I woke up really excited. Today was the final for the world cup: France vs. Croatia. Although my friend’s love of the underdog win ran through my head for a bit, making Croatia appealing, I was going for France. I was going to watch the game with the Swed at some random bar, but I overheard this girl at my hostel talking about a place where all of the French people were watching. I love a good “home team” crowd! I texted the Swed and told him I was watching it with the French and he was welcome to join. I weaseled my way into Marie’s party (made up of a German-sounding Italian and Canadian). We walked about 20 minutes (uphill of course. What else in Medellin?) to the Selina Hotel.
Walking in, we were surrounded by Blue and White and Red. It was like little France. People had clearly started drinking a while ago. Seats were completely filled and space was limited. We maneuvered our way over the the right-hand corner, by the fan. The sun was starting to bare down on us and the fan was a nice deterrent. A bad was playing right by us. I wondered why they were all in Medellin with their instruments. They were clearly French and they had big brass.
Five minutes to go and people were on their feet singing French songs and swaying their Colombian beer in the air. Then the anthem started. I love a good anthem and the French had no problem singing at the top of their lungs. Patriotism was at it’s best in this little courtyard. Small children stood on benches by their parents trying to mimic the words, flags were waved and worn, fists were thrown in the air. Any doubt about Croatia winning was now gone. One poor soul stood up for Croatia’s anthem, bless him.
The game started. There was not one second of silence in the area. At 18 minutes, France scores the first goal. And the crowd explodes! Foam is being shot into the air, beer sprays, women are hoisted on their man’s shoulders. Flags are everywhere. Then Croatia scores. Our lone man gets an opportunity to have a little fun.
By this point, I head to the bar for my first beer. I was a little discouraged by the crowds, but figured we had time. By the time I made it back, there had been another France goal and yellow card.
Second half we have a final France goal and a weird France goalie error, making it 4-2. Even with the extra 5 minutes, France knows that it has won its second world cup. The band strikes up again, beer is flying around, and people are crying. I didn’t realize how big this tournament was until this exact moment. And I am so glad I overheard Marie talking about watching it. It was one of those memorable sports experiences for me.
I had about three hours to kill before I had to start my assent up the mountain to the airport. So I decided my last site of Medellin was going to be Parque Botero. Botero is an artist from Medellin who creates images of voluptuous people. He has bronzed statues in this park plaza and then there is the museum at the front where most of his work and work from his private collection is held. The statues are a funny picture-taker’s paradise. Any better, my friend Kyle would have been with me. It was just another time I wanted to be with someone in Medellin. I did enjoy the museum. There were some really cool piece of art, especially in the modern section.
My final act in Medellin was trying the Bandeja Piesa. It is basically a plate full of all things loved by the Medellin people. It’s not very expensive, but it there is a lot of food. I wasn’t a huge fan of the pork ribs, so I had those boxed up for a homeless man. That is something I recommend doing if you have extra food. Just have it boxed up and give it to people on the street. Most of the time, they pick through the trash for their meals. Meals are so cheap and pretty big. Asking for a box isn’t hard. Anyways, the food was delicious and filling and I was ready to head back to my hostel to pick up my bags and head to the airport.
As soon as I got off the plane, I knew I was in my place. Cartagena is a big city beach town. And I love every minute of it! I am a beach girl at heart. Well, I’m a beach girl who needs needs the mountains as a vacation place so Colombia is pretty darn great! Cartagena is hot and touristy and chaotic and chill all at the same time. The streets are narrow, the buildings are colonial style and colorful, and the people are wicked nice. Making my way through the tiny streets in my cab, I was overwhelmed by all of the people on the street. Now this reminded me of Brazil. There is this church square a block from my hostel and it was filled with people from all over doing a community Zumba lesson. Street venders were selling yummy fried things. Beer was plentiful. And the music was loud and fun. My hostel, Casa Del Pozo is one of the coolest hostels I have ever been in. It is small with great areas for socializing. It has privacy curtains for every bunk and a personalized charging station in your bunk. I was beyond in love with this place. I met some US and English people at the pool that night. We talked until 2am sharing stories of our adventures. The beer was cheap, the mood chill, and I was exactly where I needed to be after my little lonely stint in Medellin. Cartagena was already proving to be a needed Kim recharge.