Tuesday, January 19, 2016

El Peñol's 740 Steps And Guatape.......

Whenever I did any research about Medellin one of the most popular tourist destinations that popped up was the tiny town of Guatape and El Peñol.   El Peñol is considered a Monolith.  So what is a Monolith?  A monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock, such as some mountains, or a single large piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument or building. Erosion usually exposes the geological formations, which are often made of very hard and solid metamorphic or igneous rock.  It is over 721 feet to the top once you start climbing.

Holy Crap....We're Going Up There?

So off we went today for another adventure that began with a taxi ride to the bus station.

A mere $4 each for a two hour bus ride up into the mountains to our first stop El Peñol, a massive rock formation with stairs for those that want a view from the top.  While the idea of climbing the 700 plus stairs up the rock sounded good in theory when we first laid eyes on the gigantic monolith we had second thoughts.  Actually our first glimpse of it from the bus made us both gasp and say, "holy crap," maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all?   Later an artificial lake was made around it and later a hydroelectric dam also. 
Our First Ride In A Tuk Tuk

The bus dropped us and many others rather far away from the rock.  But nearby were three wheeled vehicles known as "tuk tuks" that we hired to drive us to the entrance of El Peñol. Exiting the tuk tuk we had to walk up a steep road tiring us out before we even made our way to the entry. Reluctantly, Clyde paid our fee which was around $4 each and off we went. The steep, cement steps were numbered in increments of 25 as we made our way up.  Everyone....and I mean everyone from little kids, young athletic men and us were stopping every now and then to catch our breath. But we made our way to the top and felt proud as we looked down at the number 740.....the very last step at the top of the rock mountain. The whole jaunt took about 15-20 minutes although we really weren't in any hurry.

Going Up!

Are We There Yet? 

Notice The Bucket To The Side
At Some Points There Were Signs With Chairs In Case Climbers Were
 Dizzy, Nauseous, Or Dying

Almost There.....And He Doesn't Like Heights Either

We Made It To The Top

Amazing Views From The Top

We Tackled Al 740 Steps.....And Still Climbing On Rocks

The views from the top were amazing as the cool breezes blew through our messy hair.  At an altitude of just over 7000 feet above sea level the average temperature up there is around 65 degrees.
The walk down the 740 steps was rough on the legs also when we were surprised at what we saw.  A worker was carrying a 75 pound bag of cement on his shoulders up the down stairs.  There was cement work being done at the top and this was just one of the bags of cement that he would be carrying up the narrow, steep staircase. Suddenly we felt worse for this man than we did for our aching legs as we continued our trek down.

A Man Carrying Cement To The Top

We hopped into another tuk tuk that drove us to colorful little lakeside village of Guatape.  After stopping for some lunch we walked along the lake front admiring it's beauty.  A local man approached us about a boat ride on the lake so we went along for the ride.  Our tour of the lake included a stop on the finca (or large lot) that belonged to the famous drug dealer, Pablo Escobar.
Once off the boat we walked through a bit of history with buildings that were bombed in search of Escobar.  A discotech, main house, guest house, garage, servants quarters, stables, sports fields and house for security.  There were over 150 security guards that manned the property 24 hours a day to protector Escobar and his family. Despite all of the bad that Escobar did he performed plenty of good deeds for the poorer populations of the city.

Boat Tour On The Lake

El Penol From A Distance.....That Little Thingy Is The Lookout Tower On Top

Pablo Escobar's Land And Homes

Bombed Out Houses Of Pablo Escobar

Village Of Guatape

Back in the town of Guatape we strolled down the rainbow colored streets all of which are decorated with "zocolos".....colorful paintings on the walls.  We headed back to the bus station and bought tickets for our return bus ride back to Medellin.

This ATM Screen shows that I took out $300,000
With a Balance of $1,464,095

Wish it was in US Dollars and not Pesos!

Tired from a long day of walking and climbing we opted for a quick pizza close to our hotel.  As we sat in the open air restaurant two young man sat at an outdoor table with a small dog.  Just then we noticed a rat run by their table and into some bushes.  Immediately at lightning speed the two men jumped up and ran from their table, tripping over the dogs leash nearly knocking over the table and their bottles of beer.  The dog looked befuddled as to what was going on and the young men looked totally freaked out by what they just saw, albeit only for a split second. We laughed and watched the gecko's crawling on the wall, realizing that we were eating outdoors and things like this do coexist with humans most everywhere in the world.  I didn't write that last line as a put down to the city of Medellin in any way.  I wrote it merely as a peculiar thing that happened in our travels today.  We have been very impressed with the cleanliness and well mannered way in which Medellin is kept. It's a smoke free city, feels very safe to us and absolutely lovely to walk around even at night.

Time to turn in for the night after climbing 740 steps of El Peñol along with the hundreds of other steps we went up and down today. We climbed to new heights and took a stairway to heaven on todays adventures......along the gringo trail.

Terry and Clyde are able to "Travel The World House Sitting"  and so can you!  We have created a website to help people who want to learn about house sitting.    Information for both the prospective house sitter and for someone who needs a house sitter.

the New Website                          -->  CLICK HERE

How to Get Your First House Sit -->  CLICK HERE

How to find a house sitter          ---->  CLICK HERE

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