It’s 1pm in the afternoon and we are already back at our accommodation. I complain about the heat ALL THE TIME and if you read this blog regularly then you will agree, but today is hot! Even for Leo, it is a particularly uncomfortable day and after walking a remarkable 7km’s we had to call it a day and come home to the comfort of our A/C blasting!
Which brings me to wanting to type up a little paragraph about what it’s really like here as I have had a few people mention over the last few days how amazing Cartagena looks. Firstly, yes, the walled city in Cartagena is lovely. Getsamani suburb is beautiful. Both in fact, are truly picturesque, filled with stunning buildings, clean roads and pavements (to an extent) and safety wise, we have both felt pretty ok.
**Disclaimer** This particular blog post is pretty negative but I have added some happy photos throughout as we are actually having a great time despite what I am about to write**
However, this is about 4 square miles of the city of Cartagena itself. We are staying about 20-30minutes outside these beautiful areas what I haven’t posted about is the massive poverty problem here. I haven’t posted about the epidemic which is the litter situation here. I also haven’t posted much about how walking home each night we don’t feel even a little safe as the mugging here is a huge problem. We walked to the walled city this morning along the coast and passed 8 police with machine guns…AT THE BEACH.
It’s still 33 degrees outside but I slept so goddam well. I reckon it was from walking 14km yesterday, eating marginally healthier than we have been and exhaustion. In fact, it was probably just sheer exhaustion and none of the above. We can’t believe we are now on day 81 in this adventure and I’ve managed to type over 37,000 words of it in this blog. I am truly impressed with myself.
So, it’s a brand-new day and as mentioned, still hot as ever. We managed to grab breaky from the hostel this morning for 8,000COP pp ($4NZD) which was essentially a banana, slice of cheese and a pastry. Not bad, but definitely room for improvements. On the agenda today was Getsemani, once a shady neighbourhood mostly made up of locals and youth hostels, it’s now modern and trendy and FULL of street art which would make for the perfect photo morning!
We weren’t wrong. Between the street art, numerous little cafes and eateries and beautiful coloured houses we fell in love with this suburb and can’t wait to go back tomorrow for dinner!
Next on the agenda was the small Centenario Park, just in front of the beautiful Torre del Reloj (the entrance to the Old Town), as I had read a blog that it is home to a small population of wild monkeys, iguanas and most excitingly of all, sloths. Well, we didn’t see any sloths but we did see iguanas and beautiful little red squirrels, so I highly recommend it!
After ticking off many hot spots for street art photography, we stopped for an ice lolly and headed back to the old city in search of Fernando Botero’s famous statue of a reclining nude woman, named La Gorda Gertrudis – or ‘Fat Gertrude’. We found her (pictured below), sitting in the middle of the lovely Plaza Santo Domingo. Posing with Gertrude has become a classic Cartagena tourist activity so of course Leo got in amongst the action, and touching her left breast is meant to bring good luck so we shall see!
After waking up at 3am to leave the beautiful bustling city of Rio and our fav apartment in Copacabana, we sleepily hopped in a taxi to head to the Airport as the time had come to jet set to Colombia. A destination that is rapidly becoming more and more popular we felt we had to check it out to see what all the fuss was about. However, as we arrived at the Airport, we were informed that our flight had been delayed for 6 hours and we would miss our connection…C’MON AVIANCA! You were my fav airline until this nonsense!!
Long story short after a variety of taxis, back and forwards, flights and being awake for 24 hours we finally made it to Cartagena... and our accommodation – ''Cartagena friends’ hostel''. I won't even bother posting the link on the off chance you wanted to book it, as unless you are happy to book based on good reviews and nice photos but be delivered the complete opposite. It is painfully average at best, but is only costing $25NZD for a double with private bathroom so we can’t complain too much (even though in the taxi on the way here we were warned how unsafe it is…GREAT)
Then the next disaster of the day happened, getting out the taxi and into our shit hole of accommo Leo then started freaking out as he had left his phone in the taxi! Instant panic struck and he hopped in the first taxi he could hail and speeded off towards the Airport again to hopefully find our previous driver. Out of the 3 million cab drivers in Colombia, he managed to track this one down and find his phone… all while I stayed in the hostel having a full blown panic attack, scared shitless that it was the last time I would ever see him again. I did tell you it was a nightmare day, right?
Excited this day was over was an understatement.
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!