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This blogpost will inform you all about my first week in Medellín. New city, new country, new adventures! I’m ready to explore Medellín, my very first destination in Colombia. This city is (in)famous for its turbulent history, but nowadays, it’s supposed to be very safe, and a very lively city with friendly people. My first week confirmed both statements!

Haven’t read my travel diary from last week yet? Click here.

Do you also want to study Spanish in Medellín? Click here.

Monday: first day

The first day is always a little weird. I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be, at what time, for how long… But soon enough, the people from my new school gave me all the information I needed.

Let me clarify. Yes, I’m taking Spanish lessons once again. When I was still back home, I thought it would be a good idea to take classes for many weeks. Now, I wish I maybe didn’t book all of them in advance. But on the other hand: I might be pretty close to fluent when I finally finish all the lessons.

So in the morning, I had Spanish classes with two other people: one girl from Germany who definitely spoke way better Spanish than I do, and a man from the United States, who definitely spoke less Spanish than I do. So I was right in the middle.

During the first break of the class, the German girl asked to be moved up a level since it was quite easy for her. After class, I did the same thing. The teacher told us that we would be studying all the past tenses in the upcoming week, but I have already studied them in Ecuador.

After class, the three of us went for lunch. I tried the Bandeja Paisa, a typical dish from Medellín. It has a lot of meat, beans, rice, and avocado. The portions here are huge though, so I took some of it with me for later.

I also got a local simcard, which took me hours to find. In the late afternoon, the American guy and I did a walking tour of the neighbourhood we are in, El Poblado. This tour was guided by our Spanish teacher, who is from Cartagena but showed us some nice places in the area.

Tuesday: Colombian cooking class

On Tuesday after class, the school hosted a cooking class. They do this every week with a traditional Colombian dish. In this first week in Medellín, it was the “arroz con leche“, or rice with milk. You can make this by cooking rice in milk, adding a lot of sugar, a little bit of cinnamon, and raisins.

Usually, rice dishes I eat are savoury and not sweet, so I had to get used to this a little bit. I liked it though. As a snack, not as a whole meal. The cooking class lady let me know that there is also a variant with cheese… which sounds weird to me.

After this, I went home to my host family to work a little bit and work out (yes, really).

Wednesday: soccer match in Medellín

I once watched a television program with Tom Waes, who went to Medellín. While he was there, he went to a soccer match, which seemed to be more of a party than a competition. He recommended going to a soccer match when in Medellín… So that was one of the things that was on my to-do list.

And what better time to do this than in the first week in Medellín? I booked a soccer match tour with Civitatis. It really was a party. All throughout the game, the supporters were singing songs in Spanish, jumping up and down, and drinking beers (and shots). I had a lot of fun!

Thursday: working at the mall

On Thursday, I had lunch with some of the students again. After that, I went to the mall (Oviedo), to sit down with a cup of coffee and my laptop. I got some work done, which was necessary after the eventful week!

The next task was to buy a present for the woman of my host family. It is her birthday on Friday, and so I wanted to get her a little something for that. I had no idea what to buy, so I ended up buying two cute scented candles.

Friday: a Colombian birthday party

On Friday, it was the birthday of the woman I live with. That evening, her husband had prepared a surprise party for her, which she (obviously) didn’t know about. First, I had Spanish classes in the morning.

In the afternoon, I got some work done again. After that, my host family and I went out to get some drinks and dinner, to celebrate her birthday. It was also a way to get her out of the house, because their friends would come over to decorate and prepare the party.

When we got back, some of their friends were inside the apartment and had decorated it. There were also a lot of empanadas, and a birthday cake. It was a total surprise for the woman, which was really fun to watch!

It was really cool that I got to experience a Colombian birthday during my first week in Medellín. After a while, I went to my own room because the people there didn’t really speak English, and their Spanish was way too fast for me to understand.

Saturday: Comuna 13

Finally, a free day to explore! For the Saturday, I booked a guided tour through Comuna 13, a part of Medellín that is now known for its street art. However, back in the day, it used to be one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods of the city.

It was fun walking around this part of the city, since I hadn’t seen it before. I met a Dutch guy on the tour and we talked a little bit about our travels. He said that there are a lot of Dutch people in Colombia. I told him I hadn’t met any Dutch people yet. That, of course, also has to do with the fact that I am in a host family and don’t meet a lot of people overall.

This night, I went to bed early because the next day would be a long one.

Sunday: El Peñón de Guatapé

On Sunday, I had to get up quite early for my planned trip. The bus would leave at 8 a.m. from the park. I booked a trip to Guatapé, a small town about two hours from Medellín. I went with a group of about 35 people.

First, I went to El Peñón de Guatapé, which is a huge rock of more than 200 meters. We all climbed it, to look at the beautiful view. It really was amazing!

After that, we all went to a restaurant to get some lunch together. I got the Bandeja Paisa again, but this time the vegetarian version. I didn’t want to eat all that meat again! In the afternoon, we first went on a boat trip across the lakes, and then we did a small walking tour through the town of Guatapé.

We also had some free time in Guatapé, and after that, it was already time to return to Medellín. It was a great day though, and I’m happy I got to see Guatapé and its Peñón!

And that was my week! I hope you enjoyed reading about it, and I’m excited for next week!

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