Day 3 of  The A to Z  Blogging Challenge

C is for Cartagena

Discovering the historic city of Cartagena with its fortified stone walls, in Spanish colonial style was memorable.
Cartagena de indias with its iconic fortified stone walls built by Spanish conquistadores.

Colombia’s puentes–three-day holidays–offered wonderful opportunities to explore the country. During one such break, I invited two young Colombian women to travel with me to the port city of Cartagena in the north. Famous for its historic stone walls around the city dating back to when Spain had colonized it and made it a key political and economical seat of power.

Walking through this  city with its curved doorways and wide arches, the crumbling stone overhangs and colonial churches felt decidedly different from the mountainous department where I lived. Maybe the light, fresh breeze gave me more energy.

The salt sprayed off the ocean just beyond the streets dotted with watch towers and turrets. In the distance, I saw El Castillo (Castle) de San Felilpe.   

La Bocagrande Playa (Big Mouth Beach) lay just beyond the walls.
La Bocagrande Playa (Big Mouth Beach) lay just beyond the walls.

The girls I’d invited had a blast at the beach, burying themselves up to their necks in sand. In the mid-eighties, Colombian women rarely traveled so it was a rare treat for them to experience this kind of outing and even that was just for a day.  They rode an eight-hour overnight bus to return home.

Several fruteras  (fruit vendors) canvassed the beach–like  this one hawking sun-warmed pineapple sliced fresh, oranges and sweet apple bananas (a shorter, stalkier variety of banana local to Cartagena).

I can still taste those thick juicy slices of pineapple we bought.

We met Alcira exploring the city. She was newly married to a gringo.
We met Alcira exploring the city. She was newly married to a north american (a gringo)

Cartagena is a people-friendly city in the department of Bolivar.

One  year earlier (1984). Cartagena had been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and became an even more popular destination as a result of that title.

Alcira immediately invited me to stay with her and her husband for the duration of my visit to Cartagena. People trusted easily back then. In fact, striking up friendships with the locals was easy in such a city geared to foreigners.

un burro tipico
un burro tipico

I don’t think this was the largest thoroughfare along beachfront. But it couldn’t have been off as I see the paved road. Children riding burros are typical in both small towns and large cities alongside main streets and avenues. In Cartagena, the sand was everywhere.

Cartagena is the fifth largest city in Colombia and renowned for the royalty and Spanish viceroys that once lived there.

When getting away for a few days, what kind of destination do you prefer? 

You have just read “C is for Cartagena” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright April 3, 2015. You can see who else is participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge HERE.

C is for Cartagena
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17 thoughts on “C is for Cartagena

  • April 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Amy,
    Cartagena sounds like a lovely place to visit. I liked how friendly the people were to visitors. I love castles, so I particularly like what you describe here: “The salt sprayed off the ocean just beyond the streets dotted with watch towers and turrets. In the distance, I saw El Castillo (Castle) de San Felilpe.”

    When I get a chance to get away, I love the mountains and walking through the woods.

    Take Care,


  • April 3, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Absolutely love the photos – it looks like such an inviting city to visit 🙂

  • April 3, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Oh my gosh, Matt! The Castle of San Felipe was amazing!
    I don’t remember much about the food, however. I think that trip was more about the history ambiance and the people I encountered!
    Have you checked out my Bedouin post yet?!
    Happy Good Friday to you!

  • April 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Ruthanne,
    So glad you liked the photos and thanks so much for stopping by to read my post!

  • April 3, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Our neighbor immigrated from Columbia and goes back to visit every couple of years or so. We love looking at the photos she brings back!

  • April 3, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    That’s so good, Scott! It’s a beautiful land of contrast and wide economic differences.
    What part of Colombia is she from?

  • April 3, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Looks like a beautiful city. I’d love to visit someday.

  • April 3, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Oh yes, it’s definitely a “must-see,” Elizabeth!
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog to read my story!
    Come back again!

  • April 4, 2015 at 2:52 am

    What a fascinating place! So glad you had the opportunity to visit and had companions to accompany you. It’s such an educational experience to visit a foreign country and learn about another culture.

    My hubby and I would love to get back to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We went to a resort there in November 2013, for my daughter’s destination wedding. Now we would like to go back and have our own delayed honeymoon (we got married in 2006 and never did have the funds at that time for a honeymoon trip).

  • April 4, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Oh, your pictures are beautiful. I have traveled throughout Europe and North America but I have never been to Colombia. Maybe when the kids are a little bit older I will get to take them traveling!

  • April 4, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Elizabeth,
    That sounds like a GREAT idea! You don’t mention their ages but I’m imagining under 5. Probably swhen they are a bit older, it will be easier to travel and you’ll all have a bit of input into where to go and what to see! Note: Colombia is a family-friendly country and there are tons of places for the entire family to experience! (I guess every country is but I remember it being more so than not).
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • April 6, 2015 at 4:42 am

    Sounds like a lovely old city by the sea. That fruit sounded so delicious.

  • April 6, 2015 at 6:31 am

    Not only did strangers invite me to stay for three days with them with the wife taking me around, but I also met a nice Colombian who later visited me in the city where I lived! Also, the castle of San Felipe was amazing! It’s hard to get in a few words the feel of a city like that!
    I think you’ll like my next post! It’s in another part of the world.
    Hope you had a lovely Easter holiday!

  • April 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    How did I miss this? Anyway, I was happy to find it. What a luscious post between the images and the descriptions. I enjoyed every bit of it.

  • April 7, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks, Tonia,
    It’s hard to fit everything in such a short post!
    It’s a great city, Tonia, especially for those who love the ocean.
    Thanks for taking time to read it!

  • April 9, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Such delightful photographs, Amy! Cartagena sounds like a place I’d love to visit.

  • April 9, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Oh, it’s lovely with all those archways and historic walls. I found an even better photograph I didn’t post.
    Thank you so much for taking time to read this post, Corinne.

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