Day 4: First Day in Medellin

We arrived in Medellin early in the morning and took an Uber to our Airbnb. As we were driving into the city, Medellin was not at all how I expected. Medellin was a huge city, it looked bigger than Bogota and was much more city-like than I imagined. I hate to say it but Narcos (the Netflix show) had a lot to do with how I imagined Medellin.

Our Airbnb was in El Poblado, which was the area where most backpackers and tourist stay in and often don’t really venture out unless it’s for touristy things. On our block, there were cafes, restaurants and bars which made it pretty lively. It didn’t really feel like we were in Medellin at all.

After showering and freshening up, we went to get breakfast at Cafe Macanas Medellin.

We had a couple of hours to kill after breakfast since we wanted to go on a free walking tour. We decided to walk from our Airbnb all the way up to the city center which took over a hour and allowed us to see different neighbors.

Once we got to the main area of Medellin, it was pretty hard to explore the area since there was a bike race, Tour Colombia that was happening and it was impossible to cross over to certain streets. Finding a spot to relax was almost impossible since majority of the coffee shops were on the other side of street.

A long walk later we were able to find a nice spot with a couple of restaurants and a cafe.

When the time came, we met at the meeting point for Real City Tours. We didn’t make reservations but fortunately we were able to do the tour with Pablo.

Pablo was an amazing tour guide. I thought Juan from our Bogota tour was good, Pablo was in a whole other level. He was knowledgeable about the history of Medellin and great at presenting. He was funny, charismatic and would answer any question we had.

In our tour we went to the following places:

  • Medellin city center
  • Old railway station
  • Alpujarra administrative center
  • Square of lights
  • Vasquez and Carre buildings
  • Palacio Nacional
  • Veracruz Church
  • Botero Square
  • Murals and Berrio Park
  • Shopping arcades/labyrinth
  • Coltejer Building
  • San Antonio Park

The tour itself took 3ish hours and the most interesting part was when we went to the city center. It was definitely an area where we wouldn’t have wandered in ourselves. We had to be very cautious and aware of our surroundings even in a big group.

We ended the tour in San Antonio park and got some good recommendations from Pablo on where to go out at night. We stopped by one of the oldest bars in the city called Salon Malaga before we went back. The bar had a good ambiance and antique decorations. We only had a beer each before we left.

For dinner we went to Mondongo’s which was a popular restaurant. We got their signature dish the Mondongo and two other dishes to share.

We wanted to see the local night life after dinner and Pablo, our tour guide recommended an underground salsa bar that only opens on Tuesdays. It was called La Papayera – Eslabon Prendido. Pablo gave us the heads up that the area is going to look very sketchy but safe. When we went got off the uber, it was very sketchy. There were a of shady things going on but once we found the venue it was pretty safe inside.

It seemed like everyone knew how to salsa even the tourists who went. For us, we just grabbed beers and watched. It amazes me how good at salsa some people are.

Day 13 – Last day in Singapore & End of Trip

Check out was at 1pm, normally 11am but we were able to score late check out since we got our room late! We basically spent our whole morning in the hotel room, taking our time and slowly packing. We weren’t flying out until 11pm so we had plenty of time to kill.

We checked out exactly at 1pm and stored our luggage at Marina Bay Sands’ luggage storage. The best part about MBS’s storage was that you can use your luggage ticket to take one last shower in their gym facility before we pick up your luggage and fly to the airport. Pretty much a game changer so you don’t have to worry about sweating in the Singapore heat as we explore.

Surprisingly, the first thing we did was walk around the mall instead of food since we had plans for afternoon tea at 3pm. I wanted to buy last minute souvenirs or shop a little but the mall was just full of luxury brands, ones that weren’t meant for the average consumer. It was perfect that we had to walk through the mall to get to the ArtScience Museum. Basically killing two birds with one stone since it aligns with our schedule.

The ArtScience Museum is definitely on my list of favorite museums. I didn’t get any pictures of the museum itself but it was beautifully shaped like a flower. There were two exhibits we wanted to check out – Future World: Where Art Meets Science and Marvel Studios’ Ten Years of Heroes.

We started with the Marvel Studios exhibit. I am a huge marvel fan so much most the information wasn’t new to me. It was more of a exhibit to celebrate all the movies in the past 10 years leading up to Infinity Wars which we already seen. I would only recommend it, if you’re a big marvel fan!

I would say the main attraction would be Future World. The exhibit itself explains a lot, art created with technology.

We sped through the exhibit pretty quickly since we had an afternoon tea reservation at Pollen. Future World is perfect for kids since there were so many areas with interactive art created just for them. If I had kids this is the perfect spot to bring them in Singapore. Next stop was Garden by the Bay for afternoon tea and because we haven’t had the chance to visit the Flower Dome or Cloud Forest yet.

We walked to the mall from the museum to get to back to MBS where we took a shuttle to Flower Dome. The restaurant we were having afternoon tea was inside the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay. I was surprised that we were able to get last minute reservations since we weren’t able to the day before. Pollen was right by the Mediterranean Gardens in the Flower Dome. It was the perfect setting for tea and it basically felt like we were somewhere in the country side.

