Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cartagena De Indias

 The four hour bus trip from Santa Marta to the old city, showed us a whole heap more of Colombia… not just in the geographical sense, with the huge Rio Magdalena, the port, the fishing, coastline etc, but also their way of life, the extremes of wealth and poverty, and the never ending hussle and bustle of hawkers, road side stalls, vendors everywhere, selling everything from prawns and sweets, to hats and coffee.

The courtyard at "our" Casa
Our breakfast fruit platter
The foyer 

We stayed in a delightful Casa in the old walled city, run by Lucie Spragge and her daughter, Honor. We had read of Cartagena’s turbulent history, and it’s periodic sacking by French, English and Spanish merchant navies, including the “Dragon of the Sea”, the Pirate Francis Drake, knighted by his Queen! Only by walking around the city, the town walls, the fort, the Monastery “Le Popa”, the maritime museum, and seeing the network of linked islands, can one begin to understand why it was deemed such a safe and defendable city, from which to conduct the business of hoarding and smuggling gold!  After each of the sackings, new strategies and methods of defence were incorporated, from which the current layout has emerged.

The Centro Historico section of Cartagena, is a World Heritage Site, and quite beautiful . The restoration is ongoing , and it is quite strange to come across a lovely old building, trading as “Hard Rock Café”, or ” Benetton” .

We walked miles, toured the fort, the monastery, and even had a bus ride through the new high rise City peninsula, but it’s best to let the pictures do the talking!


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