Cartagena, Colombia : Pirates of the Caribbean

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The fortress overlooking the bay was built by the Spanish for whom Cartagena was the jewel in the crown of their Caribbean possessions. Very Pirates!

Okay, full disclosure here, I love Colombia and quite frankly it might be favourite country in South America. Cartagena has been the perfect tonic to the built-up stress of travelling; a chance to sit back, drink coconut based drinks, and generally stroll around at an exceptionally genteel pace.

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Cartagena’s old walls are covered in cannons. There were clearly so many left after the War of Independence that they didn’t know what to do with them. You’ll see them everywhere when you visit. I highly recommend you make a lap of the Old Town walls and head up to the fortress.

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Plunging back into town were back in the riot of colours which make up Cartagena. The people of the city have clearly decided to keep their houses painted in the brightest of colours, splashing the area with pinks and greens, reds and yellows. It makes for spectacular walking.

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Street art abounds, and you may even see the artists at work in the streets.

The street art everywhere is stunning, and these are only a small selection of what we saw.

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Yet more of the art which covers many walls.

Best of all: the people. Colombia’s people are an absolute credit to it. Everyone we spoke to was welcoming, even rejected street vendors were apt to welcome us to their country and thank us for coming. It’s firmed up in my mind that a country’s biggest draw can be its people. Despite lacking a Machu Picchu, or an Iguazu Falls, Colombia is rapidly becoming my favourite country on this trip so far.

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Cartagena is where Bolivar wrote his Cartagena Manifesto explaining the reason the war for independence had failed.

Anyway, hope life and road is treating you well. If you haven’t been to Cartagena don’t let anyone stop you. It is brilliant. Also, grab Bolivar the marvellous historical biography by Peruvian writer Marie Arana for more on the spectacular life of Simon Bolivar. It’s a cracking read revealing a great deal about a man I certainly learned little about.

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