Thursday, March 26, 2015

Riding the MetroCable

March 17th, 2015

For my final tourist activity in Medellin I figured I’d ride the MetroCable.  Since the city is situated in a valley that runs predominantly from north to south, the Metro train travels parallel to the river at the base of the valley.  This however doesn’t help all those who live up on the hillsides, which are predominantly poor neighborhoods.  As part of the revival of the city and to bring it out of its violent ways it was seen important to provide proper public transportation to the lower income areas of the city to show the people living there that they were important and that they were part of the city.  So how do you deal with the slopes of the city…well gondolas of course!

At the MetroCable station:

About to get on...where are my skis?

If you get on the Metro system in Medellin you can ride on the two train lines but you can also jump on one of two gondola lines…super cool.  So I had to give it a try, see the city from a different point of view.  There are also some outdoor escalators in one part of town but I didn’t check them out, their supposedly not in a great area, safety wise.

Starting up the hill:

There were three stations on the way up the J Line of the MetroCable.  Then there was another gondola line to go up to Arvi Park, a large wilderness sanctuary on the top of the mountain.  Surprisingly it was quite expensive, relatively, as it was more than twice the price of getting on the Metro and you had to pay that to get there and back.  Okay, it was a little under $5 total but that was compared to $2 on the Metro for a round trip.  Granted it was a 14 minute gondola ride to get to the park.  Unfortunately it was a hazy and cloudy day so my views of the city weren’t great, but it was still a nice ride. 

Past the first station:

Interesting little pool for the local kids...they looked like they were having a blast:

Looking towards downtown through the haze:

Getting into the greenery:

We traversed along the park a long ways:

Good thing I saw this sign in the gondola just in time...I was about to prance!

Still going...

The park was a bit odd.  A steward, a local woman in her early 50s, spoke to me in Spanish and gave me a run down on the park, most of which was lost on me.  I asked her where I could go for a short hike and she gave me a brochure with a map on the back but it had no scale on it and proved to be pretty useless.  I hike along a paved road for about 20 minutes, past numerous private properties, and couldn’t find any trailhead so I gave up and returned to the gondola.  It was probably just as well as it began to rain a bit while I was on the gondola.

On the way back down now.

Reverse'd have no idea that I was in a gondola would you?!?

The neighborhood by the top station that is part of the whole Metro system:

Not the prettiest of neighborhoods:

That evening I was hopping on an overnight but to San Gil, the “adrenaline capital” of Colombia, but I have to admit that Medellin was starting to grow on me.  I’m sure I could spend some more time there in the future.

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