A Travellerspoint blog

Cartagena Day 2


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We walked around most of the day yesterday just taking it it. This place is crazy. I still can't get over the hectic pace. Kelsey is right - it would be really nice if they were able to close of at least a portion of the old town to traffic but as it stands there are cars everywhere. The streets are all one way and very narrow so walking around is not just like having a leisurely stroll. I'm sitting on the balcony of our hotel now and the bustle below is really something - I think I might be growing to enjoy it a bit. Vendors hawking their wares, birds chirping, cars honking, old men singing.....

Last night we had dinner at a little spot just around the corner where there are several tables outside. The street faces a little park so there is a bit more room and people seem to use it to break out some entertainment for the tourists. While we were sitting outside having some coffee, a group of young men threw out a large blanket in the street and began breakdancing. They were really good too - fastest breakdancing I have ever seen! Later a group of young couples broke out a really loud session of salsa dancing mixed with intense jiggling.

We walked a portion of the fort wall facing the sea yesterday. Until I let my fear of heights get the best of me and turned back of course. We also went to the Palace of the Inquisition which is a museum that houses a couple floors on Cartagena's history and some really sadistic instruments of torture that were apparently used on those that were deemed to be witches or have committed acts of blasphemy against the church. Yikes.

Haven't decided what we will do today although one item on the list is this little place we are told has the best ceviche going....will have to try that. We will leave Cartagena early tomorrow morning and start making our way back to Bogota. Buses take 22 hours to make the trip so it will be 2 long days of driving for us.

All the photos of the last couple days are on the other camera so cannot transfer until we get home. Not sure if we will have wifi tomorrow so don't worry if no posts.

Love to all.

Posted by madpax 05:24 Archived in Colombia Comments (1)

Cartagena

sunny
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We made it to Caratagena yesterday after a long day of driving from somewhere north of Aguachica where we had stopped for the night. It took us much longer to get out of the mountains after leaving Barichara than we anticipated. The roads were VERY windy and bad in spots. Lots of truck and bus traffic made the hills and corners a challenge. Most times not able to manage more than 20 or 30kph.

It was so beautiful though - the variety of trees and flowers is just amazing. A really interesting mix of tropical looking plants, huge flowering trees and evergreens. Once out of the mountains the temp and humidity soared. No idea what the exact temp is/was but it's hot. A person can't help sweat just standing still.

Kelsey got pulled over by the Colombian police yesterday for speeding and passing in a no passing zone. I think he tends to style his driving after the most aggressive dude on the road and goes with that. The cops were really nice though - I think the only reason he let us go with no ticket was because of the language barrier.

We went through a crazy little shanty town yesterday not too far from the border with Venezuela. The place was just soaked in gas. Each shack had several fuel barrels lined up along the road. Clearly a little black market fuel coming in from their neighbor.

Today will will explore the old town of Cartagena and visit portions of the fort that has been so well preserved. So far we are a little overwhelmed. First, just getting into the old town was an adventure. Cartagena is a city of 1 million so one doesn't just rock up to where you need to be. You turn down one way streets, you get honked at, you get bullied by vehicles bigger than you. We were hot, tired and getting a little pissy so we pulled over a taxi driver and had him lead us into old town. We of course have much to see here before forming an opinion but our first impression was a bit disappointing as it seems like a giant shopping village. Hopefully that will change after we see some sights today. Prices here are very high. We had gotten used to the rural areas where we could get a very nice meal for $15 all in. Here it seems you cannot even get one main for that price.

Love to all

Posted by madpax 05:08 Archived in Colombia Comments (2)

Barichara Day 2

sunny 80 °F
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Decided to stay in Barichara another day and wishing we had many more. This is one of the most beautiful towns we have ever been to. The people are extremely friendly and very patient with our terrible attempts at speaking spanish.

Mostly just walked around and took in the the atmosphere. Very laid back and mostly only Colombian tourists here. Found a billiard hall with a really cool table that looked like a snooker table but had no pockets so not sure really. Fed a couple of stray dogs the leftovers from our lunch. Sat at an overlook and watched some birds gliding in a deep valley below us. All such good stuff. As always, just thankful to be here and see, smell, hear and taste.

Paxton, this guy was made in the same fashion as your iguana....super cool:
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Posted by madpax 14:57 Archived in Colombia Comments (3)

Barichara, Colombia

semi-overcast 65 °F
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We arrived in Bogota last night and made our way to the hostel around midnight. Short night of sleep as we had to get up and meet the guy who brought us the rental car at 7am. It is a tiny little 1 litre Chevy Spark but it does okay.

We had a pretty easy time getting out of Bogota - didn't even get lost once! Drove through some incredibly lush, mountain scenery on the way to where have now stopped for the night in Barichara.

Barichara is an old colonial town of about 7700 people, cobble stone streets and beautifully preserved churches and buildings. Our hostel is a wonderful little spot not too far from the main square - even had a gated place to park the car so we are set. We hadn't eaten all day so we both were famished - just had a nice steak dinner and some beers for about $15usd. Can't beat that.

Some photos of Barichara:

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Posted by madpax 17:10 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

Heading South

We are lucky people. We managed to stumble across a great deal on flights to Bogota, Colombia a couple of weeks ago and now we are dusting off the backpacks, ready to fly out the day after tomorrow.

Kelsey's folks are arriving today and will stay with Earl and the kids while we are gone - another reason we are lucky people.

Haven't much of a plan yet but we do have a rental car and our first night in Bogota reserved. We have roughly decided on driving up the west side of the Andes and looping around to Cartagena where we expect to spend a couple/three days. Then back south, through Medellin and back to Bogota.

We've always loved a good road trip......

Posted by madpax 16:56 Comments (1)

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