The hike itself started in the small town of Mesopotamia, about forty minutes from the town of La Union. I have been to Mesopotamia once before, having hiked from La Union—many years ago I also spent time in and around the biblical land of Mesopotamia, situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, when I worked in the deserts of Iraq as a land surveyor. There is no comparison between the two.
As there were only a few of us going on the hike we used public transport as hiring a private minibus would have been overly expensive. Using public transport makes one appreciate the convenience of hiring a private bus that is there waiting at the end of the day when, tired, hot and sweaty we walk on our last legs into the town marking the end of the hike. However, on the other hand, using public transport makes one realise what is possible if you are willing to put up with a few inconveniences.
This first leg of the journey by bus cost about 8,000 pesos, less than £2, and took just over an hour. It was a pleasant, comfortable trip apart from the music they played on the radio, though to be fair they kept the volume at an acceptable level. They always play music on the buses here and usually it is music I don’t necessarily care for, though on extremely rare occasions I have been witness to classical music and Rock music in English.
The sun came up as we reached the top of the mountains that surround Medellin and there was a lot of fog along the route which was a beautiful sight, though the early morning fog often causes delays to the first flights from the airport which is in the same region.
As there were only four of us we got a taxi from La Ceja to the next town, La Union about half an hour away which cost 2,500 pesos each. We stopped in La Union to have a quick breakfast and then took another taxi from there to Mesopotamia. This final leg took just over forty minutes and cost 3,500 pesos each, meaning that the complete journey, including the taxi from my home to the South Terminal, cost about 21,000 pesos, just under £4.50.
Mesopotamia, founded in 1865, is a village which is probably not worth visiting unless you are walking in the area or staying at a nearby holiday home. The main economy in the region is the humble potato, along with some fruit production such as strawberries and cape gooseberries plus dairy farming. We started walking at 08:00 and were soon out of the village and following a gentle, unpaved road which wound its way uphill into the surrounding countryside and to the start of the first climb. Mesopotamia lies at about 2,200 metres above sea level and the first climb took us up to an altitude of 2,660 metres. The weather was perfect for walking and photography, clear blue skies and a gentle breeze.
We finally arrived in Abejorral at 5:10, but there were no seats left of the bus and that meant we could get on but we had to stand for 1 ½ hours until arriving in La Ceja where many people alighted and seats became available. 1 ½ hours bouncing around in a bus wasn’t really what I wanted after a long days hike, but I coped adequately and from La Ceja to Medellin was able to nod off for a while, as by now it was dark and the interior lights of the bus were dimmed.
The bus dropped us off at Exposiciones metro station just before 9:00 pm and I finally got home at 9:30 pm. A long day, but great to be out of the city and get some healthy exercise— I know many wouldn’t like it but there are those of us who thrive on these masochistic outings.
This is the third or fourth time I have been to Abejorral and If you ever get the chance to visit the town then I would recommend spending a few hours there as it is quite pleasant and has some interesting architecture. In the past the zone was dangerous, however, in recent years things have improved drastically and now it is considered safe. Along the route between La Ceja and Abejorral is the beautiful waterfall called Salto del Buey that is well worth walking to if you get the chance.