We wanted to leave Costeño beach reasonably early as it is a very hot 30 minute walk to the road, where you catch a bus to Santa Marta to catch another bus to Cartagena. When we got to the road very tired and sweaty there wasn't a bus to be seen. Luckily a man with his wife and two young children gave us a lift for a small fee to the bus terminal. There were four of us squeezed in the back but Dorthe and I didn't mind as the children were very sweet and practiced a few English words on us. Lady (the wife) couldn't stop laughing as we attempted to talk in Spanish, they spoke very fast and didn't slow down so it was hard to understand them. I did respond to a question, when asked where are we from, with Terminal de Bus, this got them in hysterics!
After 4 ½ hours we were in Cartagena, we found a cheap hostal it has air conditioning that is put on 8pm-8am so that is the only time we stay inside! The old town in Cartagena is beautiful, it is full of lovely buildings, churches, small boutiques, artisans and cafes. We were staying on the outskirts and after a walk down the road in the dark it was quite obvious it was the red light district. There was a big argument going on with the police and a screaming Colombian woman but the first night was the only night we noticed any problems.
On Dorthe's last morning in Cartagena (she is off to Medillin for a few days before Capurgana) we went to the fort. It was very interesting and had a nicer climate as a small breeze blew on us throughout the morning. The best part of the fort was the tunnels that you could explore, leading you too different places around the fort. We chose to avoid the ones that you could hear the sound of squeaking rats and stuck to the rat free versions. We said a quick goodbye to Dorthe, making our arrangements of when and where to meet again and headed back to the old town to wander the streets a bit more (not wandering in the red light district!). There was another football match being played so we caught the second half in a small bar. The atmosphere was excellent and it was definitely the more interesting half. Colombia were losing 1-0 and scored 4 in the last half. The Colombians were going mental, it was funny just to watch them.
Cartagena really is a beautiful city and had some great restaurants and shops, if only we could afford to shop and eat in the old town, just wandering was enough for us. Of course I did pretend I was going to buy a posh dress but James had to make a face and say he didn't like it. It was worth it to enjoy the air conditioning during the day for a while!