This article interest the traveler. But in traveling for free, we always go further. Any deformation is often not accompanied by a coherent reality. If the mood swings, we experience during a trip, often due to tension or nerves. But as I leave it, so you can see a more intimate and unknown piece of Cartagena de Indias. Set up your travel archives.
Excerpt from my daily traveler during my stay in Cartagena de Indias
Finally, after 3 years of travel all over the world, I have set foot in Cartagena de Indias. As if it were the icing on the cake, I left this place of dreams for the end of the trip through the Colombian countryside. After my adventures in this wonderful country. I put an end to my personal experience on the one hand and our trip together when we met at the airport of Bogota Lourdes. It seems that it was yesterday and at the same time it seems so far away, that you realize what you get to deform while traveling. The days become one more. You only realize that it is Sunday because the shops are closed. You can read also our Halong bay travel experience.
That’s the great thing about traveling
The days are never the same, always changing airs without waiting for anything. Just let yourself be carried away by what has to come. You go from one place to another as if by inactivity, because your soul continually asks you for movement, thirst for knowing places, people, and tasty foods to try. You cannot be more adventurous in this life than you get traveling with a backpack.
Today Colombia has behaved well with us. He has shown us an unkind but real face. Our path from Palomino to Santa Marta has been slow. Our departure from Taganga has been clean. Almost without waiting, picking up the backpacks where we had left them, arriving in Cartagena de Indias around five in the afternoon.
The road between Santa Marta and Barranquilla has been devastating. It seems that the whole country is being built being perpetually in works. But the shocking thing is the extreme poverty in which northerners live on its shores. The misery seems normal here and the poor do not stop being a great majority that lives in misery. The houses, to call them something, are dirty, ugly and full of several families living together.
I would say without any prejudice that they are up to the poverty that I came to see in Sulawesi, coming down from the Tana Toraja in the Indonesian country. That trip took me very deep because I did not think that people could live like this for a lifetime. Without changes, without a future and even less with a minimum quality of life, not to say that the poor Indonesians and a part of the Colombians have robbed dignity without them knowing it.
Cartagena in his way falls in love
Little or almost nothing we have been able to see of this legendary city, the departure of the best productions in Hollywood. The night in the old town is beautiful. Buildings with great pleasure, are illuminated with finesse and astuteness to attract photographers and diners to the dozens of restaurants that populate their perfect squares.
The wall is seen when you arrive in the city of a million soles. Cartagena de Indias is getting dressed so that in the future it will be one of the essential destinations of the globe. I would dare say that like me, many have come to Colombia to see this city with such an exotic name. Anyway, this place is to walk calmly, without hurry and letting yourself be carried away by the “no time”, the “no watch” and the desire to breathe with each breath, the freedom to feel that the trip has gone windy Stern.
We can get many positive things from this trip through the country and almost nothing negative on a personal level. It is foolish not to forget that the country needs changes to combat the bestial differences between rich and poor. I could also say that Colombia allows itself to be pampered, it lets itself go, but you always have to be alert. I am not so naive as to put on the “all goes well” and “live the life” bandage, when I am the first to recognize that the thieves are crouched in the shadows of the night, waiting for an opportunity to fuck up the trip. Colombia is dangerous, but not in excess as Peru could be when I was years ago, but it is clear that security is so low and danger so high.
Well, what are we going to say about Latin America? His bad reputation is deserved. Of course. No frills or ornaments. This side of the world needs more tact and more opportunities for a people that never cease to fight against poverty and crime.
The outskirts of Santa Marta were similar to the Favelas of Brazil. You may miss it the first time because you go to the beach and the emotion shakes where it should not and you do not realize it. But a second pass makes you see that they are wrong.
We will see how we are given these ten days of travel that we have left.
Cartagena and its cobbled streets
I may have a little more time to get the taste of the city. Compare it with Cuzco is much, but it is clear that Cartagena has the sea in their skirts, almost touching the wall and that gives a lot of play.
