Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011 – Cartagena, Colombia – Sunny – Mid 80s

Change in itinerary…

This was supposed to be a sea day with the ship docking in Cartagena on Saturday.  Because there would be several ships in Cartagena on Saturday (overburdening the taxi and transportation capabilities of the port), the captain decided to steam full speed to Cartagena arriving at 1:00 PM on Friday (along with a Midnight departure).  

Fort guarding Cartagena Bay (Small)

A Spanish Fort guards the entrance to Cartagena Bay

Cartagena Colombia New Condos (Small)

Above, gleaming new and white condos dot the skyline of new Cartagena. 

We are on tour today – I am on the “City Tour and Shopping Stop” and Ellen is on the “City Tour and Bay by Boat Tour” (How did that happen?).  Our first stop is the largest Spanish Fort in the New World, San Felipe de Barajas.  We only have a photo stop here (Ellen will be climbing the stairs of this fort).  The stop is quick – 10 minutes or an hour in “vendors-all-over-us” time.

Fort San Felipe de Barajas (Small)

Our next stop is a shopping stop at the Dungeon vendor stores.  I’ve been here before (got coffee – too expensive today). 

Cartagena Dungeon shops (Small)

From the Dungeon Stores, the bus takes us to colonial Cartagena for the walking portion of our tour.  We start on a classic street, Calle De Baloco (very New Orleans like).  My job is keeping track of 40 passengers.

Calle de Baloco Cartagena (Small)

Calle De Baloco

Our walk takes us past several street vendors including a popular one making instant oil paintings on glass ($10).  Several passengers buy paintings – I hope they don’t smudge before they get them home.  Inquisition Palace is about a 20 minute walk (no one is lost along the way).  This building is where the Inquisition operated when the process arrived in the New World.

Cartagena Inquisition Palace (Small)

Inquisition Palace Bells (Small)

Cartagena Inquisition Palace 1 (Small)

Inquisition Palace Gallows (Small)

Inquisition Palace Guillotine (Small)

Above:  Inquisition Palace; Gallows, Guillotine

Across the street from the Inquisition Palace is a large plaza and, as is usually the case, a statue of Simon Bolivar – El Libertador. The Square is nice with plenty of trees for shade.

Simon Bolivar Cartagena 1 (Small) 

The walk then takes us to the Church of San Pedro Claver, a priest who brought religion to the locals.  We don’t go into the Church but I did appreciate the interesting metallic sculptures in the courtyard next to the church.

Statues Near San Pedro Claver Church (Small)  

The three pictures below were taken by a passenger on Ellen’s tour.  these are from the water portion of the tour.  Very nice especially the mangroves with their resident birds.

Cartagena River Cruise 4 Cartagena River Cruise 1 Cartagena River Cruise 2

My tour’s final stop is the large shopping mall, which is actually a collection of jewelry stores specializing in emeralds.  I take this opportunity to find a nearby internet hot spot.  It turns out there’s one right across the street ($2 for 40 minutes) so I check in with the kids and check e-mails.  The hot spot is located inside a bakery, an unusual symbiosis during our travels.  It does work, though.

When I get back to the bus, I am informed that Ellen was looking for me but that her bus has already departed for the pier.

After dinner, we decide to attend the deck party up on the pool deck. 

Nighttime Cartagena from Deck (Small)

Cartagena from Deck 10

The ship is still docked and it is warm with no breeze – perfect for dancing and enjoying the entertainment.  Music is provided by Tony and the Cabaret Singers.  We do our share of fox-trotting and other dances to the very good music.  We also spend some quality time with new friends, Jim and Debbie, and Irving and Bookie. 

Cartagena Deck party (Small) Cartagena Deck party 1 (Small) 

Above:  Tony and the Cabaret Singers provide the entertainment 

Chef Lisa from Chicago (Small)

Chef Lisa oversees the feast and mingles

Debbie and Jim (Small) Debbie and Jim 1 (Small)

Above: Jim and Debbie try out some new moves; Below:  Ellen and Debbie rock out.

E and Debbie (Small) E and Debbie 1 (Small)   

Irving and Bookie get into the act – Is Irving’s cane glowing?

Irving and Bookie (Small)

   Irving and Bookie 1 (Small) 

Three straight seas to go…can’t wait.

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