One Day in Cartagena
On Christmas Day, I got a very nice present in the form of an electrifying taste of Colombia: we spent a day in Cartagena, an old colonial city and the queen of the Caribbean proudly looking over fairytale blue waters.
Visiting Colombia has been a dream for years, following my father’s glowing review of his trip to this colourful, diverse country, so imagine my excitement when I set my foot inside Cartagena’s Old Town shortly after sunrise. Cartagena is Colombia’s prominent chest of colonial treasures. The Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage sight since 1984, is a burst of electrifying bright colours with old, crumbling many-hued houses along narrow winding streets the last vestiges of Spain’s glorious colonial past, and its diverse inhabitants often sporting flamboyant attire whilst meandering the streets.Colombia’s Cartagena, also known as Cartagena of the Indies, was founded in 1533, the town so called after its namesake in Spain. Cartagena was of utmost importance throughout Colombia’s history; during the colonial period the city was the centre of political and economic activity and served a key role in administration and expansion of the Spanish empire. Cartagena was a major trading port for gold and silver, as well as serving as a slave port – in fact there were only two cities authorised to trade in African slaves with the city of Veracruz being its Mexican counterpart. Following more than 275 years under the Spanish rule, Cartagena declared independence from Spain on November 11, 1811.Regardless of the scorching sun and oppressive heat – I suppose one’s comfort is something you ought to sacrifice in order to immerse yourself and explore exotic countries – we spent hours strolling Cartagena’s maze of narrow streets, finding it practically irresistible to not take photographers every few paces. The town was bustling with tourists and locals alike, with horse-drawn carriages adding to the city’s irresistible colonial charm. From time to time in order to escape the scorching heat, we stopped for a coffee or snack – I tried an arepa, an absolutely delicious corn cake amongst other things- in a shady spot. We finished our outing with a leisurely late lunch of mouth-watering tangy lobster and octopus ceviches at La Cevecheria, Cartagena’s most popular restaurant specialising in ceviches.
And here is a photo diary from a few precious hours we spent there…