The Flower Festival in Medellin, Colombia

2014-08-10 15.28.15On Friday evening we took an overnight bus to Medellin to see the annual festival of flowers. It was the most luxurious bus ever – each person had his/her own screen on which to watch movies!  I was horrified when, just as the bus started moving, I got a sick feeling in my stomach.  The busride was 10 hours long!  Was I really going to get sick in the first hour of the ride?!  Fearing the worst, I got a plastic bag ready on my lap; just in case.  Luckily I fell asleep and I felt a lot better when I awoke.  I hope I never have the horrible experience of getting sick on a bus.

We arrived in Medellin early Saturday morning, and got very confused by the address we needed to go to.  The streets in Colombia are named (as in New York City) Calles (Streets) and Carreras (Avenues).  It’s a system that should be pretty logical.  Expect, here they named the streets ridiculous things like Calle 40DD which is next to Calle 40E Sur (South) and Calle 40C.  Luckily our (grumpy) taxi driver knew what our address meant, because I still struggle to figure out how these streets work.

We left Bogota after two nights to come to see the Festival de las Flores in Medellin.  It takes place every year in the first week of August.  The grand finale in a parade (the Stilleteros parade) in which farmers carry baskets of flowers on their backs.  The stilletas are giant shields/baskets made out of flowers that look extremely heavy to carry.  The parade represents the end of slavery – instead of flowers, slaves used to carry other people on their backs up steep hills.

The pictures (most taken by Dirk, thank you) explain the chaos and beauty of the two-hour parade, the heat and the flowers the best:

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Dirk is happily drinking sugar cane juice.

DSC_6779 DSC_6820DSC_68432014-08-10 15.05.32 2014-08-10 15.46.21
DSC_6809DSC_6821DSC_6824DSC_6827
DSC_6859DSC_6889DSC_6894I was surprised at how old some of the men and women were who carried the flowers!  There were helpers in the street to give them water and to assist with the heavy baskets.DSC_6918DSC_6920DSC_6930DSC_6931DSC_6933DSC_6957DSC_6973DSC_6978DSC_6982

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