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
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Cartagena Cart Conveyors
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
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.
Flying South for the Winter — to South America, that is.
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!
In reviewing our Galápagos posts, we found one thing we left out – the scenery. There has been a taste of the natural beauty in the background of some photos in previous posts. For our last post about our archipelago adventure, we’re sharing images of one of the truly amazing places in the world. We only visited a handful of the 61 islands and were not able to see all the different terrains that Galápagos offers. What we did see was fascinating and will stay with us throughout our lives.
The end of this story isn’t so much about ending a vacation within a vacation, but learning more about the creatures who share our planet. This experience was truly up close and personal and totally amazing! Continue reading
Pinnipeds, Porpoising, and People
Mammals, like reptiles, arrived in the Galápagos by sea. On their own volition, earlier generations of sea lions, fur seals and dolphins swam here. Their progeny now inhabit the area year-round. We spent joyful hours watching marine mammals and learned many things about all the area inhabitants from our naturalist guide, Pedro.
No blog about the Galápagos would be complete without a discussion of the archipelago’s reptiles. After all, the most famous residents of the chain are the giant reptiles that bear the island’s name — the Galápagos Giant Tortoise, the world’s largest tortoise and the thirteenth heaviest reptile, weighing in at over 800 pounds. So it is fitting we begin our review with Pepe.
There are More Starfish in the Sea
Galápagos seas are amazing once you look below the surface. Two Who Trek had opportunities to go snorkeling in the clear blue ocean. There are more starfish in the sea and we saw dozens of them. We saw majestic schools of fish, a few white-tipped sharks, sea turtles and rays. Joe even had a sea lion swim within two feet of him.
Ever watch a National Geographic or Discovery Channel special on the Galápagos Islands? Remember how they would show a school of fish from top to bottom of the screen swimming, say, to the right. Then suddenly the entire school turns to the left and flashes entirely different colors. We had always thought that such images were unique; difficult for camera crews to capture. Not so in real life. Every time we snorkeled, we saw similar displays of beauty from fish schools and each time it took our breath away (which isn’t necessarily good when you are under water). Continue reading
For the Birds or Time for Aves Class
To save time on the way to work recently, one of Two Who Trek took the dirt roads. The Michigan morning was cold and frosty, about a half hour after sunrise. Out in last year’s corn field, about three dozen turkeys were foraging. Some were doing presentations while others focused on feeding. While watching the turkeys, birds of a different feather in a different place came to mind.
In Galápagos, we saw birds of many colors. Today we are going to revisit some of them.
Some Cuenca scenes
Two Who Trek take an overall look at the city
As we prepare to wrap up our posts about Cuenca, we realized that we haven’t shown much about the day-to-day life in the city. Today we will look at some common city scenes.
Cuenca is actually the short name. Its true name is Santa Ana de los Cuatro Rios de Cuenca, named for the four rivers that run through the city. The word Cuenca means “river basin” in Spanish. Continue reading