IMG_0950-1-1024x573 Walking in Medellín: Our Salvation in a Quarantine Colombia
The landmark sign in the Parques del Rio

While restrictions on movement and commerce are gradually easing, the Colombia quarantine is dragging on. As we enter our fourth month of confinement, one of the longest in the world, one thing that’s kept us sane is our daily walking in Medellín. In the early days of the pandemic, the only people allowed out were dog owners for 20-minute walks at a time. (They never specified how many walks were permitted in a day, so our pups found themselves needing to pee quite often!)

Those pee walks were a saving grace. We even had a few friends jokingly ask if they could rent our dogs for a few days just to get out of their apartments!

Over time, the city has loosened the rules so that everyone is allowed out for two hours a day to exercise. We’ve taken advantage of it by expanding the length and scope of our walks. Before the pandemic, we were walking at least two miles a day, and we’re going even further now. The fresh air and exercise are just what these hiking- and nature-starved expats need!

Here are a few scenes from our daily walks.

ED7D7F09-ACE2-420B-B683-963383ED9DA9_1_105_c Walking in Medellín: Our Salvation in a Quarantine Colombia
La Matea, one of the parks just a few blocks from our house. We were taking a group exercise class here before the quarantine began.
IMG_0513-1024x768 Walking in Medellín: Our Salvation in a Quarantine Colombia
Our neighborhood was once full of beautiful old houses like this. Sadly, many have been torn down to build high-rise apartment buildings, but there are still quite a few left.
IMG_0957-1-1024x754 Walking in Medellín: Our Salvation in a Quarantine Colombia
Sometimes you can tell when a house was built by looking at the date on the utility access plate in the sidewalk. This one (with a bonus Tango paw!) is the oldest one we’ve seen. But some of the houses, like the one in the previous photo, look at lot older than 1953. My theory is that’s the year that municipal water service started in the neighborhood.
IMG_3488-1024x768 Walking in Medellín: Our Salvation in a Quarantine Colombia
COVID Chic
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More COVID Chic
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The corner empanada vendor reopened early on, and he’s doing a brisk business now.
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Moto-delivered huevos, anyone?

Our Sunday Expedition: the Parques del Rio

On Sundays, we go a little further afield to the Parques del Rio, a series of brand-new parks along the Medellín River that are about two miles from our apartment. Completed late last year, the beautiful Parques are a real showcase of Medellín’s innovation and can-do spirit. Included in the project are two brand-new bridges over the river that link the parks to the Plaza Mayor, Medellín’s cultural center. The Parques are one of our favorite destinations in the city.

Here are some pics – click on the first one to see each one in sequence.

IMG_0945-1-1024x823 Walking in Medellín: Our Salvation in a Quarantine Colombia
We had our last sit-down restaurant meal back in March at this little place in the Parques, just before the lockdown. We remember chatting with the server about what might happen to the restaurant. I wonder if it will survive?

We hope you’ve enjoyed this little walking tour through our barrio and beyond. If you’re still under quarantine, how are you managing exercise? 

60 Comments

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hello, Dymoon! Nice to hear from you. Yes, we’ve got lucky pups, but they bring us a lot of joy too 🙂

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Jajaja – we’re going to be rich beyond our dreams!

  1. What a nice Sunday “walk” through beautiful Medillin❣️ The journey was quite calming as a backdrop to our strange new world. Thank you.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      You are so welcome, dear one! Some of those street pictures might seem familiar to you 🙂 Hope you and Yanick are hanging in there and doing well.

  2. I loved the park tour of your beautiful city! The doggie bowl is awesome.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Tango thought so! But he wasn’t pleased that the water is off because of COVID 🙁

  3. Charles H. Wilsdorf Reply

    Love your blogs. Almost feel that I am there with you. Glad you still have your sanity. You would probably find it a little more challenging here.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hi Chas – yes, we’ve been watching the news about the U.S.; so frightening. Hope you and Teresa are staying safe and well. Hugs to you both.

  4. I could not agree more about the benefits of walking. Not only is it great exercise but it’s mental exercise as well, it’s restorative. I’ve always said, if you really want to get to know a country and it’s people, walk across it. After this year from hell, I will be more than ready to take on our 3rd long distance walk. I have my eye on The Dingle Way in Ireland. I don’t know why, but it’s in my head. In the meantime we walk as much as possible, exploring the surrounding neighborhoods.

    We are still living in a bubble, still have everything delivered, even though our state/county is reopening. It’s the only way we can continue to take care of our toddler grandson 3 days a week. We really don’t see an end to life in a bubble until there is a vaccine. Although, I fear unless we have a blue tsunami in November, that vaccine could be a long time coming.

