Trip Start Mar 04, 2014
Trip End Apr 02, 2014

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Flag of Colombia  , Bolivar,
Thursday, March 27, 2014

We were late getting through the last of the locks on the Panama Canal yesterday so the Captain had to put his foot down to make up time. It meant that the stabilisers had to be turned off which made for a roller coaster ride to Cartagena, Columbia. Actually that's a bit of an exaggeration. There was some movement, as compared to the last few days on the Pacific side where we sailed along serenely like a duck in a trance, but it was nothing to throw up about.

We still arrived later than planed into Cartagena, which meant that we were up in time to see the ship's approach to the cruise terminal. Neither of us had expected the skyscraper skyline that greeted us. All of the tourist blurb that we had seen makes no mention of the modern town of Cartegena, which turns out to be a major gateway for trade from South America to the USA and Europe i.e drugs.

The main tourist attraction however, is the Old Town. This is a fortified walled town which has retained much of its colonial heritage and hence is protected by UNESCO. Two Englishmen feature prominently in the towns history. Sir Fancis Drake raided the town and plundered its treasure and Sir Walter Raleigh introduced bicycles.

The town is a $20 taxi ride from the cruise terminal and we were able to share a ride with a random Aussie couple who were next to us in the queue. He turned out to have originated in Leeds and was equally tight with his cash. Once we got to the Old Town however we went our separate ways, which was probably a mistake as we quickly fell prey to the street hawkers. They sold anything and everything and were very persistent but it didn't take long for us to learn a very effective negotiating technique which went something like this "you like bag, very nice bag, real cow, only $20, good quality , alright $18, real cow, very nice, for you $15" we turn and walk away, he shouts "$8". Minnie has to have it, and by now having fully absorbed the Spanish language, turns and says "Oui" ( Actually I have to admit that I dropped in the occasional French reply with a few "Silver Plaits" here and there).

The town is lovely, but it was baking hot and very humid so it wasn't long before we turned our attention to our real mission for the trip - restocking our Tonic Water supplies. But we failed miserably and returned to the cruise ship dry. Minnie is furious with me as I had turned down the chance to buy 2 litres of Schweppes Tonic in San Juan Del Sur but wouldn't pay the $8 they wanted. That now seems quite cheap compared to the price of drinks on the ship - bugger.

We were back on board the ship early and I used the time to do some research in the library and brush up on my winemaking skills. I now know all there is to know about specific gravity ( as opposed to non-specific gravity which varies depending on which planet you are on) and fermentation temperatures.
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Jackie K on

I like the look of the Old Town.

Steve on

You didn't see a Raleigh Chopper then?

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