C is for Cartagena
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.
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.
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.
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.