Our amazing spread at the Pollen

Our afternoon tea spread was beautiful. Absolutely made for pictures. They taste even better than they look! I highly recommend afternoon tea at Pollen, if you get the chance to visit Gardens by the Bay. If you eat at Pollen, you get free admission to the Flower Dome so it’s definitely worth it!!

After our lovely tea session, we took a stroll around the Flower Dome. It’s insane how many different species of plants they have from all of the world. It’s one of the biggest green houses in the world and you don’t really notice it when you’re inside the Flower Dome because of all the beautiful plants

After Flower Dome, we went to Cloud Forest. Cloud Forest is more of an educational dome, letting visitors learn about forests located high in the mountains. You wouldn’t believe that this is a man-made mountain when you see it in person.

Cloud Forest was more of a short hike compared to Flower Dome. You just follow the path that brings you up and eventually loops back down to the exit.

We only had a couple of hours left in Singapore before we catch our flight back to Kuala Lumpur to head back home to New York. Since Jacqueline didn’t get the chance to see the Merlion, we decided to take a short Grab ride to Merlion Park for one last activity.

I personally think it looks nicer at night when everything is lit up, but you just can’t capture the overall beauty of the Merlion and MBS at night.

Before we head to the airport, we took a nice refreshing shower at the Marina Bay Sands gym. Nothing feels better than a cold shower after a long day of activities in the Singapore heat.

The flight back to New York was rough, mainly due to our long layover in Malaysia. It was one of those airports where you wouldn’t be able to get through security until the gate for your flight is open. We spent 8 hours+ on uncomfortable airport chairs – which makes my lists of things I would never want to experience ever again.

I can’t believe it took 44 days to wrap up the last post of my Malaysia & Singapore post. Better late than never I guess! (It has been a busy month with a lot of big changes). I definitely need to visit Singapore again someday. 3 days was just not enough to get the most out of it.

P.S. I’ll be heading to Rhode Island for 3 days, so the blog will continue! I promise I’ll try to share my adventures with y’all ASAP!

Day 2 – Museums & Seafood in D.C.

We started our day with breakfast at a cafe nearby, Emissary before lyfting to National Gallery of Art.

I got the smashed avocado toast with a fried egg. Mint mojito coffee not pictured.

The last time we were in D.C. we didn’t get the chance to go to the East building of the National Gallery of Art so that was the first first stop. I absolutely LOVE the lobby of the building.

I probably spent more time taking pictures of the lobby than looking at art in the gallery. Here’s the rest of pictures I took before we walked over to United States Botanic Garden.

Jacqueline looking at two Georgia O’Keefe paintings.

Art on the roof

The tunnel that connects the east and west wing.

It was around 1ish when we got to the Botanic Garden and boy was it hot. The walk took around 10 minutes but the sun was scorching hot. We didn’t stop sweating when we got there – it was a greenhouse so it felt extra humid! The flowers and plants were worth sweating for though!

Love the hidden dinosaurs in the primal plant section!

A room full of art in the Botanic Garden!

We wanted to visit the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, but the long was too long. We didn’t want to spend time waiting in the scorching heat, especially since it’s our only full day in D.C. and there’s still so much for us to see! We ended up stopping by the Hirshhorn Museum cause we saw a Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin right outside of it.

Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin

I’m glad I got to see it since we didn’t get the chance in Tokyo and I missed the exhibit when it was in New York. The Hirishhorn Museum was relatively small so we breezed through it pretty quick.

The original plan was visiting the ARTECHOUSE, but we kept getting sidetracked. We passed by the Smithsonian Institution and I had to stop to get a picture of the garden. It was just too photogenic to pass on.

Smithsonian Institution and the Enid A. Haupt Garden

We stopped by one of the galleries (Arthur M. Sackler Gallery) nearby to escape from humidity and we got lucky with this work of art.

Terminal by Subodh Gupta

Right after we left this gallery, we heard roaring thunder and saw dark clouds coming our way so we decided to go somewhere closer instead – the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

We ran into these two cuties before we got to the museum!

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History was massive. We only went to a couple of exhibits and decided to get late lunch/early dinner since we haven’t eaten since breakfast. It’s been 6 hours!

We took a Lyft to Navy Yards to grab dinner at Whaley’s and wow. Navy Yards reminds me of a mix Seaport and Dumbo In New York. I could see myself living in Navy Yards if I had to move to D.C.

Whaley’s when you walk in!

We started with raw oysters and drinks and finished off with a light entree.

We wanted to explore more of Navy Yard before heading back but unfortunately, it started pouring. We took cover at a Philz Coffee, got mint mojitos and spent a hour relaxing after being on our feet for most of the day.

The last time I got this was in San Francisco!

After feeling well rested, we took a Lyft back to the hotel. Once we got in the car, the storm caught up and it was raining hard. Not only did we get lucky escaping the heavy rain, our Lyft driver was great and since it was a Lyft line we got to “tour” around Georgetown before getting off.

I’m glad we got to do almost everything we wanted to do before it started raining. Overall a successful short trip and we still have two stops before the drive back to NYC tomorrow!