Over the past week, I have been craving a change. Ever since Dan and I visited La Piedra and Guatape last weekend, I started itching to get out of Medellin again. After being here for almost 3 weeks, I’ve been starting to feel that sense of restlessness and ready to move on to something new. I do not want to give off the impression that I don’t like Medellin because I do. There are so many great things about the city and living here (which is for another post) BUT I lived in a big city for almost 6 years. Although I do love the energy that a large city brings, I think at this time in my life, I am looking for some peace, quiet, a slower pace, and to be more in nature.
With all of that in mind, I did some research on another day trip out of here. I wanted something that was close by where we wouldn’t have to stay overnight, that we could do on our own without a guide, wasn’t too expensive, and would hopefully recharge my spirit a little. Santa Fe de Antioquia seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.
Santa Fe de Antioquia used to be the capital of Antioquia (the department or state that Medellin is now the capital of) until about 1826. The colonial architecture has been preserved so well that besides the modern restaurants, hotels and shops that line the Plaza Mayor and some of the side streets, it has that feel of stepping back into time.
Getting there from Medellin is pretty simple and we did it easily without a guided tour which saved us a lot of precious Colombian Pesos! We took the 8:30 am Sotrauraba bus from Terminal Norte (ticket counter 19) and the ride was 1.5 hours which doesn’t sound so bad but I was experiencing motion sickness from the twisty, turny, up and downs of driving through the mountains despite taking Dramamine.
Arriving at the bus station in Santa Fe with the lack of a better term, is a total shit show. The bus stops on this ridiculously chaotic street with people yelling, motorbikes whizzing by, no sidewalk, dirt flying everywhere, you get the picture. We decided to go straight up to the ticket counter and buy our ticket back for 2 pm. I’m sure the scene outside we were witnessing completely influenced our decision to leave pretty early. I have to say that I was feeling pretty let down by the whole thing and worried that the whole town was this way. Thankfully, this was not the case at all.
As we started walking up a few blocks to the Plaza Mayor, it was difficult not to notice how beautiful the white washed buildings were and the stunning pink flowers adorning many of the window sills and roofs. As we approached the plaza, my motion sickness still hadn’t completely subsided so Dan recommended we get a juice and just chill out for a minute.
Side note: one of my absolute favorite things about Colombia so far is the endless supply of fresh fruit and fresh juice. It is always so easy to find and is delicious, and cheap. I opted for the pineapple (jugo de pina).
Despite the rude ladies at the juice stand, the jugo de pina was delicious and my mood was perking up as I looked around. The Plaza Mayor has a Spanish style, colonial charm with cobblestone streets and a church in the center with restaurants and a market lining the interior that is very typical and easy on the eyes. I suddenly felt very far away from Medellin.
For the remainder of our time there, Dan and I just walked around and enjoyed the feel of Santa Fe. There is definitely a peaceful, small town atmosphere that we were really trying to soak in and I’m not just talking about the architecture. The people were friendly, the pace was slower, and there was just less noise and craziness around us. We tried to fit in with the locals and grabbed a table in the Plaza Mayor to enjoy a couple of afternoon beers while just chatting and relaxing. Afterwards, we meandered over to Sabor Espanol for lunch which I highly recommend to anyone looking for delicious food and Spanish flair in Santa Fe. The chef and owner is originally from Spain and came by our table many times to make sure we were enjoying everything.
I think the restless feeling I was experiencing of staying in a place more long term can be normal with travel. I am sometimes afraid of staying somewhere too long, spending too much money there, and missing out on other locations and other opportunities – what if I enjoy somewhere or something else even more?! I want to see and experience everything.
This visit to Santa Fe was exactly what I needed. It took me away from the busy city and allowed me to scratch that itch of going on an adventure, exploring something new and finding some tranquility. I think that sometimes it is important for me to listen to that restlessness. I feel like it was my mind, body, spirit telling me something important. In the past, I’ve usually tried to ignore it and chalk it up to me always just searching for the next thing and never feeling happy just “being”.
The truth of the matter is that I do have time left in Medellin and I want to make the most of it. I don’t want to look back and remember the unease. Visiting beautiful Santa Fe and taking a step away calmed my restless mind and has actually given a very positive start to my week. I feel more content and am ready to fully enjoy my final two weeks in Medellin.