Colorful Cartagena Colombia February 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

View of city from Castillo of San Felipe

Cartagena is one of the most colorful and beautiful cities I have been to. I mean the old walled city of Cartagena where we spent our time and stayed. We found a card at the marina with this Hostal’s info so we headed straight for there. We decided to take a bus instead of sailing there for many reasons. The bus ride was half a day and showed us the countryside as well . The anchorage in Cartagena is dirty and not very good as well as expensive for clearing in/out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The whole city has about one million people living in it. It reminded us a lot of old San Juan in Puerto Rico. The actual area is not large and can be walked easily in a day and explored in a few days. So off we went.  Narrow streets, lots of balconies, pigeons, squares, sculptures and paintings, things for sale like fruit, hats, beer, arrebas and various street foods. Overwhelming amount of color, smell, sounds and peoples!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     famous sculpture by Botero called La Gordita!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    famous painter named John?

We found a tour guide on the internet by the name of Edgar who advertised Free Walking Tours. So we met him at the Naval Museum along with 6 other English speaking tourists and had a wonderful 2 hour explanation of the city. I highly recommend him and he works for the tips he receives.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  This is our tour group made up of 2 English, 2 German and us.

 

The wall around the city has great views and turrets, guns and peekholes throughout. Great places to watch the sunset or go for the breezes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

People watching is part of the experience of visiting this city. The plazas offer music, dancing, children playing, lounging.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Bolivar plaza with pigeons on Bolivars  shoulder.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Another colorful attraction to the city are the ladies named Palenqueras, all dressed in colors of Colombia wearing bowls of fruits on their heads and big smiles on their faces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  They come from the village of Palenque de San Basilio about 30 miles out of Cartagena. They are said to be the symbol of the slave resistance and the survival of african heritage in Latin America.  Beautiful ladies who work hard carrying at  times heavy loads.

We noticed that many of the doors featured door knockers on large wooden doors. Edgar our guide explained that the knocker indicate the profession of the owner or his lineage such as royalty had iguana, or owl for academics, etc.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The plazas and squares come alive after dark. Musicians with guitars stroll playing and singing, people dressed up, horse and carriages readied for a romantic ride through the streets.  Street food continues to be sold and we sampled lots of fried things, dough, cheese, chorizo, candies made of coconut and sesames. This was taken by 2 Colombian men who spoke good english and shared a meal with us while we grilled them about Colombia and its cultures. Loved it all….and felt safe!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Hat sellers were everywhere, we needed a good covering as it was hot so we each got new hats. Hard to keep them on though in the breeze.  He was such an enthusiastic salesman we could not resist him.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

On our way out of town we walked across the bridge to visit the Castillo de San Felipe which was built to protect the city from attack from the mainland. It has beautiful views from the top but was very hot. It also  has miles of tunneling which has been opened and preserved.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Just a quick word about the trip by bus. The country is flat here, arid, dusty, monochromatic mostly but the people are lively, friendly, but speak very little English. We managed to communicate ok though with our Spanglish and gestures.  A smile goes a long way!

We crossed the Rio Magdalena which is the huge river system that goes 700 miles up towards Bogota. The pictures are taken out of the bus window.  Imagine sailing on this dugout with a big plastic tarp sail.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The buses were clean, air-conditioned and cheap.Frequently the driver will stop to allow a seller on the bus for a few miles to sell the passengers everything from soup to nuts.   The traffic is a conglomeration of motorbikes, bikes, donkey pulling carts, cars of all sizes but mostly taxis, buses of all sizes and trucks. The cacophony of the traffic is loud.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

We were happy as always to get back to Maraki and find her safe and sound.  We want to do a bit more exploring as we wait for a weather window to head westward again. Hope you have enjoyed Cartagena as much as we did. Let me know if the size of the pictures caused you troub

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Colorful Cartagena Colombia February 2015

    • Thanks Don for your comments. Glad you are on the mend again. It’s no fun getting older but the alternative is not better right? Stay well and spring is coming to you soon. Hello to Kathy. Lucy and John

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s