After leaving the jungle, I took a 5-1/2 hour bus ride to Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast, in search of the sun and some warmer weather. Woohoo! When I arrived, it was warm, sunny! I grabbed an Uber and made my way to my Airbnb in the old walled city. I was shown to a third floor apartment in a colonial building owned by the former Slavic viceroy, Virrey Eslava. It had two balconies overlooking the pool and courtyard, and was a comfy space to hangout for a few days. Awesome!
I spent my first day roaming through the old city taking pictures, trying a bit of street food, and enjoying the nice weather. In the evening, I made my way to Plaza San Diego for some dinner, wine, and a surprise variety show on the street in front of me. It was amazing! There were singers, rappers, hip-hop dancers, pan flute players, and even a surprise appearance by Michael Jackson….he’s alive and well!! Who knew?
After a nice day, I decided to look at some tourist options, and found a catamaran tour to the islands just off the coast. This seemed like a good option to get a taste of what I might do, and spend some time on the water with the sun. It ended up being a bit of a party boat, but was only about 1/2 full, so there was plenty of room to spread out and relax too. We dropped the anchor at two islands and had the opportunity to get in the water. They had snorkels but the water was murky so that was a joke. I decided just to jump in with my swimsuit and see how it went. It was awesome!!! I’ve never experienced this, but the water was so salty, it barely took any energy to stay afloat. I swam around to the quiet side of the boat, where I was alone with the sea. Here I took time to just float on my back and be. The water lifted me up where my fingers, toes, and chest were a couple inches above the surface! Closing my eyes for 5-6 minutes, when I opened them back up I had hardly moved. The water was so calm and the temperature matched my body temperature so perfectly I couldn’t even feel the water. It was surreal! I stayed out and enjoyed this for the next hour and a half until we had to go! At the next stop, I eagerly jumped in and did it again. I’m not usually super comfortable in the water, but I was able to get into this deep state of meditation and came out feeling so alive!
After 3 nights, and a long walks around town, I moved to another Airbnb in the second oldest part of the city, Getsemani. Getsemani is much more vibrant with tons of street art, and definitely more of a party vibe. I ended up with an apartment right on one of the main streets in the center of all the action. It was a bit of a dump, but luckily fairly quiet, and somewhat clean. It was fun to be a part of it for a couple of days, but enough.
My last day in town was absolutely amazing. For the first time on this trip, I really took time to slow down and just enjoy my company. I handwrote my blog for the day, and I’d like to share it. Please don’t feel you have to read it, but I will include it if you want to get a taste of the raw, unedited me…coming alive and slowly digging up what’s been stuck within..
My cooking class was at a cool little family restaurant called Origenes, in the old city. When I arrived I was surprised to find three other American ladies there to take the class with me! What a great group and great hosts. Laura and chef, Jose, made it such a fun experience as they danced, laughed, and taught us how to make coconut milk, sticky coconut rice, patacones (smashed, fried plantains), agua panela (the typical drink of the city), mojarra roja al papillon (baked red snapper), and empanadas from scratch. It was the perfect mix of doing, watching, and just enjoying. At the end of the evening our meals were complete and we sat in the dining room to enjoy. So cool.
But now, my time in Cartagena has come to an end. I’ve decided as much as it’s been fun, it’s still not the vibe I’m looking for. Not much yoga or peaceful areas to rest, and much too hectic in general. I have a plan, but I’m going to keep you in suspense until the next post…. 🙂
P.S. I almost forgot…the old walled city reminded me so much of some of the small towns in Italy with the most amazing door knockers. Check out these knockers from Cartagena!! 🙂