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Cartagena

sunny 33 °C

After recovering and drying up for a day back in Taganga, we set off towards the magical city of Cartagena. As per Colombian standard all bus trips must take twice as long to complete as stated in guidebooks and by the bus companies, so we arrived in the evening. After dumping our bags in a basic hostel we set off towards the old part of the old city. The place is really like a fairytale city. From experience I know that there are not many cities outside of Europe that can impress us. Perhaps Americans are impressed seeing building older than 50 years and I suppose that these are the people who write the guidebooks. However, Cartagena´s old town was really old even in European standards. Everything has been very well restored and very carefully preserved. Most houses had large balconies covered in flowers and with candles lit on the sides of the cobble streets, the fairytale ambiance was complete.
The old town was pretty lively too. There was one cool square where we saw loads of different Caribbean dance performances. It’s quite a crazy dance, a bit of belly dancing, mixed with African dance and some other crazy stuff. Looked like they were possessed or on some crazy drug. We ran into loads of people from the Cuidad Perdida trek. Quite a few people were out partying and we joined for a few beers, but decided to have an earlish night.

Sarah managed to catch up with us again and we went to do some touristy stuff together, like visiting the old fort and cruising the streets of the old town. We decided that we would go on a boat tour to visit some of the nearby islands. In the end we also decided to stay over on one of the places to able to have some chill time without having hordes of other tourist around. It turned out that this was a pretty smart move as we only had a very short time on the islands. Most of the part of the tour was actually on the boat, which could have been nice and relaxing, but this tour was some sort of Colombian version of a party cruise, except that people were not really drinking. There was this guy called Johnny White screaming in the microphone and when everyone was not singing along to some horrible song on max volume, they were playing some stupid games. The games they played were the sort of things that would be done on a party cruise on Ibiza, like striptease, guys being dressed up like girls etc. However, the weird thing was that no one participating was drunk. Just could not believe that guys around 17 years old would participate voluntarily doing this stuff. Silly crazy Colombians.

The island we stayed on was really nice though. It was back to living a very basic life again. We slept in hammocks, only had candles for light and had to cook everything on a wooden fire. After the tour groups had left the beach, we pretty much had the place for ourselves. Unfortunately the snorkeling was really bad as there was no visibility, but we had fun messing around in the water. We even managed to make a human tower, with me in the bottom, Sarah sitting on my shoulders and Laura sitting on Sarah´s shoulders. Off course we have no photo proof, but I am pretty sure that we could have made it into any circus with this move. After a relaxing time, it was unfortunately back on the boat, where Johnny White again was still doing his thing. He ended the return trip with a disappointing not even half striptease, but some quite impressing Michael Jackson move.

Back in Cartagena we went to see a few bands at a small festival in town, otherwise, not much more things happened in Cartagena, except one crazy event. Sarah, Laura and I were going for dinner and were as usual being bothered by people asking if we wanted to buy cocaine. It gets a bit trying saying no all the time. Laura told one guy pestering me to basically leave us alone and he just completely snapped, screaming at Laura about her not respecting him etc. We did not really think more of it, but later in the evening when we went to a local shop the guy came up to me saying stuff like, “this is Colombia, I can have your friend (meaning Laura) killed, she disrespects me etc”. The guy was obviously a complete nutcase, but when we saw him standing outside our hostel later in the evening, looking at us in an attempt to intimidate us, we decided to call the police. I have to give it to them, they took it really seriously, and walked around with us trying to ID the guy. Laura remember that he had a piece of his ear missing, so the police looked around, and later came back with a photo taken on a mobile which we confirmed was the guy. The police told us that the guy would be spending a night in jail and they would make sure that he does not bother us ever again, whatever this means. While it was good how the police had handled it and reassured us, we still felt that it was time to move on. Cartagena is really an amazing place, but they really need to sort out the dodgy area where all the hostels are.

Henrik posing at a corner in old town

Henrik posing at a corner in old town

Balconies in old town

Balconies in old town

These traditional dressed women did not want to be in any photos, but Henrik managed to sneak up so I could snap this photo

These traditional dressed women did not want to be in any photos, but Henrik managed to sneak up so I could snap this photo

Laura kissing a bull

Laura kissing a bull

Laura and Sarah in front of the mighty fort...after playing tourguide I knew that this thing was like 60 meters high and consisted of 6 different walls, pretty good defence eay

Laura and Sarah in front of the mighty fort...after playing tourguide I knew that this thing was like 60 meters high and consisted of 6 different walls, pretty good defence eay

Cheapskates as we are, we only rented one audiguide and whoever had it then had to play tourguide and explain what we were looking at

Cheapskates as we are, we only rented one audiguide and whoever had it then had to play tourguide and explain what we were looking at

Pretty impressive walls on this old fort

Pretty impressive walls on this old fort

Laura and Sarah posing on a cute street in old town

Laura and Sarah posing on a cute street in old town

A horse caridge, a man selling Panama hats, and a traditionally dressed woman selling fresh fruit, could this picture be more Cartagenian

A horse caridge, a man selling Panama hats, and a traditionally dressed woman selling fresh fruit, could this picture be more Cartagenian

Sarah finally got to use this usual mobil call service that were offered on every street corner...must say that it was pretty handy if you are cought without a phone or battery

Sarah finally got to use this usual mobil call service that were offered on every street corner...must say that it was pretty handy if you are cought without a phone or battery

Street preformers showing off some crazy dance moves

Street preformers showing off some crazy dance moves

African Carribean dance group shaking their money maker

African Carribean dance group shaking their money maker

We had the beach to ourselves after the tourist boats left

We had the beach to ourselves after the tourist boats left

Lonely tree still standing on the beach

Lonely tree still standing on the beach

Laura posing up on the beach

Laura posing up on the beach

Posted by hmontonen 10:47 Archived in Colombia

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