The World’s Coolest Square: 49 Photos From Medellin’s Botero Plaza

Venus snoozing in Medellin's Botero Plaza

Venus snoozing in Medellin’s Botero Plaza

It didn’t take me long to decide that Botero Plaza was among my favorite public gathering places in the world. And that’s only partly because it’s the eponymous square of one my favorite contemporary artists.

Situated in the Old Quarter of Medellin’s city center, it’s home to 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero, the city’s favorite son, which he donated to the Museo de Antioquia, a world class art museum that dominates the square’s west side. They’ve been on permanent display in what is Medellin’s only open air museum since 2002.

What struck me most about the area is how welcoming the space actually is, one where seemingly everyone feels at home. Young mothers, drunks, beggars, cigarette and lime juice vendors freely intermingle with musicians, tourists, artists and bankers. Being surrounded by nearly two dozen stunning larger-than-life examples of human sensuality has a certain calming effect. Here it’s very palpable. Infectious.

Botero Plaza

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Salon Malaga, Medellin – Pic du Jour

Salon Malaga, Medellin

Salon Malaga, Medellin

At the Salon Malaga on Calle 51 Bolivar, in Medellin, Colombia, near the San Antonio metro station. It’s packed with old jukeboxes from various eras, the walls are covered with photos of singers and musicians, and coffee is just eight hundred pesos, around forty-two cents. It was good coffee, too.

Snapped on 05-Jun-2013; mentioned on my RTW Week #20 round-up here.


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Atop the Eiffel Tower, in Sucre

From atop the Eiffel Tower in Sucre, Bolivia

From atop the Eiffel Tower — in Sucre, Bolivia

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 96th (!) straight, was taken from atop the Eiffel Tower which sits in the center of Parque Simon Bolivar in Sucre, Bolivia. It looks nothing like the Parisian landmark, isn’t nearly as tall, is much more rickety but was in fact designed by Gustav Eiffel.

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Rumiñawi’s Perch: The Coolest Building in Guayaquil

Inca warrior Rumiñahui - The Museo del Banco Central, Guayaquil, Ecuador

Inca warrior Rumiñahui – The Museo del Banco Central, Guayaquil, Ecuador

This is Rumiñawi, a 16th century Inca warrior who has pride of place on the facade of the Museo Antropológico del Banco Central in Guayaquil. I didn’t see a portrait more confident, fierce and proud in all of Ecuador, warranting this series of five images for today’s Pic du Jour.

Like Atahualpa, the final Incan Emperor, Rumiñawi was also tortured and killed by the Spanish after he led an unsuccessful resistance force against the conquistadors in the northern part of the Inca Empire in 1533.

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Morning Mist, Gulf of Corcovado – Pic du Jour

Morning Mist Gulf of Corcovado, Chile

This is facing west towards the Gulf of Corcovado in Chaiten, the southern Chilean town that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 2008. This is how I described that morning scene in this notebook entry posted from the ruined town last year:

A heavy fog blanketed Chaiten the morning after I arrived, so I had little idea what the town and its surroundings looked like. To the west, directly in front of my hotel’s doors, the wall of fog made it impossible to gauge how far from the road, presumably a seaside road, the Gulf of Corcovado actually was. When the mist started to lift over the Gulf, first to appear was a set of ten relatively new exercise machines, forlornly staring at the invisible seas. Next, a gloomy lunar landscape began to emerge; large gray sandbars at first, then the debris they were littered with: dead trees, branches and brush of various shapes and sizes and portions of homes washed away by the raging river. When the fog dissipated, the edge of the Gulf finally appeared, about a half mile into the distance. Between the road and the coastline sat thousands of tons of ash and mud that the flooded river dumped into the gulf.

Previous posts from and about Chaiten are here, here, here, here and here.

Snapped on 03-Mar-2013


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Living up to a Name: Chilean Patagonia’s Enchanted Forest Trail

Chilco, or fuchsia magellanica, at home in the wild

Chilco, or fuchsia magellanica, at home in the wild in Queulat National Park

One way, the Enchanted Forest Trail covers less than two kilometers of southern Chile’s pristine Queulat National Park. But between its trailhead set in a lush dense evergreen forest and its terminus on a cliff above a clear and clean turquoise-tinted glacier-fed lagoon, it packs a lot into those 1.1 miles. Its name fits.

Located 35 kilometers south of Puyuhuapi on the Carretera Austral, Chile’s remote southern Patagonian highway, it’s an easy day trip and worth the effort it’ll take in securing transportation. Even the ride there, across an entertaining and photogenic stretch of gravel road that includes more than thirty hairpin turns that climb and descend through the park’s various altitudinal zones, is memorable for both the bumpy ride and its dynamic scenery.

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Pic Du Jour: Food Court, Sucre Central Market

Food Court, Central Market, Sucre, Bolivia

Food Court, Central Market, Sucre, Bolivia

This was taken at the tail end of the lunch rush of the Central Market’s restaurant section in Sucre, Bolivia. I spent more than two weeks here last year and made a point of stopping by for lunch almost every day. It was quick and tasty and very affordable. Even on days I splurged I didn’t pay more than 18 Bolivianos, or USD 2.60 / EUR 1.99.

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 84th (!) straight, was snapped on 06-Apr-2013, exactly one year ago. A couple previous shots from the sucre market: Lunch Rush at the Central Market and my favorite egg lady in the world.