As an attentive fan of architecture, one of Two Who Trek especially enjoys the visual study of Spanish colonial architecture. During our nearly month-long stay, we visited many sites with our local Spanish instructors or profesores. In and around El Centro Histórico de Cartagena de Indias are many splendid buildings or edificios, both grand and typical. Continue reading
Just like in most major metropolitan areas, Cartagena has many forms of public transportation. Some are typical; others are rather ingenious. Today we look at a few ways to getting around.
In the Historic Center of Cartagena, walking is by far the best way to move around. We found that we could walk from one side of the center to the other in less than half an hour, if we had to get somewhere in a hurry. But take your time as you walk — there’s so much to see, from historic architecture to balconies full of beautiful flowers. And if you get really tired, you can flag down one of the many taxis on the street.
One day Joe was walking through the Historic Center of Cartagena with Louis, a university student who was attempting (in vain) to teach Joe Spanish and also help him find interesting photographs in the city. As they wandered through the Plaza de San Pedro, Louis pointed to a neatly dressed man seated under a tree. “See that gentleman over there? That is how all business keepers use to dress — what we would call business casual now.” The man had well pressed clothes — a dress shirt and dress trousers.
In our last post, we covered the many delectable delights one can find while wandering the streets of Cartagena’s Historic Center. Throughout the area, many vendors use carts to sell fruits, vegetables and other food items. Because of the variety of offerings, we decided to focus now solely on those carts. Continue reading
Food options in Cartagena are either familiar or awaiting discovery. Ceviches are typically made from fresh fish like sea bass or snapper and marinated in lime juice, onions and cilantro. Continue reading
Colombia is home to about 20% of the world’s birds. The bird immortalized in painting and sculpture around Cartagena is the Maria Mulata. A medium-sized bird of iridescent black or brown, Maria Mulata is neither blackbird or raven. Maria Mulata’s official name is the great- tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus).
The story of Maria Mulata is a traditional tale shared with Two Who Trek by several local residents. Long ago, in the barrio of Getsemani, people and exotic animals co-existed. One of the animals was a vividly colored bird called Maria Mulata. When a raging fire overtook the neighborhood, Maria Mulatas carried the people to safety. The people were saved and forever grateful to their deliverers. Discolored by the fire and smoke, the bird’s colorful feathers remain blackened to this day but with proper sunlight, we can still see a hint of Maria Mulata’s former plumage. Continue reading
Just as in the movie quoted above, a notable sight on many entry doors of Cartagena buildings was the Door Knocker or Aldabas de Puerta. Historically gracing the front doors of fine homes since ancient times in Greece and Rome, a door knocker traditionally denotes the association of the inhabitant. Door knockers in El Centro fall into four basic categories: Continue reading
Staying cool in the heat
Clothing should be practical and aesthetically pleasing. In Cartagena, the available options meet that criteria and more. Here, clothing flows and the textures and patterns make it fun to wear.
For the past three years, Two Who Trek (TWT) have visited countries in Europe and Asia. We are now back in South America and enjoying our first visit to Cartagena and Colombia! An opportunity for a three week adventure to learn about another culture and to take more Spanish lessons was irresistible. An added bonus is the sunny 86°F weather here while it is 28°F, cloudy and snowy at home!