Saturday, 24 October 2009

A Midweek Weekend Away Part 2 - Santa Fe De Antioquia

Santa Fe de Antioquia used to be the former colonial capital of the state of Antioquia. It was founded over 450 years ago.

We stayed here for about a week 10 years ago. Not doing a lot, as there really isn’t that much to do. It’s a weekend getaway for those stressed out souls of Medellin.

We were in need of a few days of peace and quiet. Somewhere to relax and forget about making empanadas and chutneys for a few days. As we had a big order for a delivery on Tuesday, we decided to head to Santa Fe on Thursday. Stay for 2 nights and head back and work our arse off for 3 days.

Santa Fe hasn’t changed that much since we were last here. Just more people were here. The vast majority of the buildings are still standing from the colonial era, and the local council has done an excellent job in keeping the town looking as it did several hundred years ago. Well that’s why people come here.

Santa Fe is in a valley and is a lot lower than Medellin. It is hot and humid. The area produces a lot of great fruits, and these can be brought from stalls that line the road coming into Santa Fe.

So in a hot, humid place every hotel worth its banana has a swimming pool. This is what we or Lina was craving. We felt like a splurge and stayed at the former Governors mansion. It turned out to cost half of what we thought it would. Excellent news. It had air-conditioning and a swimming pool. Sorted.

The plaza is full, and I mean full of bars, restaurants, shops and stalls selling local products like tamarind, to which they make into small sweets coated in sugar.

As we are still in Antioquia the array of eateries all had the same food on their menus. Grilled meats, fish, beans and rice. No matter how far we travel we still can’t get away from it. As with most places in the world that caters for tourists. The food was pretty bad. Colombians seem to have this thing for over cooking their meat. I was pretty scared eating some ribs as I had just had a filling. Eating tough meat on one side of your mouth equals a sore jaw.

We did find one place that did some well cooked food. Even if it did include beans and rice. I was expecting a small piece of tongue, but to get the whole thing with beans, rice, platano, egg and arepas left me feeling like a bloated cow for the rest of the night.

Even though we were kinda sick of the sight of empanadas, we did eat a few of them here. But we opted for what is known in Colombia as “Empanadas de Iglesia” They are nothing special, it’s just they are cooked by old women in front of a church. Hence the name. The old lady had 3 different ones. A cheese filling, a chicken filling and a meat filling. So we brought one of each. As I said they are nothing special, but it was nice to sit in a small plaza feeling the late afternoon sun on our faces.

On Friday and Saturday nights, Santa Fe changes from a small quiet colonial town into a full on party town with the arrival of hundreds of people from Medellin. All the locals are out and about in their best clothes flirting with the new arrivals to see if they can have an even better weekend. A lot do.

It was interesting to see the two sides of Santa Fe from Thursday night to Friday night. It’s a shame we don’t have many of these places that are within a short distance of London. A few places spring to mind but not too many. Brighton being the best of the bunch.

There are a few more towns we shall be visiting over the coming months. But Santa Fe I am sure is the best one in Antioquia.

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