Sunday, 6 November 2011


Sat 29th Oct to Sun 6th November

Our enduring memory of Cartagena will be hot and sweaty. Although the temperature is in the low 30‘s, the humidity is off the scale. Monday, Bob set off for Caracas on the bus to see Mike, his daughter Kate’s other half who is living there at the moment. Bob had arranged parts to be posted there and decided to take the bus whilst Terry and I stayed in Cartagena. With a 24hr plus bus ride in each direction we thought we had the better deal but I’m not quite so sure now.

It did give us time to catch up with friends and family on Skype but all they wanted to see were………

...... the toucans. I can't understand it!

These feathered friends are loose in the hotel and are a friendly inquisitive bunch. Most of the time they are trying to peck the computer to bits or pinch our food.

Cartagena has one of the best preserved colonial city areas that we have seen and the walled city is yet another World heritage site........

Inside the main gate.

It is posh and expensive to eat and sleep in this part of the city. Needless to say we slummed it by comparison and no fancy hotel doorman for us.

All very picturesque but catering almost exclusively for the tourist and rich Colombian visitors. Prices were several times higher inside the walled city than they were just a few yards outside. Most of our time was spent in the cheaper part of town where we also found life more interesting.
This is the area where we stayed. Although only a few hundred yards outside of the walled city, it is still owned by the locals and the place of choice for the back packing community. There is a plentiful supply of hostels, cheap restaurants and interesting street life.

A small piece of street art.

An image that reminded me of an inglorious past. Cartagena used to be one of only two Spanish controlled ports authorised for the importation and selling of salves from Africa.

Some more colourful street art.

Whilst Bob was enjoying himself in Venezuela, Terry and I did a couple of touristy bits like visiting the 'Castillo San Felipede Barajas'...............

....... considered impregnable in its day, it was the site of a heavy defeat for the invading English army by a much smaller defending Spanish Force in 1741.

We also took a trip to the 'Volcan de Lodo El Totumo'. Folk lore has it that the mud is full of healing properties.

It was us that was supposed to have the mud bath, not the bikes.

When we eventually got there we gingerly eased our ageing bodies into the 15 metre high pile of mud hoping that all our aches and pains and all the lines would miraculously disappear. Guess what........

Your right. All that happened was we got very, very muddy. Don't believe a word of it when your wives say those expensive spa treatments work wonders (we're the proof you need). It was an odd experience though, you couldn't touch the bottom and neither could you sink underneath. We were just suspended in this thick, glutinous mess. And we paid for it!!

Celebrations are just starting as Cartagena mark's it's 200th year of independence (Nov 11th). Sadly we have to move on before they get into full swing.

Not many miles have been covered in the past three weeks and if we are going to have any chance of getting to the bottom in the next three months we need to get moving again. So lucky you, more pictures of bikes coming soon!

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