Cartagena, Colombia is a city of many facets from the ancient stone wall built by the Spanish to defend the old city from pirates and brigands
to the quaint and picturesque colonial architecture of the historic old town.
Scattered across the city are parks, museums, restaurants and churches.
The old monastery, the highest point in Cartagena at the top of El Cerro de La Popa overlooks the Castillo, an intimidating fortress which protected Spain’s ill-gotten riches and safeguarded the city.
Tourists flock to the tony hotels, restaurants and high-rises that line the fine sand beaches of the harbor in Bocagrande
and spill over to the more local neighborhoods like Getsemani
or Avenida Santander (where we lived) alongside the Caribbean ocean.
One doesn’t need to look too far to find statues and sculptures in public spaces
or street art upon building walls.
Streets are filled with all manner of vehicles from taxis and buses to carts pulled by horses and donkeys or horse-drawn carriages.
And lacking all other resources, sometimes carts are propelled by people.
The residents of Cartagena are friendly, welcoming and quick to smile as well as to share a friendly word and point one in the right direction. One gentleman, posed proudly for us after showing us around a museum.
However, there aren’t too-many freebies in this tourist driven economy and the more colorful characters ask for change in exchange for photos.
And at the end of the day lovers find a quiet moment in the niches of the old wall to watch the late afternoon fade into night and the sunset reflected in the sea.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cartagena is an amazing city and we greatly enjoyed our time here as we celebrated our third Christmas as retired nomads and welcomed in 2015. Some places take a piece of your heart and we’ll leave a little of us behind as we move on to the Netherlands Antilles.
By Anita and Richard