We spent 3 days wandering around the beautiful colonial old city of Cartagena. It was pretty hot so we tried to start early each day but failed miserably favouring lie-ins and long breakfasts at the Gato Negro (black cat) cafe every morning (where Katy met her new favourite dog, Pepita- at least that was the name on his collar). Although it was hot it wasn't as bad as we had been led to believe and in the evenings the old city walls were cool places to walk, watch the sun set and admire the illuminated old churches. After every day we went to the same spot on the wall and met up with our San Blas friends for a drink. At first this included Binh, David and Gina but then they left for Santa Marta. So on the remaining nights the three couples met; Tijs and Jacqueline, Mike and Kate and us. On our last night we were finally rewarded with a beautiful red sunset. We spent the rest of our evenings in a little plaza near our hotel sampling the street food which ranged from traditional arepas to hamburgers to a large incredibly unhealthy plater of arepa, meat, cheese and sauces.
Many of the churches and other attractions charged hefty entrance fees but we did visit the modern art museum (so modern that some of the art was disturbing), the gold museum (which was air conditioned and was free) and the castle of San Felipe. The castle was huge; the largest the Spanish had ever built in the Americas and it had never been breeched. We didn't hire a guide but they were very friendly and kept giving us snippets of information for free. We also found the air conditioned shopping mall nearby and replaced one of my (Simon's) T-shirts which hadn't survived the roughing it of the San Blas trip.
We were sad to leave Cartagena, and particularly the old town of picturesque colourful buildings with flowers spilling off balconies; the views out to the sea and the modern part of the city from the old town walls; meeting up so easily with friends and breakfasts with Pepita. We managed to come away without buying a Colombia football shirt despite the best efforts of the many street vendors.