This is part 1 of a 2-part series.
My friend Rodrigo invited me to his family’s finca in Copacabana soon after I had arrived back in Medellin this past February.
I was focused on the relaunch of Travel Blog Success the first month or so, but I finally decided to relax one weekend, and escape the city and my work for an evening in the country.
I met up with Rodrigo outside Universidad EAFIT, where he’d given me Spanish classes back in 2009.
We made a pitstop at his apartment before picking up his friend, and some groceries, and driving north to Copacabana, which is about 30 minutes from downtown Medellin (yet feels a world away).
Darkness had already fallen over the valley when we turned off the main highway, and began winding our way up the mountainside.
As we bounced around on the rough road, I understood why he had a 4×4.
The more concern I showed for how fast he was driving, the more pressure he seemed to put on the gas pedal.
As we drove higher and higher up, I noticed more exclusive looking fences and gates, and eventually, we stopped in front of one.
The gate opened and Rodrigo parked the SUV in the driveway.
The whole property on which the finca sat was basked in green lights. I later asked why green, and he said it was easier on the eyes than white lights.
I immediately began to appreciate the difference a green light makes at night. Plus, it makes all the green plants, trees and grass look cool.
Looking South, it was easy to see Medellin, as reflected by the glowing orange sky.
It was close enough to make weekly trips to the finca an easy affair, yet distant enough to enjoy peace and quiet, and the natural beauty that encompasses much of Colombia.
After showing me to my room, Rodrigo proceeded to give me a tour of the finca and property as a whole.
Due to the constant Spring-like temperatures in the region, pools and outdoor jacuzzis are popular features of fincas (even the small ones).
This property featured both, set below the main house, with sweeping views of the valley.
I’ve stayed at a few fincas so far, however Rodrigo’s was the first with its own soccer field, lit up for nighttime play, fenced to ensure the balls from rolling down the mountainside, with grass and a rock seating section for people to sit and watch.
A second, smaller house by the pool was where his parents stay, and I had the pleasure of meeting them both for the first time.
They told me to make myself at home, and while the air was a bit chilly, I ultimately joined Rodrigo, his brother and friends in the jacuzzi.
Two of the friends were police officers, and they shared tales of their recent trip to a narco-pueblo several hours away from Medellin.
The experience was akin to sitting around a campfire and telling ghost stories, except the stories revolved around drug lords.
Apparently a kilogram of cocaine is about 30% more expensive in Medellin versus if you bought it out in the country.
$1,000 was the going rate, if I recall correctly, for those buying in the country, while the richer city folk can expect to pay $1,500.
Either way, that sounds awfully cheap compared to what people probably pay in the United States and Europe.
Looking North, you could see the tiny pueblo of Girardota, as indicated by the church tower.
Once my skin was shriveled from an hour and a half in the jacuzzi, I made my exit, and the others did as well.
It was about 11 pm, and we were all getting hungry, so one of the cops took the lead and started cooking up bacon burgers on the outdoor grill.
I continued to use the time to practice speaking Spanish, and after dinner, retired to my room for a good night’s rest.
Based on prior experiences, I knew I’d be treated to beautiful views of the mountains and valley when I woke up in the morning. I was looking forward to it.
To be continued…