Stairway to the top of the world

Trip Start Dec 10, 2011
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Trip End Sep 29, 2012


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What I did
Guatape, El Penon

Flag of Colombia  , Santa Fe de Antioquia,
Thursday, March 8, 2012

One last trip with the two guys from Israel to visit Guatape, outside of Medellin by bus ride and metro taking about 2.5 hours each way. We climbed the El Penon de Guatape, a very large rock basically!  

Since it was the Israel's guys last day they said let's meet early, I got to their hostal at 9.30 am knowing too well they would both be hanging out in their beds and boxer shorts, both were right! I waited for them and then we headed out to the North bus station Caribe by metro and took what is called a 'Chiva' bus outside of Medellin to a town called Gautape. It was quite a ride with lots of stops picking more and more people up along the way and dropping off and some nice scenery as we started to travel along the small winding roads to this town.

During the trip I notice two girls I recognise from my hostal the Black Sheep, and we all go together to this town. They are from Argentina and we had some nice fun with them speaking Spanglish, travelling and about the place we visited. We also had a lot of fun taking photos together and I'm still patiently waiting now for them to send us their shots as one of the girls had a very good camera.

The town was something stuck in a time warp, a small plaza/ square in English, in the middle with the town's church and brightly coloured house decorated with murals made of tiles of local animals, trades and landscapes.  Guatapé is located in the outskirts of Medellín, bordering a reservoir created by the Colombian government for a hydro-electric dam, built in the late 1960s.

We ate together in a local restaurant a typical Colombian meal of rice, beans, meat, pure pork fat rind, chorizo and salad and immediately my stomach fills with air and I feel very very bloated indeed.  So much so I have to make a visit to the toilet straight after the meal, that will be most likely be the combination of rice, beans and pure pork fat I thought!

We then head over to El Penon, the big rock and start our ascent up the road to the start of the 639 stairs. The paramiliatary were very active in this area and now have moved out thanks to police action and now it is a tourist destination for sports, walking and relaxing. The rock itself, "Guatape Rock" (Peñón de Guatapé) that borders the lake is a rock formation, that formed along the Antioquia Rock Base (batolito de antioquia), 70 million years ago. With 2/3 of its height below ground, the exposed vertical face is over 200 meters high and visible from throughout the surrounding countryside. It is quite a sight. It was quite a climb to the top and I'll let the pictures and video talk for themselves, no more words required!
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