Colombia: Colonial Exploration in Cartagena

After a long day traveling from Washington, we finally arrived in Cartagena.   As we flew in, we saw the modern high-rises shining above the city. On our way to Anna and Scott’s apartment, we drove past those same buildings and found Anna and Scott outside waiting for us. It was great to see them and relax after being on the go for so long.

The next day, Anna treated us to a nice breakfast with some local fruits.  It was Saturday, so both Scott and Anna were able to show us around their new city.  The first place they took us to was the heart of the city – the old colonial section developed by the Spaniards centuries ago.  Upon entering, we were greeted with the “Portal de los Dulces.”  Yummy.  We knew we were in for a treat with Cartagena.  After nibbling on a couple pieces of candy, we all made our way to the Plaza de San Pedro Claver, dominated by the cathedral of the same name.  It is a great plaza with statues and turns into an outdoor restaurant in the evening.

We explored the cathedral and learned more about how San Pedro Claver worked to improve the lives of slaves who were forcibly brought to the Americas.  At the end of the tour, we made our way to the front of the cathedral and saw his skeleton resting behind the altar.  It was actually somewhat creepy. Later that night, we returned to the plaza and witnessed a number of wedding parties emerge from the cathedral.  As they did, it made us wonder what it would be like to say your wedding bows with a skeleton behind a priest.

After the Cathedral, we made our way through the narrow and lively streets, eventually making it to the gold museum. The museum presented the history about indigenous people learning techniques for gold jewelry and how they would share and trade it with other tribes.  The location of the museum was very appropriate because there are many gold mines in Colombia. Cartagena served as a primary port for Colonial Spain in shipping treasure from the Americas to Europe.  Gold is still mined in Colombia today.

We continued to meander in and out of shops, enjoying some ice cream, and talking about different things.  All in all, it was a relaxing day exploring the old port.  As daylight gave way to moonrise, we made our way to the Café del Mar on the colonial walls to watch the sunset.  It was here that we were introduced to the michelada; a beer mixed with lemon juice and the rim of the glass rimmed in salt like a margarita.  It was delicious, and we enjoyed the refreshing beverage as the sun drifted below the cannon and eventually below the sea.  After nightfall, Scott and Anna took us to dinner in one of the plazas.  Thank you for the great introduction to Cartagena!

The sweets market

San Pedro Claver’s bedroom

San Pedro Claver’s remains

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~ by Rob Page III on November 23, 2011.

One Response to “Colombia: Colonial Exploration in Cartagena”

  1. […] young couple enjoying the sunset along the colonial walls of Cartagena, Colombia. Young love – Cartagena, Colombia … October 16, 2011 GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); […]

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