Friday, March 4, 2011

Cartagena, Columbia

Saturday, February 12, 2011
Up early today.  We're headed into port.

Today we go to Cartagena, Columbia.  Whereas the canal is Peter's main reason for this trip, I like old buildings.  So, this stop will be really interesting to me.  Cartagena is an old city, some of it dating back almost 500 years.  Cartagena was founded in 1533.

We sailed past an old Spanish fort.

This one, built on an outer island, is one of several built to protect the city.

Still looking strong.

The local fishermen were setting out for the day.

Some tie their small boats to the buoys.

They have a picturesque village.

Then, we could see the tall, white buildings of Cartagena rise up out of the water.

Cartagena is a large city of a million people.  Most of those buildings, are apartments and condos.

We sailed into port.

Passing this statue of Mother and Child.

Our pier let us have a view of the La Popa of the places we were going to see.

While waiting to dock and be cleared in port, we had our breakfast on the balcony.

We boarded the bus, and headed through the streets of Cartagena.  This was a 'private' tour...not one set up by the cruise line.  Our friend contacted Lee Miles tours, and got this set up.

I got the back end of this donkey, pulling a donkey cart.  The trials of taking pictures on a moving bus.

Fruit vendors everywhere.

Open bodegas, selling all kinds of everyday things.

Ruins of old houses.

Then, up the hill...past makeshift houses.

And, past the Stations of the Cross.

Vendors are everywhere throughout the city.  They are trying to sell all kinds of things.  They do back off, though, when you tell them no.

We were greeted by this large statue.

This is the highest point in the city.  The view is spectacular.

Our ship in the harbor.

The San Felipe Fortress.


This young sailor was leading a group of cadets on tour.

The courtyard is quite lovely.

That bougainvillea was just beautiful.

I've never before seen a double one.

Inside the sanctuary, the golden altar.

We felt quite secure, with all the military and police presence, throughtout town.

Back on the bus, we headed down the hill, toward the San Felipe Fortress.  This is the largest of a series of forts, built to protect the city.  It took 150 years to complete.

Cartagena was a major trading port for Spain, in the New World.  It was especially important as a port for the precious metals that were shipped from mines in South America and Mexico, back to Spain.  It needed a bit of protection. 

The walls are tall and thick.

Topped by gun turrets.

There are a lot of stairs and tunnels.

Ramps lead up to the fort.  We had only a short time, so we only took a short photo stop.

We headed past the old city walls, to the old part of the city. 

These walls were another protection from enemy forces.  Thick, tall walls.

We got off the bus for a walk through the centuries old streets.

Colorful buildings....

...and, decorations.

We passed a library....

...with a golden eagle.  The look on his face may have been from the heat.  It was beginning to get quite warm and humid.

Another fruit vendor.  And, more police.  They were in evidence, everywhere.

These statues were everywhere, as well.  But, they're not statues....they're real people.  They do a great job, standing so still in that heat.  They appreciated our tips.

We walked on down the street, toward a park.

Notice more statues.

A large statue of Bolivar sits in the center.

And, of course, pigeons.

Beside the park is the Palace of the Inquisition.  It's now a museum, with examples of torture equipment and history of Columbia.

There were lots of things to see along the street. 

There were several of these metal scultures, in the cathedral square.

We toured the Church of San Pedro Claver.  San Pedro was a priest who spent his life helping the slaves who were shipped into Cartagena. 

We stepped inside, to another cool, inviting courtyard.

A reminder that we're in the tropics.

Father Claver died in the 1654, and was made a saint in 1888.

 His remains were re-interred at the base of the altar, and on view.

There are tributes throughout the church.

Onto the bus again, and off to the last stop....the requisite shopping stop.  We drove along the old wall...

And, along the beach...

Bougainvillea in the shopping mall.

An apartment building across the street.

We had a good time...

 ....and, learned some new things.

Back on the bus, for the final ride....along the walls,

back to the ship.

To sail away past yet more fortress.

Cartagena, Columbia is an interesting place.  I would've liked to have more time, to see even more of this city.  Maybe next time.

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