Could it be that we started to explore South America in its most beautiful, relaxed, fun and authentic city, named Cartagena, Colombia? From the very first foot we set here, we immediately felt enveloped by the Latino vibe and with its historic buildings throughout, it feels like walking through an open air museum. Every corner we turn, there's another breathtaking view that takes us back into historic/colonial times with cobbled streets, wooden balconies and buildings painted in different colours. The old city is fortified during the days the Spaniard were trying to defend the city, with huge walls, towers and canons remaining. We've explored the city over the course of a few mornings, went to a couple of museums that told us about the gruelling times the city had to endure when the Spanish, English and French all tried to conquer Cartagena, with its abundance in gold it was a very attractive target. Then typically, after enjoying a 'menu corriente' for lunch, we went to a beach at la Boquilla by local bus.<br style="color: font-family: arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif; font-size:
13px;" /> And what are the odds that we run into another Dutchie during our first trip up there?! Roland from Amsterdam sat next to us in the little bus and after we arrived at the beach, we find out he's Dutch. One thing led to another and we spent a really nice lunch together at one of the beach restaurants. We ate a local specialty called bandeja marisca, which basically meant lobsters, gambas, fish, coconut rice (yummie!) and paella-like rice. Of course washed down with a Club Colombia beer. On one of the other days Merijn went kitesurfing. Glad he brought his gear! Even though it was swelteringly hot in Cartagena, the nice breeze makes it very endurable.Our hostel was right in the middle of an area called Getsemani. This used to be a bit of a grimy area (and might still feel like like that at night to the less adventurous), and now it just is a very
lively area. We went to a little square Plaza de Trinidad where we watched locals selling arepas (sort of stuffed mais buns grilled on charcoal), boys perform amazing break dancing and a zoomba class given for free to the local community. Never a dull moment! Getsemani is also the area where all the street art is to be found. We had planned a guided street art tour but at the end the guy was sick so we just walked around ourselves and were able to find all or most of the best street art around. (pics in the previous blogpost) We also went to another beach with the local bus, Manzanillo. The beach was quite similar to la Boquilla, but as it was a bit further away, we got to enjoy sight seeing on the way to and from. Before
we knew it, it was time to pack up our back packs to go to Barranquilla - to the second largest Carnaval of South America! We are ready to party!
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