Today morning has served to pay the boat to Panama, go to the laundry and manage the return of the Lourdes ticket that had to take in Madrid to justify the departure of the Colombian countryside.
Today I remembered a lot of my poor father. I have continuously thought of his voice. It is inevitable that he thinks so much. I would have sent him an urgent mail saying that I am in the city we had talked so much about when he was in this world. I would have said proudly that I have done it, that I have arrived in Cartagena de Indias. So that, with his illusion from a distance he would have given me wings as he always gave them to me.
My father, We were two drops of water in what to run good adventures was concerned, what I had the joy of having been born later and able to afford these things, unattainable for him. Born almost in the post-war Spanish, had to wait to meet his youth, his maturity and after having taken two children forward began to unfold his wings to fly to unforgettable countries, summoning from the depths of his soul, the adventurer who He had been locked up for so many years.
The walled city is of insulting beauty
At night it could be said that it duplicates its romanticism. Your lighting is perfect. The dark streets in these latitudes of the country are different, they are evocative and not afraid as the vomited Bogota.
Bocagrande is the Miami of Cartagena. This morning a walk along the beach made us see how different it is from the rest. Luxury apartments and hotels dot the landscape, fucking everything in its path. But well, we can say that it is separated from the most interesting part of the city, and it remains on the horizon like a great asterisk that has nothing to do with the history and culture of this capital of the Colombian Caribbean.
Then on the other hand, we have the Getsemaní neighborhood, where chaos reigns in every corner, where traffic is continually congested, where car horn ends exhausted from so much battle, where people flock to and from a store to another, where the juice vendors offer succulent chips to their customers, where the poor wretches are asking for something to put in their mouths. Gethsemane in its own way, is authentic Colombia, the city that one expects to find when it steps on the South American soil. For that and much more, Cartagena has an endless range of possibilities. We can see wells come out dead at night, when the tide rises, bathing the beautiful streets with national shit, reflecting under the moonlight to expensive conventions in the seaport, to receive wealthy congressmen.
For a change in our travels
We have eaten food from another country, none other than Greece. But hey, as I see something difficult to go for the price, at least I feed my stomach, to see if in this way I deceitfully turn off my hunger to know the country.
A walk through the wall at sundown is mandatory. The sea a few meters away, we feel the soft breaking of the waves. The kites are still flying in the Caribbean as in the rest of Colombia. Couples kiss, love and promise each other a future together under the walls that so many battles lived in the past. As silent witnesses, how many things they could tell us, how many deaths, betrayals, wars, and romances them will have caressed with their porosities. How much history buried between his mortars that now gives shelter to new lovers under the sunset.
Cartagena, that I take by where I catch you I do not catch you at all. I need days to be able to wrap myself around you, to hold me and not let me go, to give me a little more than what the dumb people here give the foreigner, mistaking him for a wallet with legs, who walks without direction remove the money with any poorly crafted crafts.
Few things can seem more surreal than knowing the captain who will take us by boat for almost six days to Panama. The photograph of the web page does not correspond to its appearance and I would swear that it is not the same. The guy who showed up seems very nice, but with his dragons, dirty beard and his clothes, if he had asked me for a handout, he would have given it to me. I find him lying, sleeping on a street and fits perfectly into the miserable landscape of dark Colombia.
Let’s give the benefit of the doubt and be guided by the saying that appearances are deceiving because if we do not cling to that, we could say that we are going to go under.
I have no idea, how will this new adventure ever come to us? I have never done anything similar. I am a lover of the sea, but I sincerely hate to sail because I find it simply boring. Let us lead by the illusion that we will arrive in Panama in two days after spending two days sailing on the high seas without seeing absolutely nothing or better, seeing the infinite horizon without parading, without changing, as if it were a perpetual slab, without giving step to news or surprises. That may be the surprise, the calm, the loneliness in the deep blue of the Caribbean ocean, but I cannot comment on that because as I said, I’ve never done such a venture.
The discomforts are served
Lack of privacy, schedules imposed and rules of coexistence that I tried to avoid during my last trips, never sleeping in shared dormitories. But this is different and the only way to attack Panama is by sea, but I would stay at the gates of the San Blas archipelago from the peninsula.
