Every year, El Desfile A Caballo (Horse Parade) helps kick off La Feria de las Flores in Medellin.
My first horse parade was in 2010, and I had no idea what was going on, but I loved the atmosphere.
6,000 horses were walking through the streets, while thousands of Colombians and curious tourists partied and looked on along the parade route.
This year, I knew what to expect, and met up with Troy and Marcello at the Aguacatala metro station, near the start (and end) of the parade route.
I was retracing my steps from 2010, except this time, I was almost immediately propositioned to mount a horse. Troy and Marcello egged me on, and eventually I climbed into the saddle, to the delight of the mostly Colombian crowd.
I’ve been horseback riding a few times in Colombia, including to La Cueva del Esplendor in Jardin earlier this year, but this was different. I felt like everyone was watching…and they were!
There aren’t a lot of gringos who mount up for El Desfile A Caballo.
After a few minutes turning the horse in circles, I dismounted and thanked the man for offering me a ride.
We then continued to trace the parade route, stopping from time to time to drink a beer, eat some empanadas, and snap some photos.
I kept a tight grip on my camera the whole time, considering my Blackberry had been stolen by a pickpocket at last year’s horse parade.
We walked as far north as the Poblado metro station over the course of 2-3 hours.
I was feeling tired pretty early, so I walked home from there, leaving Marcello and Troy to continue enjoying the one-of-a-kind atmosphere.
Great post and wonderful pictures. Seeing this makes me want to come visit Medellin so bad. I understand the weather is pretty much the same year around. Is it best to visit this time of year because of the festivial? Here in Los Angeles its super hot so I wouldnt mind getting around from the heat for a while.
Hola Trey, glad you liked the pics. The two best times of year to visit Medellin are late July/early August for the Flower Festival, and the month of December, when the city is decorated with millions (seriously) of Christmas lights, and everyone is in a festive (ie. party) mood. If I had to pick between the two, I’d recommend December as the best time to visit Medellin. In addition to the atmosphere, it’s the start of Summer, and one of the driest months of the year.
I really enjoyed reading this. I love going to romerias and fairs here, and some of these pictures remind me of fiestas in Tenerife. There are so many links between the islands and South America that isn’t surprising.
I also love (yes I’ll say it again) what you are doing for the reputation of Colombia, and Medellín especially with your stories. What you portray is a warm country rich in history, and not the image we get from movies, or indeed from documentaries. Only last week Spanish TV showed a docu about “typical life” for young folk in Medellín and it was the usual – if you don’t belong to a gang either you’re a nobody or they’ll get you. I was so happy that I knew a different side to the country from reading your blog.
Wow, thanks Linda! I really do believe Colombia needs some extra love when it comes to publicity given its long history of war and violence.
You look pretty good on that mule, Dave! Hoping to catch this parade next year, when our snail-slow Trans-Americas Journey road trip (200,000 miles/North, Central + South America) finally makes it that far south!
Thanks for posting this kick in the pants.
I know it looks like a mule, but I’m pretty sure it was a horse 🙂
I am currently helping a small, horribly underfunded horse shelter here in Georgia raise money. Would you mind helping us out by relaying the information to your readers? Here is a link to the synopsis: http://fundraisersonline.net/currently-fundraising/begin-again-farms/
I’m really excited to read your second and third Twice Upon A Time book! I will definitely be picking them up for summer reading