Visiting Cartagena, Columbia

Julie Royce's picture

Even as we approached Cartagena, we could see this would be a special port.  Founded in 1533 by Don Pedro de Heredia and named Cartagena de Indias after the Spanish port Cartagena, this is a city of contrast.  Rich in history, but every bit a modern metropolis. Arriving in port our sleek cruise ship buddied up to an old pirate ship. 

 

Approaching Cartagena

Approaching Cartagena

 

 Old Pirate Ship vs. Modern Cruise Ship

 Old Pirate Ship vs. Modern Cruise Ship

 

 

Local parrots, oblivious to our presence, gave us the cold-shoulder, but we snapped pictures anyway.

 

Colorful Feathered Friends

Colorful Feathered Friends

 

 

This would be a day that gave us barely a minute to catch our breath.  We started with a trip to the Fort of San Filipe de Barajas which towers along the skyline.  It was considered the most impenetrable of all the Spanish forts.

 

 Fort of San Felipe

 Fort of San Felipe 

 

 

The Convento Santa Cruz de La Popa was our second stop. From its hilltop perch we looked down on the sprawling city of Cartagena. I met a friendly sloth in the La Popa gardens. This was important since I had not been properly introduced to sloths at our prior ports, and I was determined to become personally acquainted with one before we returned to Fort Lauderdale. Time and opportunities were running out, and I grabbed the chance -  or sloth – when I spied one waiting for me.

 

Cartagena from the Hills

Cartagena from the Hills

 

Convento Santa Cruz de La Popa

Convento Santa Cruz de La Popa 

 

 

Sloths are leaf eaters. They get little energy from their diet and have developed a reputation for being slow. Their sluggish metabolisms are a sign of high adaptation to their environment and not a negative reflection on their personality. With the rain forests shrinking, sloths could be in trouble.

 

 A Friendly Sloth

 A Friendly Sloth 

 

 

From La Popa we entered the walled city for an hour of shopping.  I found a dress that I still regret passing up.  I should know that if I see something I want, I need to grab it, pay for it, and get on my way.  Otherwise the next day I’ll regret my indecision and have no means of rectifying the situation.  I never saw a dress like it again, all white and lacy but not too frou frou.

With a guide who made every question seem easy to answer, we worked our way to modern Cartagena and walked the streets and alleys, enjoyed a beer and a shady reprieve from the unrelenting heat, and then moved on to cathedrals and a walk through local gardens.

 

Cartagena Street

Cartagena Street

 

 Cartagena Garden

 Cartagena Garden

 

 

After an exhausting day, we knew we’d barely scratched the surface.  Cartagena would be a place to consider for a week or two, later – right after Africa and a river cruise in Russia or Europe.

This column marks my 50th submission to Wandering Educators.  It’s been a long and happy relationship.  Thanks to those of you who read my articles and thanks to Jessie Voigts for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful website.  Today marked another exciting event in my life.  I started a blog.  I welcome my Wandering Educator friends to visit me there - http://www.jkroyce.com/

 

 

 

 

Julie Albrecht Royce, Travel Adventures Editor, is the author of Traveling Michigan's Sunset Coast and Traveling Michigan's Thumb, both published by Thunder Bay Press. She writes a monthly column for Wandering Educators.

 

 

Feature photo: Garden of La Popa

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Bob and Julie Royce.

 

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Comments (3)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    5 years 11 months ago

    Julie - 50 columns is an AMAZING accomplishment. Thank you SO VERY Much for your great articles over the years - I've learned a lot from you! 

     

    Jessie Voigts, PhD

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • Ed Forteau

    5 years 11 months ago

    Thank you so such for all the great articles you've written.  Your writing has influenced the travel plans of thousands of our readers.  Looking forward to your next 50 articles.  Thanks Again!

     

    Ed Forteau
    Publisher, WanderingEducators.com

  • Julie Royce

    5 years 11 months ago

    Thanks Ed and Jessie.  I, too, am looking forward to the next fifty articles.  That would mean Bob and I keep traveling, and that we all continue our friendship. I only got to know you because of the wonderful opportunity you gave me to write for your website. Thanks again.

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