The city of Medellín (Meh-deh-jeene) is known as the city of eternal spring, an occasionally misunderstood expression that has led more than one tourist to ask where this “unrelenting fountain” is located. Of course, the slogan actually refers to the consistently beautiful weather the city enjoys year-round: blue skies, bright sun, and a light breeze with the occasional afternoon shower.

We stayed at Palm Tree hostel, which was conveniently located behind another “Exito” supermarket. It had a well stocked kitchen that included a blender, so we enjoyed fresh fruit smoothies every morning. Colombia is home to many kinds of fruit you’ve probably never heard of, many which exist solely within the confines of the country. Maracuya, lulo, mora and zapote all make delicious jugos. We never grew tired of trying out new juice combinations.

The hostel was inhabited by a humorous mix of gringos from various races, ages and sexual orientations. One night, while Calina and I sat reading in hammocks, we couldn’t help but overhear their scandalous conversation and wondered if we were secretly being filmed for a new season of “The Real World”.

Medellín features a modern above-ground metro that makes navigating the city a breeze. In fact, the metro is a tourist attraction of its own! For 1,300 pesos (65 cents) you can take the Metro to the Acevedo or San Antonio stops and transfer to one of the scenic Metro-Cables for a great view of the city. We rode the Acevedo gondola up to the Santo Domingo stop. From here, there is another gondola you can take to get to Arvi National Park, but we decided to leave this for a future trip.

We’ve developed an appreciation for Botero, the famous Colombian artist known for his paintings and sculptures of greatly exaggerated and bulbous figures: his “gorditos” (little fatties), the Colombians jokingly call them. It was a delight to walk through Plaza Botero in Medellín and admire his enormous bronze statues. I had a laugh when I noticed that the private parts of all the bronze statues have been polished gold, in the same manner that sculptures of saints have their feet smoothed and yellowed by the hands of worshippers seeking good luck. I wondered what kind of luck these Botero worshippers were looking for?

We enjoyed an extremely healthy (and probably vegan) lunch at Govinda’s which reminded us of our former travel companions. Colombia has challenged our vegetarian diet more than any other country we have visited thus far. Empanadas are usually made with meat, other street foods (such as the buñuelos) are unbearably greasy and restaurant meals aren’t vegetarian unless we plead for a substitution or omission. In Popayán, even the vegetarian lasagna I ordered had a giant slice of ham under the surface. Fortunately, in the larger cities, gems like Govinda’s aren’t hard to find.

The next day we took a taxi to the El Poblado barrio to see the Museo de Arte Moderno. A young university student, who was a guide at the museum, walked us through the workshops and exhibits, patiently translating complex artistic techniques and the significance of abstract imagery into primary-level Spanish.

The main exhibit featured the work of Cuban artist/architect Carlos Garaicoa, which seemed to be a critical and somewhat sci-fi statement about the Socialist revolution.

The museum’s permanent collection featured many Colombian works centred around the theme of ambiguity. The ambiguity of these pieces certainly cannot be denied.

Our final day in Medellín came prematurely. We hadn’t heard or expected much from this city, but it had proven itself rich in culture and entertainment. We hopped on the metro once more to check out the Explora Museum, an interactive museum reminiscent of the Toronto Science Centre. We rode exercise bikes, played with hovering balls and watched kids dodge sneaky water fountains. It was a blast.

The museum’s aquarium was fascinating and stimulated our timid ambition to try scuba diving before our trip’s end.

We boarded a bus for Cartagena that night. Sitting in the dark we reflected, as we often do, on the many adventures that lay behind us and how little time we had left. I began to worry that the upcoming federal elections would disrupt our plans in some way. Politics in Colombia are heated to say the least, and although we hadn’t noticed any unrest, we really had no idea what might be bubbling under the surface. As my anxiety mounted, I recalled a piece of advice I gleaned from a sign in the Metro: Remain calm, DON’T SCREAM so as not to cause panic.