We have been enjoying the sights of Cartagena and most of the atmosphere of this vibrant city. One part of the atmosphere we haven’t been enjoying: it has been quite hot and humid for most of our stay. But, the view of the city at night is nearly as good as the one we had in Miami. Make sure you view the slideshow below for photos from our visits to El Centro.
On Thursday, last week, we woke up with arms sore from the vaccination shots. But, not too bad, but we didn’t want to do much work. The pain went away after a couple of days. We went shopping at a local mall called “Caribe Plaza Mall”. One of the main stores is called “Home Center” and is compared to garden/home supply stores like “Home Depot” in the US. They also have a store called “Carrefour” that was compared to “Walmart”. We took a taxi, and were curious to see they had strong security with guards – and gates at the underground parking area – who actually looked in the trunk of the taxi before admitting us, and closed circuit TVs in many areas. We were pleasantly surprised to find a huge modern air-conditioned mall. It had three floors and a real food court, and a large variety of stores. A great place to hang out during the hot days.
We also did more research on San Blas and Panama, and contacted the marina where we will stay while waiting for our canal transit. We got contact information for agents to help with the transit paperwork.
We confirmed that a couple we have been in contact with – who are doing a second round-the-world trip (a 1-year trip without a sailboat) and documenting it via a blog and photos – will be coming with us to Panama. They both have taken some beautiful photos. We have been writing each other since last year because David documents his travels using Google Earth, and had previously developed KML files written about on Google Earth Blog. We had hoped to at least rendezvous somewhere along the way.
On Friday, Karen and I went to El Centro – the beautiful historic part of Cartagena – and did some shopping and museum visits. We especially enjoyed the free museum of gold which had some excellent exhibits and english/spanish displays about the history of gold here in Colombia. As you’ll see in the photos, the place is very popular and beautiful and a great place to wander and shop. All the sailors here rave about the place, and we could see why. We had a wonderful lunch in a restaurant that was popular with the locals. We ate their daily special which consisted of a huge meal with soup, chicken, a cole-slaw-like salad, bread, and a banana for dessert. Karen enjoyed the shopping and got some items for herself and our daughters.
This weekend was the beginning of an international film festival, and we ended up at the beautiful historic Teatro Heredia. The theater was first built in 1911 and later restored in 1998. It has four stories of seating, incredible decorations, and is quite beautiful. We managed to get inside and watch a couple of festival films which at least had English sub-titles. I really wish I had brought the camera equipment to do a 360 panorama of the theater! See the photos in the slideshow below:
View full-sized slideshow
Unfortunately, Google Maps currently has a cloudy image of the area of Cartagena we were visiting in the slideshow. If you go in Google Earth, you can use the “Historical Imagery” option and see some better views of this part of Cartagena.
On Saturday we moved the boat to Club Nautico marina and gave Tahina a much needed bath in fresh water. We also cleaned up the inside. On Sunday, David and Edel arrived from Santa Marta, Colombia by bus. We took a taxi to Centro for dinner and got to know one another better. They are from Sweden and Ireland, respectively, and actually quit their jobs to take their year-long trip around the world. One of them has already been offered a job back with their same employer upon return in April. They spend a lot of time camping and hiking to help reduce their travel costs.