Jardin Botanico During the Feria de las Flores

The Botanic Gardens are generally free admission but between 02 August and 07 August there will be an entry fee for the Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores show  (Orchids, Birds and Flowers Show).  This is a great show and well worth the admission price. The gardens will be close on 08 August to allow the show to be dismantled. Free for the rest of the year!!! To get there just take the Metro to the Universidad Station and bare right when you leave the metro system 🙂

Admission for the Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores show is as follows:

ADULTS:      $COP14,000 ($US 7.77*)

STUDENTS: $COP 10,000 ($US 5.55)

CHILDREN:  $COP 4,000 ($US 2.22)

* At today?s exchange rate of about 1800 pesos per dollar.

This show is well worth the price and  the effort to go. See ya there!

Official 2012 Feria de Las Flores (Flower Fair) Guide

OK, here is a link to the official guide.

And here is a general website about the Flower Fair:  http://www.feriadelasflores.medellin.travel/

The 2012 Feria de las Flores Starts 03 August.

It’s getting close to the time of year again when Medellin goes crazy for a month.  This is a link to the preliminary schedule. I will post the final version when it is available.

Lots of fun stuff to do including the big orchid/flower show at the Botanical Gardens. Here is some amateur video from last years show.

Other popular events include the antique car parade (Desfile de Autos Clásicos), the horse parade (caballgata) and of course the sillateros. These are traditional floral displays that originated with transporting the flowers from Santa Elena where they are/were grown to the market places of Medellin. They are beautiful indeed.

One of my favorite events is the sancocho contest in Santa Elena. Sancocho is a delicious stew and in this event all the surrounding villages compete for the honor of  making the best. The results are of course for sale 🙂

These are just a few of the events that will take place all over the city and for most of the month. Please check the preliminary schedule for a better idea of just how much happens during August.

Earth Hour in Medellin 31 March 2012

The Botanic Garden is getting behind the World Wildlife Fund and the international celebration of  Earth Hour or Hora del Planeta (in Spanish). There will be a bike ride leaving from Carlos E. Restrepo at 6:30 p.m. with arrival at the Parque de los Deseos at 8:00 p.m. That signal the start of a free concert by Medellin’s Philharmonic Orchestra.The parque is located adjacent to the Jardin Botanico and just to the south.

Other Colombian cities celebrating Earth Hour include Bogotá, Cali, Pasto, Yumbo and Mocoa.  Please tun off you lights between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. to remind people we need to be reducing our contributions to adverse climate change. Please think carefully about what your personal responsibility is in protect our future.

In Giradota It’s Lechona on Sundays

We took a trip Sunday down to Girardota and Barbosa to see what these towns have to offer. The towns themselves are not particularly interesting visually. Both have central plazas and reasonably nice churches but they have little of the charm of more traditional locations like San Pedro de Milagros, el Retiro and Helicona. Given we were using public transport we did not have time to explore their surroundings. They are known however for outdoor recreational facilities with pools, lounges, food and drink

We did make one very nice discovery in Girardota. On Sunday’s, lechona (suckling pig stuffed with rice) abounds and both restaurants and street vendors sell this delicious dish. We found it offered at both $COP 7,000 and 8,000. This comes out to about $US 4.00 and 4.50 for a generous plateful + salad, potatoes and a small arepa.

We also chatted with a man in Girardota who told us that in the San Andres neighborhood (vereda) there is a group that performs local traditional dances on demand and serves meals for tourists. We will be visiting there to see what this is all about and will report back.

If you decide to drop in for a Sunday treat you can buy an integrated ticket that includes both your Metro fare to the Niquia Station and a ticket for a connecting bus down to Girardota. These are available at the Metro ticket booth where you enter the system. The bus ride is about 15 or 20 minutes so it is close enough for a comfortable day trip.

If you go, please let us know what you think!

A Downtown Walk

Medellin’s downtown has two streets dedicated to pedestrian use.

Carabobo

Carabobo between San Juan and La Playa provides a nice corridor sheltered from the diesel exhaust of the the buses.  Lots of shops, eateries and something interesting at both ends. The portion of Carabobo south of San Juan is characterized by shops selling automotive parts. At the intersection with  San Juan you will find the Parque de la Luz and the goverenment complex called la alpujarra.

The architecture of the alpujarra  is interesting in its self. I am partial to the the sculptures of Rodrigo Arenas Betancur in any case and the work that graces the main plaza there is representative of his odes to human aspiration.

The north end of the pedestrian section of Carabobo includes both the Veracruz Church and the Museo de Antioquia. The La Inglesia de la Veracruz is, I believe the oldest church in the Medellin area and was started in 1682 by el Capitán Juan Céspedes de Hinestroza. The Museo de Antioquia houses a collection of art reflecting the cultural environment of Antioquia. They have an excellent permanent collection and host rotating shows of cultural and artistic significance. I love the place!

I also love the museums patio restaurant that overlooks the Botero Plaza.  Nubia and I often enjoy a snack or meal, just sitting watching the people in the plaza. There are lots of tourists both from other parts of Colombia and of international origin in the plaza and enjoying the restaurant. If you want to meet others visiting Medellin this is a good spot.

This entire walking route has the advantage of never being more than a few blocks from the Metro. Stations nearby include, from south to north, Alpujarra, San Antonio, and Parque Berrio.

