3rd August 2015
After a leisurely breakfast it was time to pay up and head back to Cartagena for my final night before going home.
I think £205 for all my food, drink (alcohol and soft drinks) and seriously clean, mosquito-free, comfortable accommodation for 5 nights was a great deal! Thank you Dreamer Hostel, Palomino!
After several hours, the MarSol bus dropped me off at the GHL Corales de Indias hotel, north of the old city of Cartagena and not far from the airport.
Its a large hotel with doormen, concierge, travel desk, pool, restaurants and bars and I thought I should live it up for my last night!
The staff greeted me with a mocktail and graciously showed me to my air conditioned room with a private balcony, large dressing area and bathroom. The view from the balcony was a bit pants as the beach isn’t one you could sunbathe on and they’re building directly in front of the hotel so sand dust was flying everywhere.
As soon as I started to unpack I realised I’d left a bag on board the MarSol bus (dopey!) so the tourist desk managed to speak to the bus operator, track the driver down and my bag was found safely. I got a taxi to the depot, recovered my bag and then went back to the hotel.
A faff I could definitely have lived without but it just proved to me once more how much of a pleasure it is to travel in this beautiful country and how accommodating and trustworthy Colombian people are.
Before my Dutch friend left Palomino, I’d suggested we meet at the infamous Cafe Del Mar for sunset if she was in Cartagena the same day as me. I’d also said the same to the German economics student who had helped us to win the quiz.
So for my final time, I made my way to the Cafe for a sundowner.
The Dutch girl and German guy both turned up! Wicked! That unspoken commitment, trust and understanding between travellers blew me away!
Even in this day of mobile phones and the internet, half the time you’re unable to get a signal abroad or are in a place without wifi so you have to make an effort if you want to enjoy other people’s company.
When I first went travelling, it was still letter writing, leaving notes in hostels for your friends who were turning up a few weeks later, poste restante, sending postcards and there was this silent, mutual consideration between people. It was so good to find it hasn’t changed even though the world has.
I enjoyed my last sunset immensely and felt enormously sad that it would be the last one I’d see on Colombian soil.
Hunger striking, we strolled to Getsemeni where both were staying.
I don’t know why people from London had warned me off staying in Getsemeni because I loved it!
The vibe in the Plaza de la Santisima Trinidad was awesome. People were everywhere: dining out, drinking, walking around, joining in the zumba class on the steps of the Parroquia Santisima Trinidad church, hanging out. Buildings were coloured mustard, blue and worn-white.
We managed to get a table outside the Cafe de la Trinidad, and soaked up the atmosphere. Their pizzas were great and toilets were clean – always a bonus!
With more sorrow in my heart it was time to say goodbye …. again. It would be ‘hasta luego‘ as opposed to goodbye as Facebook details had been swapped and promises to visit each other had been sworn.
Back at the Corales de Indias I settled in for the night with the aircon on full blast, tucked up in my pristine white sheets, duvet, plump luscious pillows and slept a deep, deep sleep.