Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Images of Cartagena

A few images of Cartagena.  We loved our visit; people were friendly, fascinating history and vibrant old walled city. Harbour water though was a toxic soup - only thing growing seemed to be barnacles - we had to scrub off literally thousands after only 10 days.  We are just leaving Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama for a 250 mile passage to Providencia.  Then its Bay Islands of Honduras, Rio Dulce in Guatemala, Belize, Yucatan peninsula of Mexico and hopefully Cuba before circling back here in July to avoid hurricanes.

Entering Cartagena the contrast of old and new is immediately apparent with fishermen paddling their dugouts in front of modern high rises. Not sure what kind of fish are able to live in the toxic waters - none that we would want to eat!

View from our front porch in Cartagena. 
Main gate into the walled Old City of Cartagena.
Difficult to see, but the Colombian Navy is rowing Miss Cartagena contestants around the anchorage.  There were hundreds of spectator boats.  This was the fourth parade we saw in our first 4 days in the city. Any and every excuse for a party in Colombia!
Lots of cathedrals dating back to the 17th century.  This one damaged by Drake's cannons when he laid siege to the city.
Relaxing over lunch in a cool(ish) little oasis.  Many massive wooden doors or gates open off the narrow streets into inner courtyards.
D, "I know which one I'd choose!"
Another enclosed courtyard.  This one a little more upscale. 
These horse drawn carriages move at a quick trot through the evening streets of the old city. The sound of hooves on the centuries old cobbles transports one back to colonial times.

Birthday dinner for Cathy at a fancier place than we typically frequent.  The live guitar music was a treat - much better than the meal!

A heap of emeralds.  Hard to get the colour right in the picture.  Colombia is famous for its emeralds and by a fortuitous coincidence (?) we wound up there on Cathy's birthday.  We selected a number of stones and had them made into a ring and pair of earrings. We were both very pleased with the result!

Looking out toward the Old City from the wall of Castillo de San Filipe, the strongest fort ever built by the Spanish completed in 1762.  Within the walls there is a maze of tunnels to enable the protected movement of troops and supplies.

The smiling face of Cartagena.