Category: Colombia, 2020


February 8.

Breakfast at the hotel before heading back toward the international airport with Ana (and her husband, Freddy) for a 40-minute flight to the Caribbean coast and our final destination, Cartagena.

 We are met at the airport by a Juan Camilo, who just graduated from college two years ago. We are staying at a beautiful, boutique hotel, Casa San Agustin, right in the heart of the “ciudad amurallada,” the old walled city of Cartagena. Here we encounter quaint streets and plazas lined with bright yellow and blue walls of buildings that define the colonial architecture of this 500-year-old city.

 After getting settled, we drive to the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, one of the largest Spanish colonial fortresses ever built. For regulatory reasons, we are accompanied by a second guide, José, who adds nothing. Juan Camilo is energetic and fun, and entrepreneurial. He studied and speaks both English and French. As we walk part way up the walls of the fort we can understandwhy, despite several attempts by outside forces, the Castillo de San Felipe was never taken and always successfully defended. It is extremely hot out, so, mercifully, we are able to stop at an air conditioned room that has a quite interesting film about the construction and history of the fort.

Because of the heat, we decline to climb up farther on the fort walls. We drive back into the walled city and see more of its quaint, but touristy, town. Cartagena clearly has more hats for sale per capita than any city we’ve seen.Juan Camilo tells us rather more than we care to hear about the history of the area, and some of the spots we were to see were not open. We do stop at a nice coffee shop, which reportedly has won more prizes for its coffee than any other, then return to our hotel, ready to call it a day. We are shown to our suite, which is very lovely, superior by far to the presidential suite at the Park 10 in Medellin.

Have been emailing and What’s Apping all day with Federico Ruiz, the art dealer we spent a day with in Bogotá. He and his wife, Rochi, are on an island off of Cartagena and we are trying to arrange to have dinner together tomorrow.

After resting in our room, we drive to dinner at Celele’s, where Brian has arranged a table for us. This is a very unusual, funky place that Brian, as a big foodie, knew about. It’s description, in the menu, said,”Contemporary cuisine based on the gastronomic culture and biodiversity of the Colombian Caribbean territory. “. The food was interesting; some of it very good, some not so much. The place was buzzing; completely full and probably seven tables turned away, with a second seating yet to come. Servers were very cute.

All in all, this was the least interesting day we’ve spent in Colombia. History is just not as interesting as people. But still, not bad. Returned to the hotel to retire.


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