Tuesday, September 8, 2015

#travelpost - Cartagena, Colombia

With a five hour drive from Santa Marta and a loooong hour bus journey with my backpack and small day pack on my lap on a crowded bus from the bus terminal, we arrived in Cartagena.
We got to our hostel, Papaya Getsemani, sorted our bags, had a shower and left for a wander. The hostel isn't in the old town centre, instead it's in an up and coming neighbourhood popular with backpackers, 10 minutes walk away from the main tower. I read the area used to be quite dangerous and a hotspot for crime but nowadays it's bustling with locals, backpackers and street vendors and has the perfect square for people watching. Right next to a police station!

Day one:
After getting in late from a long, hot journey we decided to have a short walk around the centre of the old town... We were immediately distracted by arepas con queso! The man persuaded me to try it with a fluorescent pineapple sauce and it was actually really good; we've seen the same arepa man now about 4 times in the old town with his little cart... He gives us a nod and a big smile. On our wander we spotted a super cute bookshop/coffee shop piled high with stacks of books, we had a peek in the window and told ourselves we'd come back tomorrow but tomorrow came and we tried to find it again to which we failed miserably.

That night we hung around the main square near our hostel, people watched, caught a wedding and fireworks, had some beers on the steps and ate something called plata con todo...TODO. It was intense. I'm pretty sure I didn't actually like it and kept eating anyway but Harry says it would be the perfect drunk food. Feast your eyes on this....

Day two:
On day two we hit the town again with our walking trainers on and cameras ready... 10 minutes out of the door and we were already walking like snails because of the heat. I think I said I was hot every three minutes, Harry stopped responding after ten.

Within the first half an hour we'd already hit up an ice lolly shop that we'd read about and soaked up the air con for as long as possible before it was obvious what we were actually there for. We walked some more, looked in a few shops and sat in some squares and ended up in a little old restaurant crammed with people for lunch... 8000 cops for two courses and a drink. Cheap and old school. On the walk home we stumbled upon Portal de Los Dulces, a tunnel in the made square full of sugared sweets, we got some coconut sweets to take away.

After a long siesta and FaceTime catch ups we headed to the popular La Cevicheria for dinner (another Bourdain spesh!). We got there just in time, as we grabbed a table a whole load of people flooded the place... Some were still waiting when we'd finished. I ordered shrimp ceviche and Harry had a fish, squid and snails with a coconut milk based sauce, it was so so good! After we headed back to our local square for even more people watching and cervezas.

Day three:
I'll keep it short and sweet... We had a lazy morns with a freebie breakfast and some internet time (doing those rounds) and finally found our bookshop/coffee shop. *applause emoji* . We had lunch at a cute little cafe and did a crossword.... We were two words short!!! Ben and Sinead you would have been proud! In the bookshop earlier we found a cool magazine that had the top five views of the city and we found that a chain called Crepes and Waffles had a balling venue in Cartagena so we went there for a crepe that we probably didn't need but a rooftop spot that we definitely did. The Museum of Modern Art followed and then home time for an afternoon nap.

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