Yarrr...there be no pirates in Cartagena!

Trip Start Nov 29, 2008
Trip End May 08, 2009

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Sunday, February 1, 2009

From Santa Marta it only took 3 buses and 5 hours to get to Cartagena...and no decision-making on our behalf as everywhere we went, we were told which bus to get on.  Arrived mid-afternoon and headed straight to Cafe del Mar, a bar set into the city walls which looked out over the sea, just in time for a drink at sunset. We then explored the beautiful streets of Cartagena in search of somewhere for dinner...luckily a man found us and took us to a really cute bistro where we had vegetables and were very happy about that!

After a good night´s sleep we somehow managed to spend a whole day exploring the streets of Cartagena.  The city is like nowhere we´ve been so far...it has so much history of pirates and slaves and the buildings are all so beautiful, colourful and interesting. There are lots of plazas for coffee/beer and people-watching...one of which we spent a particularly long time in because there was a group of the most amazing dancers and a band in the park.  We literally watched them for hours...they had so much energy and were constantly smiling.  

We also got chatting with some more ridiculously friendly Colombians.  The Colombians we´ve met so far have all been so friendly it´s untrue...the couple we met in the park were offering to pay for a taxi for us back to their hotel because their hotel was cheaper than ours.  They always go out of their way to help you and make sure you´re having a good time.  So eventually we had to tear ourselves away from the dancers in order to eat - ate the most enormous dinner and then stumbled across what turned out to be one of the best clubs in Cartagena called the Havana Club.  They had a live band playing Salsa and Son music - so ofcourse there was also lots of dancing too!  There was such a good atmosphere and we loved the music.

The next day we were feeling withdrawal symptoms from the beach so we walked round the coast to the beach at Bocagrande.  We are usually very sensible girls who nap during the peak sun hours but sadly not that day...we were on the beach from 10am til 2pm.
It was sooo hot...we lost a ton of weight in sweat, urrrh!!  Silly Jev.  Back in Cartagena we had a post-beach nap to recover from the heat, made some coconut rice (we are culinary goddesses) and drank a few beers.

¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS A HEATHER!  We basically spent the day having nice treats and drinks...and an amazing birthday nap!  And more street wandering...Cartagena seems to be the only place where you can quite happily spend 4 days just wandering around the streets.  We went back to the square to watch the dancers then went to our favourite restaurant for dinner.  After dinner we went to Plaza Santo Domingo, the main square.  Here we had PIE and BEER...yey!  Before long we were joined by two Colombian men who serenaded us with their guitars...including a Spanish and English version of Happy Birthday for Hev!  We wandered around some more and then in a happy coincidence we bumped into Mario, a Colombian we´d met on the bus from Santa Marta.  We spent the night with him and his friends who treated Jev to birthday beers and bracelets and lots of funny Spanish chat.  We somehow drank beers in the streets and plazas until 3 in the morning, along with the rest of Cartagena.

We love Cartagena - it´s like a little dream world unlike anywhere else we´ve ever been.  It´s a mixture of Spain, Africa and Colombia and it feels a million miles from anywhere in Ecuador or anywhere else we´ve been really.  ¡Muy bien!
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