Ciao, So Long, Farewell, Adios, Cartagena

26th July 2015

Feeling buoyant and not horrendously hungover, I met my ex-flatmate (who I’d bumped into on the way to the wedding) for breakfast before he had to head off to the airport and back to his wife and life in New York.

It was so good to see him and catch up for that teeny tiny hour and a half (am sending them virtual hugs).

After meeting him, I went to Getsemeni and the Casa Canabal Boutique Hotel where some of the other wedding guests were staying.  It’s a colonial style hotel with an indoor and rooftop pool and spacious bedrooms.

I found them all chilling by the rooftop pool and boy was I envious!

We’d found out that we were all heading east (they were going to Parque Tayrona and I was going to Santa Marta) so decided to get the MarSol bus together the following morning, leaving at 5am (yawn).

One of the problems I’ve found with independent travel, not staying in a hostel or hotel and not speaking the local language, is that booking transport and finding out about things is a real pain in the arse.  I was lucky that these guys were happy for me to tag along with them and their hotel booked the bus for us.

MarSol is a brilliant door to door minibus service hopping between Cartagena and Taganga and it picks you up from your hostel/hotel. It does cost a lot more than the local bus (approx £10) but its comfortable, there’s air con and you can sleep on it so is very easy.

Later that afternoon I met the Brazilian guys for sunset at Cafe del Mar. As I supped my usual sundown tipple of an ice cold beer, I felt warm of heart having met all these wonderful people and experiencing the delights of Cartagena with them.

Saying fond farewells with promises of seeing each other in each other’s countries, I went for my first, and only, dinner alone. I chose Restaurante Bar Totopo and had mojarra frita (fried fish with rice and salad) and, of course, a beer.

It was a great people watching place.  Horse and carriages carrying tourists round the old city sped by, local girls in their hot pants and tight tops sashayed past, local boys spivvy in their jeans and t-shirts checked out the girls, tourists peered at restaurant menus to try and decide where to eat, hawkers came round selling their artist drawings of the Cartagenan streets, backpackers played cards, old men and women sat in the plaza spinning a yarn and two couples from the wedding walked past.

I felt like a real voyeur. An outsider peeping in, catching snatches of people’s lives. I wondered if they were looking at me and making up stories about me, the way I was about them. It was like I was on the set of a movie with each person fulfilling their roles.

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