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!

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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.

New Services From the Expat Blog

The Expat blog is offering some new services relevant to those who live in or would like to live in Medellin. These are the Housing in Medellin and Jobs in Medellin pages. I have not had much of an opportunity to use them yet but I am hoping we support them because they could provide  very useful services.

If you have not seen the Expat Blog it is worth a visit.

Mercado Verde Sunday 01 April

Just a quick reminder that the monthly farmers market is happening Sunday at the botanical garden. Well worth a visit if you have not taken part yet. Take some cash as you will find some very interesting food items as well as other good stuff.

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.

Cedula Hang Up, Meet the Contraseña!

If you are living here on a visa or will be soon you should be aware that the function of processing some paperwork has shifted from the old DAS organization to the Interior Ministry. The change is causing some delays. The issuance of your cedula or national ID card is one of these. I applied for mine the day I received my new visa in November and did not get my ID until this week. The specified waiting period is six weeks 🙂 What I received is a temporary ID, referred to as the Contraseña.  The cedula will be issued in June or July.

I will admit of having been worried and a bit frustrated. I can however understand that when a function passes from one bureaucracy to another processes can get bogged down. If you have waited, this is most likely why you are experiencing a delay.

VIII International Classical Music Season Starts

Medellin’s Teatro Metropolitano is starting its 8th international classical music season today with Stravinsky and Revueltas. The music to be performed is as follows:


Lament For Twelve Double Basses
E. Tabakov

The Night of the Mayas
S. Revueltas

The Rite of Spring
I. Stravinsky
When: 6:00 pm.
Prices: $COP40.000, $COP30.000, $COP20.000 ($US 22.70, $US17.00, $US11.35) Such a deal!
Where to Purchase Tickets: Theater Ticket Box.
Presented by: Orquesta Filarmónica de Medellín
Information: 232 28 58 ó 262 55 00

On 13 March there is a performance by the Boston Brass.

This is just the beginning. Take a look at this link for additional performances between now and the end of April. These include RÉQUIEM DE GABRIEL FAURÉ and REQUIEM DE G. VERDI.

Camarón y Pez: Good seafood at the Mayorista

If you are visiting the Mayorista wholesale market or just looking for a good lunch near the Ayura Metro Station try Camarón y Pez.  This small but very good restaurant that can be found at Local 12A in Block 18 inside the market complex. We had their seafood bowl Saturday afternoon and it was rich and creamy. The shrimp, squid and fish were all very fresh and tasty. It is served with coconut rice and patacones (fried green platano slices) both of which were also very good. At $COP 19,000 for a full bowl and 14, 000 for the half bowl ($US 10.70 and 7.90 respectively.) I would not call it inexpensive but the quality makes it worthwhile.

They also serve other seafood dishes including, but not limited to a ceviche bar, filets of robalo, tuna medallions, sea food pasta (Wednesdays)  and paella (Fridays).  The prices range from $COP 5000 ($US 2.80) for a bowl of fish consoume to the $19,000 peso seafood bowl mentioned above.

Getting there is easy by Metro. Just get off at the Ayura Station and walk west about a block and a half to the entrance to the Mayorista wholesale market. If you have not been to the the Mayorisa, it is a bustling, modern wholesale marketplace with an excellent selection of goods at some of the best prices in Medellin. I plan to write an article about this lively place within the next few weeks.

El Astor: Sweets in the City

If you have not been to el Astor,  you have missed some of the best candies and confections in Medellin. A tradition for tasty snacks and sweets since 1930, its popularity has never waned. It has formed cherished memories for my wife since the 1950’s and for me since I first visited Colombia in the 1980’s.

The original tea salon was opened by the Swiss couple, Enrique Baer and Anny Gipppert.  Yup, Swiss as in quality and Swiss Chocolate! The plot begins to unfold. While not real big on sweets I do enjoy an occasional chocolate and these are about the only ones I eat. Take a look at their selection here. The Aguardiente Mice (Ratoncitos de Aguardiente) are really good. Yes, I said mice, cute chocolate mice. Aguardiente is the licorice flavored Colombian National beverage. The combination sounded odd to me at first but their candy makers have created a delicious product.

Another fun chocolate treat are the Cucarrónes. These are large Swiss chocolate beetles. Just the thing for kids or anyone who likes a little fun with their candy. The Sacher lips would make a great Valentines gift or perhaps not to subtle hint any time of the year. There are more romantically inclined candies to chose from, kisses (Besitos de Negro.) These are a white cream filling covered with chocolate and I will vouch for their lingering sensation of excitement.

When I was kid I was fascinated by marzipan (mazapan in Spanish). I never got to try them but now thanks to el Astor I can have all I want. The ones I have seen there are the traditional fruits in bright colors. If only these had shown up in my Easter baskets.

So far I have been yacking about the standard line of candies made with sugar. If you want to, or need to avoid sugar, el Astor has a line of dietetic candies just for you. These include milk chocolate bars with peanuts, sugarless cookies, chocolate truffles and more.

El Astor also offer breads, pastries, cookies, cakes, and dishes perfect for a light meal. Nubia always stops for a glass of tangerine juice. It is fresh squeezed and worth a trip in and of its self.

My favorite location is the original shop on Junin. There are however other seven other locations including Medellin’s two airports, el Poblado, Laureles, the los Molinos Shopping Center, Puerta del Norte and San Lucas. That pretty well covers the city as you can see on their map (this may be a little slow to load).

One last thing, the service is very good. According to Nubia many of the waitress have been employed their since they were young women and I think this speaks to the quality of the people as well as the products.

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