Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cartagena, Columbia

Sunday April 3rd -- Cartegena
We gained an hour of sleep last night by crossing a time line, woo hoo!  Another benefit of traveling from east to west that I didn’t think of ahead of time.
I feel refreshed this morning, the back is better due to a foam pad on the bed and NSAID meds 2 x a day.
Today we arrive in port at 9am and our plan is to walk to the old walled city and back.  A friend from work, Dan Wehrman, told me that he and his wife had done it and it was no problem.  I’m not sure what to expect.
The morning is slightly overcast which makes the day tolerable.  The humidity is high, but at least the sun wasn’t beating on us all day and the temperature stayed in the mid 80’s.  More on the humidity later....
Had breakfast and headed off the ship and onto the dock.  Easily found a “Tourista” booth and picked up a map use as we walked into town.  On our walk to port exit we came across another couple that looked like they were headed into town and we joined them.  They are marathon runners and I worried about keeping up with them.  Neither of them spoke spanish.  As we started to exit the port area we were bombarded by taxi drivers who insisted they could drive us into town.  Some were very persistent and walked a long way with us.  Being distracted by them made it difficult to figure out where we were and how we were going to get where we wanted to be.  I’m not sure how it happened, but the couple we were walking with ended up with a nice man who just kept walking with us.  I don’t think they had offered him any money, because they told us later they decided they’d give him some money when he left us.  He turned out to be a good guide.  He walked us all the way to the Old City and then up to the Fort San Felipe and back to the port. One of our marathoners said that we by her GPS watch we walked close to 7.5 miles today.  Our guide, Teofaldo, did the same with us in business type shoes. From port to Old City took just over an hour. Teofaldo was well liked and many other men greeted him as we walked.  At one point in the day we came across his “grand pa pa”.
While we walked Dad and I took advantage of the opportunity to practice our spanish and we conversed with Teofaldo as much as we could.  I’m very surprised at times how much I can remember.  However, I am humbled when someone tries to start a conversation with me, as I have to clue as to what the context is.  A “lightbulb” moment for me.
Cartagena is all about emeralds.  I have some pictures of emeralds in a natural vein.  I didn’t buy any however.
During our walk into the Old City, I finished my bottle of water off.  We bought another and it was gone well before returning to the ship.  When I changed my clothes back on ship, I was amazed at the amount of sweat that my shorts contained.  Mucho, mucho sweat!!!!  My sunscreen seemed to stay.  Still we lucked out not having a full day of direct sun.
Upon returning to the port we gave Teofaldo $25 for his tour.  That seemed reasonable after one of the last rates a taxi driver was willing to give us was $5 for the four of us.
I’m really too tired now to finish writing much.  I’ll probably add more tomorrow.  
Dinner tonight:
Appetizer: Wild mushroom tartlet with truffle oil, various cheeses and fruit.
Main course: Turkey pot pie.
Dessert: a nut and banana flavored ice cream with toffee caramel sauce.
Show:  Nova movie regarding the building of the Panama Canal.  I saw it alone.  Afterwards I found Dad in the lounge “catnapping” in a chair.  He’s determined to dance tonight.  One of his dancing partners on the ship, Nancy from Long Island, joined us for dinner tonight.  I hope she joins us again.
It’s bed time.  I’m too sleepy.  
Hasta manana!
P.S.....I love, love, love my new camera!!!!  (Merry Christmas to me!)

1 comment:

Josefina said...

I just randomly came across your blog and really enjoyed reading through it!
I spent hours walking around those streets with a map in my hands. No hurry, just seeing people, historical houses, churches, eating....thinking twice, forget the map! Just get lost and latter find yourself amazed by the place. Love Cartagena and love Colombia!

Josefina - Colombia Travel