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8 travelers at this place

  • Day22

    21. Cartagena Colombia

    September 13, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Love Cartagena! This city has it all: history, charm, beaches, a major port, great restaurants, a cool bohemian vibe, and then some.

    We're here for 5 days, which includes 2 days of processing paperwork and payments to get the car released from the container at the dock.

    Since we don't have the car at our disposal, we are taking taxis everywhere. I wish I could take a video of how crazy these drivers are, but my eyes are usually squeezed shut in anticipation of a collision. These guys have no interest in lane markings, and are not shy about using their horns. As you cross the street in a crosswalk, the cabs continue to come at you, veering in one direction or another at the last moment. I've learned that you need to avoid eye contact with them - if you act like you're waiting for them to pass, you'll wait forever. If you confidently "take your space", and pretend you don't see them, they will yield. (Or at least it seems to work this way). I'm from NY and have some experience with aggressive city driving, but NY cabbies ain't got nothing on these guys.

    Another outlet for aggressive behavior is demonstrated by the street vendors. You can't go 10 feet without someone jumping out at you, thrusting their wares in your face, and launching into their sales pitch. They are not deterred by your response of a smile and a "gracias, no", and continue their pitch as they follow you for 10 feet or so before moving on to another more amenable looking target to accost.

    That said, these things are all part of the experience and, despite my implications otherwise, they add enjoyment to the whole travel adventure.

    We are staying in Bocagrande, which is a strip of hotels, shops and restaurants on a peninsula, and which is aptly nicknamed "Miami Beach". Not the quaintest part of town, but we're right on the beach and a few minutes from the more intetesting parts of the city. We spent a few hours on the beach the other day, and after resisting multiple times, I finally succumbed to a 10 minute foot massage for 20,000 pesos ($6). Felt sooooo good!
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  • Day22

    23. Cartagena - Castillo de San Felipe

    September 13, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Castillo de San Felipe is the most magnificent fortress built by the Spaniards for any of their colonies. Cartagena, founded in 1533, was the main port from which Peruvian silver was shipped back to Spain, and as such, became a target for pirates. The Spaniards attempts at making the port impregnable consisted of walling in the city, and constructing forts, the most impressive of which is Castillo de San Felipe.Read more

  • Day24

    25. Cartagena - the Old Town

    September 15, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Cartagena's "Old Town" is aptly named for its colonial style 16th & 17th century architecture. It is an UNESCO World Heritage site, full of history and local culture, and is safe and friendly.

    This part of Cartagena is particularly lively, and almost attacks your senses. There were sounds of horns honking (pay special attention when its a bus - they can't stop as fast as the taxis can), street vendors selling their goods, music playing, entertainers performing, the clacking of horse hooves on cobblestones, tour guides leading their groups, children playing in the parks, and the occasional political orator sharing his ideals through his bullhorn.

    We wandered through the town, which was full of churches, plazas, restaurants, shops, and street vendors selling locally made trinkets. We visited, amongst other places, the Palace of the Inquisition, which provided a disturbing reminder of the horrific practice of identifying and eliminating heretics through torture. On a happier note, the Chocolate Museum we went to provided free tasting before purchase. Yummy!
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  • Day30

    27. Bucaramanga to Medellin

    September 21, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ 🌧 66 °F

    We left Mompox (which took us about 9 hours to get to), for another 8 hour drive to Bucaramanga, which, although a fairly large city, was once again just a stepping stone for us.

    The interesting parts of these long travel days really centered around the travel itself. This part of Colombia is very mountainous, with nothing but one-lane switchback roads filled with buses, 18-wheelers, and motorcycles. (My guess is that 65% of the population travel by motorcycle here). Passing a semi (going 12 mph up a one-lane winding road that has double yellow lines and "no passing" signs) is truly an art form here. You have to do it, or you'll never reach your destination. Because the roads are very sharp s-curves, visibility is limited and passing is a challenge. But everyone participates in helping others pass, whether it be the semi you are trying to pass (who puts his left blinker on to let you know he has enough visibility around the blind curve to see it is safe), or the motorcyclists, who will pass a truck ahead of you, and then reach back and wave to you if the road is clear. The other passing method, which is often necessary, is pulling out halfway into the oncoming traffic lane to assess the situation, and putting pedal to the metal if the coast is clear. That usually requires about a half dozen failed attempts before you make it. The whole process is part entertaining, part stress, and after several days of it, part "just another day's commute".

    The views, however, from Bucaramenga to our next destination, Medellin (famous for being the home of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar), were pretty spectacular, at least in my opinion. Some pix attached here.
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  • Day2

    Chapinero Hills Hostal & Stadt erkunden

    August 9, 2019 in Colombia ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Im Hostel konnten wir unsere Rucksäcke ablegen. Das Zimmer konnten wir jedoch noch nicht beziehen, weshalb wir uns direkt auf den Weg in die Stadt machten.
    Nach ca 5 km (Fußweg) waren wir im Herzen der Stadt, wo wir uns das Goldmuseum angeschaut haben.
    Im Anschluss machten wir bei einer Free Walking Tour mit. Dabei ging es um typisch kolumbianisches Essen. Die Tour war sehr gut und die Gerichte waren ebenfalls sehr lecker.
    Nach der Tour sind wir zurück ins Hostel. Durch den Jetlag, den langen Flug und den aufregenden ersten Tag waren wir sehr müde und geschafft.

    Das Wetter war Vormittags bewölkt. Am Nachmittag hat es dann aufgerissen.

    Bogota hat wie jede Großstadt seine schönen also auch nicht so schönen Ecken. Die Leute sind teilweise sehr sehr arm. Durch die Tour haben wir jedoch auch richtig tolle Ecken der Stadt kennengelernt ☺️
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