Today we woke up early and we went to the Bazurto market. You have to be very crazy to get lost in that forgotten place in the agenda of some crazy God who started doing it and did not finish it. That is a den full of exciting stores to call it somehow, with pestilential meats, fish, fruits and hundreds of items. As the Lonely Planet says, one should refrain from going if one is delicate in the stomach, but if your adventurous soul does not wane during the trip, you should take a turn.
I was not tense, but I had to go with a thousand eyes because the fame of the place is not very good. The poor seemed to be taken out of the throats of hell or simply from the fucking Bogota. Often you did not know if the beggar came and went or sold because poverty went the same way between sellers and buyers. Nobody, absolutely nobody has told us anything, or asked us for anything, they simply offered their products as if they were two owners of a tourist restaurant or that is what I thought. That and much more, are enough reasons to shop around and see how the Cartagena de Indias lives its day to day, without masks made of historic walls, without covering the mouths of the needy with restaurants under colonial balconies or carriages impolite trotting.
The one without the other either
I know that Cartagena de Indias is famous for its beauty and not for its ugliness. If it were not for this balance, Cartagena would be another unfinished story, another place without a future of a Latin America that asks for changes between the sobs of the most disadvantaged. That’s why Cartagena de Indias falls in love because t gives you what you want to see. If you look aside to see history, you see it. If you are looking for urban reality, go out, walk and relax that she finds you. If you are looking for luxury, with silver here everything is possible.
After the great visit to the market, we went to the old city and we have continued sheltering under the safety and tranquility of its beautiful museums such as the Inquisition.
A nap has connected us once again to the world of the living
We were tired. Today the heat has tightened a lot. In the afternoon, a walk through the Getsemani neighborhood gave us the chance to see the charms behind the wall. Gethsemane much less attractive than the old city does not stop being charming. Full of cheap hostels, you can end up seduced by its more regular streets with the Cartagena atmosphere. They do not have the class of the big mansions, but the attempt is in a beautiful result of coquettish narrow places to walk around.
At seven o’clock we went to the boat meeting and little else.
Tomorrow I will try to write from the ship because five days without writing and then remembering everything is extremely difficult.
We are on a boat
A sailboat that can make little use of its sails, roaring its engine full of rheumatic horses, towards the dark horizon of the night. It’s crazy, but it’s fun until the dizziness makes an appearance, fucking everything and making this trip an endless nightmare. I barricaded myself in my bunk, I see young kids drinking beer and getting dizzy. No matter how many times they vomit, they continue to fill their bellies and then empty them again.
Lourdes, she’s dizzy
He is having a hard time, but I sensed that the sea was going to be this messy, coming predisposed to pass the bad drink and pull forward. I remember going with my father in his decrepit boat and having swell. One ended fatally, throwing away all the illusions placed at the beginning of the trip. You may like also: http://thecaseyjamesblog.com/bangkok-in-ten-words/
Our crazy captain, with his pint, is not trustworthy. At the moment, everything is correct, the people are very educated although almost nobody speaks our language. Crossing the maritime border of two countries through the Caribbean, has a romantic note, but being more realistic, it is for souls somewhat crazy. High seas, it is hard, the boat as if it were a walnut shell, it rocks with the waves that according to our captain is smooth and good. I do not want to think when the waves reach biblical proportions.
Cartagena up, Cartagena down
We have changed the money, we have said goodbye to Colombia almost without realizing it. Because simply the trip continues and as there is no near end. We downplay what we are really doing. We are neither more nor less leaving a place to which probably never returns and that will be like many others recorded in my heart.
Cartagena de Indias has been good to us. Maybe the reputation of dangerous deserves it, but not in the exorbitant proportions that people think. First, travel to the place and then think, but everything ends up being a cluster of speculations without any objective.
We left Colombia, but our next destination is so uncertain that I hardly have the strength to do justice to the beautiful country in letters that border the dizziness and terror towards a black sea where all I see is darkness.