In Cartagena we stayed on Media Luna, a main street running though the hip Getsemaní district which lies inside "The Wall" that surrounds the city, Las Murallas, a ridiculously thick fortress. Our bus drove through the other side of Cartagena, full of high rise hotels and casino's, before dropping us in the much nicer old part of town.
We had a nice little hotel room, though there was an opening in the wall of our bathroom near the ceiling that opened straight out to the breakfast area, which was indoors. This may have been more of a problem for everyone else than it was for us.
On the first night we found a really cool little restaurant called Caffe Lunatico just down the road. They made tapas and we selected 5 of their delightful creations, all amazing. This meal was one of the best we have had on our trip. Watermelon gazpacho with squid and avocado, crispy eggplant sticks, potato cubes, chorrizo and egg, and croquetas. Yummo!
We had one day to spend in Cartagena, and we set out in the morning with no real plan except to just explore. We first visited Castillo De San Felipe, a big castle just over the river from the walled old city. It was huge, intimidating, and also had views over the city.
After roaming the rooftops with its lookout posts and cannons, we wandered the tunnels, some steep and slippery into the depths of the castle. There were mazes of tunnels and cells within the belly of the castle. A tour probably would have been quite fascinating.
Next we walked around the area inside the wall. The streets were beautiful, with bougainvillea draped balconies and delightfully restored buildings, some very colourful. We made our way to the opposite side, where the wall ran alongside the shore, and we walked along the top looking out over the ocean.
From there, we ventured back through the streets. On a couple of occasions people tried to get us into their restaurant or emerald shop by telling us how they were the best of friends with Ben Cousins, who loves hanging out in Cartagena apparently. Would we like to come into the restaurant to try a free sample? We wondered how many well known cocaine users from how many countries these guys had memorised.
We finished up by the Puerta de Reloj, which used to be the main entrance to the city with a clock tower above it, and while we managed to avoid the multitudes of vendors nearby selling all sorts of delicious looking sweets, we did grab a coffee, before some rest out of the heat in our room and some dinner.
We realised when we were out for dinner that we really should have spent some time exploring the area by night. With numerous bars, restaurants and discos surrounding us the nightlife seemed quite lively, but after a day in the sun we were knackered.
The next day we were off to the airport, as we had decided to spend the small extra amount to fly to Medellín rather than take an expensive bus on what we heard is a horribly uncomfortable journey.