Thursday, December 24, 2009

Photo of the Day: Day 23

Over Thanksgiving we visited Cartagena, Columbia. Cartagena is divided into two parts, the colonial/old walled city (another UNESCO World Heritage site) and the modern city which has become a big tourist draw for the Caribbean region. We stayed in the colonial part of Cartagena and, despite the oppressive heat and humidity, really enjoyed our visit. The Columbian people are very warm and welcoming, something we have missed living in Venezuela. There were vendors everywhere selling mango, watermelon, fresh made rolls, coffee and Columbian candies. A favorite local sweet is made from shredded coconut and condensed milk and then mixed with fruit like guava, pineapple, lime, and papaya. It is very sweet, but also delicious.

Every evening in colonial Cartagena the streets teem with horse drawn carriages. The drivers give you a 40 minute tour of the old city pointing out important sites like the seven former convents and Mel Gibson's vacation home. There isn't a lot to do in Cartagena, but that is what makes it a perfect vacation destination. You see one of the sites, visit an emerald factory, or the beach in the morning and then go back to your air conditioned hotel room to nap during the hottest part of the day. You emerge at dusk to enjoy the cool of the evening and whatever cuisine you desire. We ate everything from Hard Rock Cafe hamburgers to grilled fish caught the same day. Then after dinner you stroll around the old city or stop in one of several plazas to people watch and relax.

along the perimeter of the old city, these former prison cells have been
transformed into small stores where one can buy all manner of local handicrafts
typical architecture in the old city
the traveling coffee shop -- these guys were everywhere in Cartagena,
many with up to 8 thermoses full of traditional Columbian coffee
outside of a very grand hotel this man was decorating
for Christmas by painting the tree white
a view of the wall that encircles colonial Cartagena
in November there is a contest to determine the most beautiful balcony in the city
the Castillo de San Felipe, a fortress built by the Spaniards in the 15th century,
beneath the fort is a system of tunnels totaling over 2000 meters
Isaac enjoying the Caribbean Sea
Caleb at the beach
Cartagena by carriage
traditional Columbian dancing -- they jumped and kicked
and shimmied so fast, I was exhausted just watching them
a blender vendor
happy travelers


Lauren in GA said...

I would look forward to that nap because I am a wimp in the heat...the whole trip sounds like it was great.

Does the white just wash off of the trees in time?

CStubits said...

Oh, I am so glad you all loved Cartagena as much as we did! I think we may go back every year. And you're totally right - the fact that there isn't a ton to do is part of what makes it so great!


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