Late night arrival, and I took an airport taxi into town. The twisty mountain roads and motivated driver made it feel like a slalom race. Hold on!
My hotel room seemed nice enough, but had paper thin walls and single pane windows, so it was a good thing I was tired enough to be able to fall asleep through the near-constant din of music, horns, and people talking, laughing, and whistling.
I allowed myself a lazy morning, but when I eventually got moving, I asked at the front desk about any areas of town I should avoid walking in (and got confirmation that the route I intended to go should be fine). Along my way, I stopped for lunch at a place where I saw a bunch of people eating on the patio, and everyone had very similar things (a set lunch) so I joined them. 2 men who were probably 15 years older than me sat down nearby. One wanted to keep me company and show me around the city, and he insisted on sharing half of his (completely round and perfectly ripe) avocado with me. He cut it open with my butter knife. Very nice, and I felt bad for assuming they had annoying intentions and telling them that I preferred to be alone (which they eventually respected). Also: BYO Avocado is brilliant.
After lunch, more walking, and on into the shopping/dining area near El Poblando & La Florida. Latte and almond croissant at a place LP had recommended (good coffee, yes, but full of nothing but tourists). No power outlets, and bathrooms were “closed for cleaning” so I didn’t stay long.
I walked some more, and a sign for a place called Cafe-Bar-1977 caught my eye. At street level, it was just a door with stairwell leading upstairs. With just 2 people working, good music playing, and an upstairs balcony for peaceful people watching, I made it my home for a couple of hours. Also: on the balcony there were power outlets for charging my phone while I hung out. And very good cafe con leche. I wound up chatting a bit with the guy there – an Argentinian by way of Fort Lauderdale, Leo had just moved to Medellin and opened the place about a month ago (Google maps didn’t even have it, yet), and he picked the name because both he and the girl(friend/wife?) were born that year. Hey, it was a good year!
Since I liked their coffee, I asked him if he knew of any good coffee plantations to visit. He said he knew a girl who knew something about that and gave me her number (to contact on WhatsApp). She wound up being affiliated with a tour company, and they had a horseback coffee tour going the next day (with room for me to join), and I got a bit of a discount off the web price, due to the referral.
A bit more walking, then an Uber back to “my” neighborhood, dinner at one of the restaurants near the hotel, and another night of trying to sleep through the city & hotel noises. The walls were so thin that when the neighbors lowered their blinds, it sounded like it was in MY room. Add to that the outside noises and it was a lot.