After such a brutally cold and bitter winter, we were happy to be flying off to such a hot, sunny place. Of course the weather in New York turned mild just before we left, so the contrast wasn't as great as it might have been, but it is still hard to remember that it's winter back home in this hot, sunny place.
|such an easy little flight; only 5 hours, blue skies, and puffy white clouds|
|it's a teeny little airport, with friendly immigration people|
|the lobby of our hotel -- the prettiest part of it|
|we're on this street -- old colonial charm, for sure|
Back to the hotel. Nap. Felt a bit better. But here -- you can see what I mean about it all looking the same, even if "all the same" is really lovely and colorful and charming:
|I have dozens of street pictures like this.|
We had a 7pm reservation last night at a small restaurant, and finding it was hard. We'd read that on TripAdvisor, but they weren't joking. It doesn't help that neither of us speaks Spanish; we kept stopping and asking for help and everyone was very generous in their assistance but we had no idea what they were saying. So we wandered and wandered and wandered, up this dark alley (in a part of town called Getsemani, where tourists are advised to be a bit watchful), over a block, turn right at the white building, go there, it's over there, down there. We finally found it and I was so frazzled I completely forgot to take pictures of anything -- but the food was fantastic. Marc got a gorgeous tomato soup with shrimp in it, and you could taste the fresh roasted tomato and onion and garlic, and the shrimp were perfectly cooked. I got grilled fish, and the coconut rice and salad that came with our meals was so great. Oh my, that rice, I'll want it again and again.
Marc said we weren't ever lost, the restaurant was lost. We went directly there, just in a roundabout way. That cracks me up every time I think about it.
The next day just looked better, out of my eyes anyway; I think Marc enjoyed himself the first day more than I did, but even he felt better today. After a nondescript breakfast at our hotel (seriously, you have to go far out of your way to get bad fruit here....), we set out walking.
|This is an arepa -- a well-known snack. It's a crisp-fried corn cake with cheese and butter layered|
inside. See the grease on the paper? We both think one arepa was enough for us.
|the Cartagena coast, at least near the old part of the city. Not a good swimming beach.|
|giant cathedrals. Giant.|
|oh -- this is from our first night. The clock tower in the old wall.|
|When I think of Cartagena, I'll think of fabric stores. Seriously, at least on our street, every third store|
is a fabric store, or a store that sells ribbons, lace, buttons, etc. It's all very bright and colorful and patterney.
|Pedro de Heredia -- conquistador and founder|
|dos frutas. THAT is how watermelon should be, I'm telling you.|
|Instead of Starbucks, Juan Valdez Cafes are found all over the place. Inside it's just like Starbucks.|
|not only is that a lizard door knocker, there's a small door|
in the huge door.
|standing on the old wall. Day 2, I'm in a better humor.|
|There are little squares, plazas, parks sprinkled throughout the old city. We liked this one --|
I tried but couldn't get a picture of the square but liked this shot of Marco.
|monochrome -- Marco and a catedral|
|here's a bit of the old wall. Kind of rampart-ey if you ask me.|
|most of the door knockers were lizards. Then I spotted an owl.|
|A pair of Pegasi. In front of the Civic Center.|
|Ah! Here's the statue in the middle of the park we like -- benches circle around the plaza.|
|I love that old architecture -- Teatro Colon next to Teatro Cartagena|
Anyway -- dinner tonight at a local-type place, then tomorrow we leave this hotel and go to one that's still in Cartagena, but in the direction of Venezuela (east? north? I don't know.). It's on the beach, but we'll see what the beach is like before we call it a beach hotel. It has a pool, and it's not in the midst of a neighborhood of any kind, so if all else fails we'll lounge in the sun by the pool. HOW BAD CAN THAT BE.