Junín

The second pedestrian corridor is Junín. It can be accessed from the end of Carabobo by walking just two blocks to the east on La Playa. A turn to the left will take you on to Junin where you will find the original location of El Astor. This is a a great place for a snack on excellent pastries and confections. A bit further to the north on the left you will find the Versalles restaurant. Versalles has a great atmosphere typical of its heritage as a gathering place for intellectuals and artists. You never know who you may see here. The food also is good and the pastries sold at the entrance are excellent. I really like the Palitos de Guayaba (Guava Sticks). To date these are just $COP 1000 ( US$ 0.53 at today’s exchange rate) and IMHO the best treat buy in Medellin.

Just a few steps further you will find the Parque de Bolivar and Metropolitan Cathedral.  The park is a bit seedy but the cathedral is beautiful both outside and within. They have a pipe  organ well worth hearing if you get the chance.

Please take advantage of these pedestrian thoroughfares.  They will give you an insight into the vitality and commercial spirit of Medellin and introduce you  to many of the pleasures of the Center City.

Gregorian Chant in Medellin October 29th

On October 29th the Metropolitan Theater will be presenting a program of Gregorian Chant as part of the VII Annual Medellin Cultural Classical Music Season (VII TEMPORADA INTERNACIONAL DE MÚSICA CLÁSICA MEDELLÍN CULTURAL.) The program will be performed by the Paris Gregorian Chorus and Schola Gregoriana of Bogota beginning at 6:00 PM. The tickets are $COP 40,000, 30,000 and 20,000 ($US 20.89, 15.67 and 10.44). These prices are calculated at today’s exchange rate of about 1914 COP per dollar.

If you have not been to the Metropolitan Theater it is a beautiful venue with good acoustics. For this kind of performance I think even the least expensive seats will be just fine. The Theater is located at the Plaza Mayor just west of the Alpujarra. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the following locations. Ticket office at the theater, Prodiscos (Unicentro), Entertainment Store (El Tesoro), and the following  Éxito supermarkets; Colombia, Envigado, Laureles, El Poblado, Bello, San Antonio, Rionegro. The theaters phone number is 232-2858.

See you there…

Jazz Festival in Medellin

Mark  June 23rd, 24th and 25th on your calendars for the Second Annual University Jazz Festival at the Metropolitan Theater in Medellin. You can find more information in Spanish here. The schedule is as follows:

Thursday 23 June 8:00 PM

Umazz Jazz Quintet Amherst (Massachusetts)
Juilliard Jazz Ensemble (New York)

Friday 24 June 8:00 PM

Ensamble de Jazz de Bellas Artes
University of New Orleans jazz Ambassadors

Saturday 24 Jun 6:00 PM

Night of Big Bands (Eafit & U. de A.)

Tickets are 40,000 30,000 and 20,000 pesos.

Initiation Concert for The Restored Organ At the Metropolitan Cathedral

Yesterday’s initiation concert featuring the restored Walcker Organ in Medellin’s Metropolitan Cathedral filled this beautiful building with music. The grand instrument features 3,478 pipes and is said to be the largest and best pipe organ in South America. Originally constructed during 1932 and 1933, it was restored once around 1972 and again during the last year.

The musical program included:

  • An improvisation by Wolfgang Seifen with prelude, adagio and fugue in the old German style.
  • Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonata Number 2 in C minor, opus 65, Thorsten Mader organ.
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi “Sabat Mater” with the Colegio Aleman Choir and Thorsten Mader organ.
  • An improvisation by Wolfgang Seifen with symphonic fantasy and fugue in the German Romantic style.
  • Schumann’s Four Sketches for pedal piano, Opus 58, Thorsten Mader organ.
  • Mozart’s “Ave Verum” with the Colegio Aleman Choir and Thorsten Mader organ.
  • Symphonic Triptych with Colombian themes, improvised by Wolfgang Seifen.

The restoration was conducted with significant participation by the Department of Antioquia, the City of Medellin, the German Government and Comfenalco. We anticipate hearing many more secular concerts as well as organ music during the regular services at the cathedral.

Metropolitan Theater Offerings in August

If you would like to download the Teatro Metropolitanos offering each month to get more details than I generally provide here please visit their program page. At this site you can download the current months offerings and sign up to receive email program notifications.To download the program .jpg  just click the button near the bottom of the page which says “Descarga Aquí Nuestro Programación.” This will be in Spanish. Please note that the prices are given under the subheadings: “Boleteria.”

2010 is the bicentennial year of Colombian independence and the theater is participating in the celebration with the following offering:

Bolívar: Fragmentos de un Sueño: This is based on texts by William Ospina and is directed by Omar Porras. It is described as an echo of contemporary history reflected from events in the life of Simón Bolívar. Performances are scheduled for the 13th, 14th and 15th.

On the 4th there is an homage to Jaime Llanos Gonzales a composer and performer of bambucos, pasillos and songs in other Colombian musical styles. The bambucos and pasillos are very traditional forms and include some of Colombia’s most beautiful music.This composer sang from roots here in Antioquia to all of Colombia.

On the 5th the Czech Trio will perform music by Suk, Mendelssohn and Dvorak.

On the 22ed A kids version of the Magic Flute is offered.

On the 23rd the British Carducci Quartet will perform works by Mozart, Glass and Schumann.

On the 20th, 26th and 27th the opera Lucia di Lammermor by Donizetti is on tap.

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