    Your part of the world is not yet on our radar so I always enjoy seeing it through your lens and words. I like the egg flats on the motorcycle. That’s precarious at best!

    Take Care ~

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hi Patti – thanks for your comment. I can see we have a love of walking in common! We have the Camino in Spain on our bucket list. Maybe we need to check out the Dingle Way! What were your first two long-distance walks?

      I was just listening to a podcast on the FiveThirtyEight website with Dr. Fauci. He is hopeful that there will be “tens of millions of doses” of an effective vaccine by the first of next year. I have a lot of respect for him, but that seems wildly optimistic to me. And if it does come to pass, what about all the so-called anti-vaxxers who will refuse to take it? Maybe that’s just me being the cynic, but I don’t think this thing is going to resolve for quite a while. All we can do is be hopeful (and the blue tsunami will sure help).

      Glad you’re getting to take care of your grandson in spite of everything. Hope you can make it to Colombia someday – it’s a really fantastic country.

      Be safe!

      • We walked 350 miles on the Camino de Santiago in 2015 and 145 miles on the Camino Portuguese in 2019. You can find our posts in the archives on our site. Both walks were extraordinary. After our first walk I swore I’d never do it again. 😉

        • John and Susan Pazera Reply

          Wow – we will definitely check out your posts. They’ll give us something to dream about! That’s what I said after the Inca Trail, but now we’re hankering to get out walking again.

  5. Kathleen Dupont Reply

    What a pleasure to walk through your “town”, in a city👍. It looks serene and lovely out and about, with the pups. It’s a a win having for them, and for you. Timing is everything. Bet the pups love your attention💕

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Kathleen! Hope all is well with you there in beautiful Tavira 🙂

  6. Thank you, John and Susan, for the virtual walk. Tango is so cute. I’ve always been walking and during the lockdown, walking outside saves my sanity. Fortunately, we’ve been allowed to go out for walks and essentials. No time or distance limit. Have a wonderful week ahead and happy walking!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Hi Natalie – thanks for your comment! Happy walking to you too and be safe!

  7. It pays to have dogs! But who knew it would ever define how much exercise and flexibility you’d have, right? Thanks for the barrio tour. On our longer walk with Maya today (she gets one hour-long walk and two potty walks of about 20 minutes each), we decided to walk along the waterfront in our current MA town. It was busy and about half of the people wore masks. I wondered how the scene looked like in other parts of the US and the world. Your photos gave me a good sense of the situation in Colombia!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      It looks like Mass is one of the states that’s done a relatively good job of managing COVID. Half of the people wearing masks sounds like a pretty good average, compared to other places in the U.S.! Tango and Rosie send sloppy kisses to Maya 🙂

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      It is nice, even if you can only see their eyes! A whole new skill is going to come out of this – learning to smile with your eyes. Safe safe yourself 🙂

  8. Hi, John and Susan – Thank you for sharing your walks with us. I found your pictures to be very interesting. I’m glad that you are now able to get out more and more.
    BTW – Did you lend out any of your dogs? 😀

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Ha, no, but it was tempting to make a little extra income 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the pics. Be well!

  9. It’s so nice that you’ve been able to get out and walk around! I wonder if some people adopted dogs just so they could get out and walk during the lockdown? Or, like your friends suggested, borrowed dogs from someone else! It would be hard not to be able to leave the house for so long.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks for reading, Becky! Ha, that’s possible 🙂 We have just gone back to a complete lockdown for four days, so dog walking is it. I think we’d go a little crazy without it!

  10. Like you, I also cherish every single opportunity to walk outside now. Luckily, the area around my apartment has some decent gardens, and there are cats to play with as well. Stay safe and healthy!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Sounds lovely, Bama – glad you can get out. Stay safe and healthy yourself 🙂

  11. You are lucky to be able to go for walks in such green surroundings. Everything has opened up here in most cities of India. Yet, we aren’t stepping out until necessary. Social distancing is practically impossible in our crowded cities. I love the picture of that house in your neighbourhood. It’s the same story everywhere. Traditional structures being torn down to be replaced by ugly huge concrete.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      I think tearing down architectural heritage is a huge problem worldwide. Here in Medellin, there’s a general dislike of old things – which means many old landmark buildings have been lost. It’s sad.

      Glad you’re being careful in India – I hope things start to improve there soon. It is really a terrible situation for people who can’t social distance. We have the same problem here in our poor neighborhoods where huge families live on top of each other in small houses.

      Stay safe!

  12. This makes me miss it even more. Thanks for the great pix, and the wonderful insights. I’ll always miss Medellin. It’s a great place to live.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      You’ll be back – I feel it in me bones 🙂 Hope you two are having a lovely week.

