Medellin was a city I was interested in getting to know as my first visit to Bogota introduced me to Colombia and its beautiful people. My agenda was to visit different parts of the city and experience what this beautiful area of Antioquia of Colombia offers for visitors. Upon leaving Medellin, I walked away with three important experiences.
First off, the coffee
! We spent a day at a coffee plantation where the best coffee in Colombia is grown. (The plantation won the Gold Cup.) Owned by Dr. Samuel Raldan, he is a dentist, professor, and researcher and comes from a family of dairy farmers. He was determined to make good, traditional, and the best Colombian coffee. It is his passion. He made it and got 90 points. (For those who don’t know, that is the highest point to achieve for a coffee maker.) It was an absolute delight to meet him and his wife. We had the pleasure of getting to know the process of coffee planting. Of course, I brought many bags home to enjoy.
Then, there was the flower festival. I was privileged to be a part of the traditional flower festival celebration of Paisa culture where 500 walking gardens celebrate Antioquia and remember more difficult times. This is an annual tradition where flower farmers compete with each other on their flower designs and carry their flowers on their backs. It’s a beautiful festival with an incredible and energetic crowd. I admired and enjoyed every part of this from our VIP front row seats.
Lastly, we got to spend a day with local kids
. We visited the Amadeus Foundation Musico and spent an afternoon getting to know the program, listening to the kids, and listening to them performing. The best part was having homemade empanadas while chatting with the kids. This school network works on empowering children who are living in bad areas. They focus on being friends to these kids first and, secondarily, being teachers to them. This builds confidence in the kids. The center provides one or two meals per day to the kids and their mothers. Space is donated by a foundation for Amadeus. While the children’s ages range from four to 25 years old, the center is open to everyone. No one is turned away.
When the final day came to leave Colombia, I left a piece of my heart behind. The people of Colombia are very warm and passionate about helping everyone in their country live a sustainable life and supporting those in need. You may plan on going to Colombia for the great coffee, but you might, as I did, fall in love with this beautiful place and its people and make it a habit to return and explore more of the beauty that Colombia offers.