I wasn’t expecting to love Cartagena. On my first day here I was feeling a bit of nature-withdrawal. After only having been in small towns surrounded by beaches or jungles, here I was in a city again and I missed the sound of the trees. Also, our first hostel was a bit nasty and had guys sitting there all day staring at the loud TV. So, a day later we moved to a better hostel and then it all started falling into place.
The old city is colonially beautiful with colorful houses and small balconies. There are fruit stalls everywhere and people call me “chica” and “mi amor” which I love. They had a delicious sweets market where I tried Colombian candy made of fruits I had never even heard of, and I had more arequipe than I would like to confess.
We stayed at the Getsemani neighborhood which is really cool, except for the water and power outages they have here all the time. Thank god for the headlamps we brought! And there I was, thinking we would only use them to trek…
We started (still working on it) getting used to the fact that anything you order in a restaurant will take one hour, regardless of what you ordered.
We came to terms with the fact that we will probably never have hot water, and also that we will never be allowed to flush toilet paper. There is a large trash can where you are expected to throw it out. This, by the way, is true in the nicer hotels as well. We checked.
And about the picture: the old city is surrounded by a wall with cannons built to protect it from attacks by conquerors and pirates. If you walk there at night, and peek into the cannon’s range you will find a couple making out between the city walls. For each cannon, one young couple. Kind of like a visualization of: love is the strongest weapon, make love not war, love will rise above hatred, etc etc. Ok, I will stop now with the sappy catch phrases but you can add one if you like.
Cartagena is the place where I finally feel myself slowing down, taking my time, rushing off to nowhere and ticking nothing off a list.