  13. Sunny Branson Reply

    What happens to the eggs when they hit a pothole? LOL. We live on a faultline, so there are steep hills just a block away. I “do the hills” for exercise, meaning I go up and down, up and down. I’m up to six times. It’s a thigh burner!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Maybe scrambled eggs for all? If only the pavement got hot enough! It’s amazing what they’ll deliver on motos. The other day we say a REFRIGERATOR on the back of one – I kid you not. It was a small one, but still. Good for you on the hill climb – our version of that is to climb the stairs to the top of our 14-story building.

  14. The parks look lovely! It must feel so good to be able to be out for longer and to walk more. We wren lucky and even in quarantine could go for walks. It’s kept us sane that’s for sure.
    Alison

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Someday maybe you can! We’d love to show you around. Empanadas are found all over Latin America and each country has its own variation. They’re little half-moon pastries filled with some sort of meat or veggies. Here in Colombia they are almost always made with cornmeal and deep-fried – absolutely yummy but terrible for a diet!

  15. Walking has been a saviour for me too. It’s interesting to read that initially only dog owners were allowed out for a walk. I definitely would have volunteered (or paid) to be a dog walker! Glad you’re getting out and about!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Caroline. Things have gotten worse here and they’ve completely locked down the city again for this long weekend (Monday is Colombian Independence Day). But we still get our dog walks – thank goodness! Hope you and yours are well.

  16. This post made me teary-eyed for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the photos of the pure bliss of the dogs or of the flashback feelings of our walks during quarantine here in Croatia a few months back. That sheer gratitude to just be able to take a walk outside or the desperate feeling of “when is this going to end?” Whatever it is, I’m glad to know you are on your way back outside in Colombia.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      I absolutely know the feeling, Cindy. These are tough, emotional times. I do the same ping-ponging on those feelings. Since we posted this a week ago, things have gone sideways here – the numbers are shooting up and ICUs are getting more full. We’re in the midst of a four-day complete lockdown (once again) to see if it helps. All we can do is hunker down, keep ourselves and others safe, and hope things start to get better soon. Hope you and your family are safe and well there in beautiful Croatia 🙂

  17. Susan and John, what a great stroll through your neighborhood. It’s such a great way to get a sense of a place. You sound like us, progressing in ever-widening circles and adding new destinations. James is a jogger and I’m the walker, but we usually find places to stroll together. Fortunately we’ve bee allowed to get out for exercise during the Pandemic, and our state (Kentucky) had been doing a good job of flattening the curve. But the last 2 weeks have seen our stats rise again, so I don’t know if we’ll face new restrictions.

    And by the way, your pups are so sweet. 🙂 ~Terri

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Aw, thanks for your comment, Terri! Yup, our fur kids are pretty great – we’re a little partial to them 🙂 Glad things are looking up somewhat in Kentucky. The overall situation in the U.S has been hard to watch from afar – home things start to improve soon. We are also having a big rise in numbers here, so things have gotten more restricted since we did this post. Just trying to hunker down and ride it out.

      Anyway, stay safe and healthy, the both of youse!

  18. Susan and John, thank you for showing me around your lovely neighbourhood. During the UK lockdown we were so grateful for being allowed out once a day to exercise, it really kept us sane. I love empanadas, I am glad your street vendor is still there. So many people have lost their business, it is so sad. I hope things will start getting better for you guys very soon.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks, Gilda. Glad things have been looking up a lot in the U.K. The numbers here have been on a big increase lately and they’re saying Colombia won’t hit its peak until August. (Not sure how “they” know these things.) All we can do is hunker down and ride this out, and be grateful for all we have compared to many.

  19. Great COVID chic photos! And the dual drinking fountain design is genius — so simple! Thanks for the tour of your neighborhood. Hope you’ll be enjoying the cute cafe library soon!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Haha, thanks! Hoping to do a report from the cafe/library someday soon. Another thing to look forward to 🙂

  20. Interesting to see the COVID CHIC fashions. makes sense in our new world. I am glad to hear that you are able to get out for longer walks. It has been a long haul for you but perhaps the smartest approach as other places see increasing numbers with opening.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thank you, Sue. We’re very lucky to be here. Although the numbers have risen a lot lately, Colombia seems to be handling things better than several other Latin American countries. All we can do is hunker down!

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Ha, we’ve been fudging it a wee bit 🙂 And the strict measures are now only for weekends – we can be out longer during the week. Thanks for your comment – hope you’re hanging in there and staying safe.

  21. So interesting to hear that you also enjoy daily walks during this pandemic, lots of people are getting out there and exercising more and enjoying nature.

    • John and Susan Pazera Reply

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! Yes, being able to get out and walk has been a lifesaver. Hope you and yours are well 🙂

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