Second Port: Cartagena Columbia

2010-04-10 Cartagena Toms (25) - out guide Lee Today we are in Cartagena.  We opted for the “Panoramic Cartagena by Horse Drawn Carriage” tour.  Our bus driver Lee was a very pleasant and informative guide.  The bus air conditioning worked much better than on the bus we had in Aruba.  Cartagena is a major city with over 9 million people so the feel was quite different from Aruba.

2010-04-10 Cartegena Joys (6) - Joy  in front of San Felipe FortressOur first stop was San Felipe Fortress.  A massive fort quite similar to the one in Old San Juan Puerto Rico.  We had 10 minutes to take pictures which meant there was no time to climb up to the top and check out the view but plenty of time to capture the look of the outside of the structure with our photographs.

2010-04-10 Cartegena Joys (87) Las Bovedas are former dungeons used today to house little markets.  It is here that we were transferred to carriages.  We ended up in the second seat which faces backward.  This meant we could not see ahead to get ready to take a picture or see what the guide was describing.  The streets in the old walled city are narrow and one way.  The Spanish engineers brilliantly understood that with such an arrangement the nearby buildings would provide shade to the streets   – a system that still works today.  It also meant that facades on side streets would be visible when approached by those facing forward and invisible to those facing backward.

2010-04-10 Cartegena Joys (38) Still, I cannot imagine that there is a better way to see the walled city except perhaps hiring one of the authorized cabs at the harbor.  The problem with that would be that much of what one wants to see is straight up from the narrow roadways and cabs have roofs which would get in the way.  The overall impression of the city was that it enjoyed some beautiful architecture.  But like a shining Columbian gem in a tarnished setting, there appeared to be so much poverty.  The wealthy had to have guards at the hotel entrances to protect them.  Our horse drawn cart was often accompanied by a bicycle policeman.  There was a heavy military and police presence which I found somewhat comforting, but others apparently found intimidating.

2010-04-10 Cartagena Toms (114)2010-04-10 Cartagena Joys (100)

San Pedro Claver church was beautiful  The Spanish garden courtyard surrounded by three stories of porticoed porches reminded me of the one in the movie “Frida”.  There is a masonry wall dividing the garden  with a statuette whose form I could not make out.

On the way back we passed the Manga district and saw some beautiful homes.  This was every bit as entertaining as historic old town had been.

2010-04-10 Cartagena Joys (119)

1 Comment »

  • ris says:

    I can’t get over the picture of Joy at the San Felipe Fortress. Breathtaking! The city images are just as lovely. What a neat city! I’m really enjoying these pictures. They really leave me with a feeling for the places. And I’m loving your travel tips for each spot!

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