12.12.2013 28 °C
This morning we awoke to the sights of Cartagena Columbia, and we never expected this view from our ship balcony.
Cartagena is a busy port city of approximately a million people, on the Caribbean side of Columbia. Columbia is the only South American country to have coastlines on both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans.
We had a quick breakfast and got ready to disembark the ship and find our tour. We decided on a tour of the Old Walled City of Cartagena, time to see some history. We boarded our tour bus and got introduced to our tour guide - Judy. What a great lady, very good english and lots of knowledge about Cartagena, and Columbia for that matter. The population of Columbia is 48 million people with Bogota having 8 million of those people. Bogota is only an hour flight from Cartagena but due to poor infrastructure it is a 22 hour drive. And according to Judy your lucky if you make it.
That aside, Cartagena is a relatively safe city for tourists to visit and doesn't suffer from the crime and drugs that other columbia cites do.
During our ride to the Old City, we pasted by the Castillo de Dan Felipe de Barajas, an old fortress built by the Spanish for protection against pirates while shipping gold to Europe. Unfortunately much to our disappointment, and more so to the many street vendors. It wasn't a stop on our tour so we didn't get out of the bus.
After a few more minutes of driving which I was surprised to see, seemed very civilized. We arrived at the Old Walled City. Which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
We were greeted with winding streets, colourful buildings and lots of Spanish Colonial architecture. Judy did her best to explain to us the history of the old city and keep us from wondering off on our own.
During our tour with Judy, she pointed out several balconies full of flowers and plants. People do this for privacy and shade from the sun.
We were given some free time in the old city to explore on our own.
Of course we would find the house with the pride flag on the balcony.
After a lunch of some local cuisine, we rejoined our tour group for the trip back to the boat. Judy and our driver took us past some of the old homes in Cartagena and out along Manga Island, which is were all the new buildings are that we could see from our balcony on the ship.
Back on board we waved goodbye to Cartagena, this was easily the biggest surprise and highlight of our cruise. Safe to say we will be heading back to Columbia one day