of violence from the Escobar era until recently. One of the teachers from our school is from this area and she was our guide: it was great to see where the neighborhood comes from and how they are trying to improve everyone's lives. However, when you hear the stories about how the government security forces, up to only a few years ago, used to come in at night, kill people, chop them up and bury them at the local garbage dump, I can understand why not everything is back to peace yet here.. We also had a tour of a famous local cemetery that same week, which was interesting to see and completely different than anything else I've ever seen.
I also went to another soccer game, Medellin vs Nacional - a local Medellin Derby. Crazy, crowded and amazing don't even begin to describe the sensory overload experienced there. I think the stadium was at around 110% capacity and it was literally 90 minutes of full-blown action. The only minus was getting teargassed before the game when we were in the wrong spot in the wrong time, but I did find out that my contact lenses help protect my eyes against teargas similar as they do when I chop unions... who knew?!
On Wednesday April 11th I flew to Bogota for a couple days in the nation's capital before flying to the Netherlands for a few weeks. Bogota is a nice city, but it's pretty cold, it has rained every single day, and it definitely feels less safe than Medellin. You can't for example just take a taxi of the street, and walking around at night is also not recommended by everyone I've spoken to. And as I'm staying in a similar area here as Poblado is in Medellin, I definitely feel that I picked the right city to spend a long period of time in for studying Spanish; I don't think I would have enjoyed Bogota as much for 5 weeks as Medellin. But the museo de oro, salt cathedral of Zipaquira, plaza Bolivar, cerro de monseratte and other areas are pretty impressive though and enough to keep me occupied for a few days.
Anyway, my time in Colombia is almost at an end: I fly to Amsterdam this afternoon if all goes well...!