Arrived in Medellin today after a 13 hour overnight bus ride from Caratagena. Click for photos. Got off the bus and was welcomed by a giant aerobics class being held in the bus station. Hopped onto their very nice metro system that took me to within a few blocks of the Palm Tree Hostal, the best backpacker digs around. At the Palm, met Judy, a young German, who just finished two months on a project called Casa Taller Las Moyas in Bogota. The projects helps youth who might be headed down the wrong path with school and mentors them in activities like ceramics. Clearly she got some kids really turned onto working with their hands. Judy is a recent college graduate who will soon start teaching language at a high school in Germany. She is fluent in Spanish, English, German and even understands French. At first, her boyfriend did not her want to come here because he thought it was not safe. This FALSE perception has Medellin not being a very popular place on the Gringo Trail. It is truly a gem and people are definitley losing out by not coming here. We visited the top of Mutibaria hill where they recreated a Paisa village. The Paisa, as people around here are called, are the folks of mostly of European descent who settled the area by working the land on the promise from the government that they would be given title. They are known for being hard working and industrious. The current President, Uribe, is a Paisa and is known for starting his cabinet meetings at 5am. Later we visited the area around the University Metro station. The nearby Botanical Gardens are fantastic. They have a big exploratorium for learning physics and technology through play that is really impressive. They also had outdoor water works that were open to the public. This city is certainly doing many things right to make for a high qulaity of life for its residenst. It will be hard to leave here as it was tough leaving Cartagena, as it was leaving Santa Marta. My 60 day visa expires in less than a week, so soon I shall be headed to Ecuador.