COLOMBIA: Cartagena

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments

My Colombia adventure began nicely with a flight out of Panama on Avianca Airlines. They certainly do have a very comfortable coach section. Plenty of legroom and a personal entertainment system. My brief layover in the airport in Bogota was very pleasant due it’s world class amenities and Colombian coffee. I arrived at my choice little hotel at Midnight, and thankfully there was a night watchman to let me into what would prove to be a very nice home for the next five days.


HOTEL LA MAGDALENA – Clean place, A/C, Good Wifi, 40″ TV, Central Location. $30/night


Cozy and Clean Room




Rough and Tumble – Across the street from my hotel.






THE GETSEMANÍ – My Neighborhood – A bit on the scruffy side, but it is supposedly the “real” Cartagena. The Old Town is more posh and touristic, but very nice indeed with stylish shops, 5-star hotels, and great restaurants. Not to mention some interesting architecture with lots of history.


HAVANA – A popular club for those really into salsa music. Nice inside, but unfortunately salsa’s not my thing. I was hoping for some good Cuban Jazz.






One of the many walls built by the Spanish to keep out pirates and other marauders.


These old walls are in better shape than most of the sidewalks.

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CASTELLANA DF – Charming restaurant on the way to the Old Town where I dine, drink cappuccino, and work on my blog as I am doing now. A/C and Carlos Jobim round out the experience nicely. Mixed reviews on tripadvisor, but it’s been flawless for me in my three visits thus far.


GIO- One of the many nice people here at Castellana DF who turn every dining experience into a cherished moment in my nomad life. Gio studies structural engineering, and if my instincts are correct she will be lending her talents in the region before long. Perhaps the ongoing upgrades at the Panama Canal await or the endless projects in the same city.






PEDRO DE HEREDIA – The city founder stands watch over a square inundated with prostitutes. Given the amount of poverty and lack of opportunity, women from all over Colombia flock to Cartagena to earn a living.






Just another $250,000,000 behemoth probably owned by some white collar criminal.




FERNANDO BOTERO – It’s quite surprising that the church would allow this immodest Botero piece out in front of it. Of course, they are not so uptight with sexuality in parts of South America regardless of the Catholic influence. Rio de Janeiro and it’s brazenly sexual Carnaval is a perfect example of this.








A wild and crazy rooftop dance club overlooking the square. Clearly I am once again the old guy in the room, but I have been hankering for a dance so badly for months on end so I broke out the dancing shoes and let it rip with ladies #2 & #3. Definitely an enjoyable way to practice the Spanish.


Worth The Price Of Admission – A local lady shows her best moves as she dances the night away solo. Oh yeah, the clocktower is in the background in case anybody noticed. She looked just as good from the front. Nice person too.


A young lady borrows my hat for a photo op.


JESSICA – No hats necessary.


EL CASTILLO SAN FELIPE DE BARAJAS – A fortress built by the Spanish. Sorry, a little bit lax on the history here. I’m just a little reticent to go digging because I have had my fill of U.S. atrocities over the last couple of countries so I decided to give it a rest in Colombia. I’m sure I’ll find plenty of leftover nefarious activities in Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile. Until then there’s plenty of Trump to be horrified about.


















Lots of nooks and crannies which I presume were for storing ammunition.




COLOMBIAN FLAG – A nice looking banner.










                                 Old Town


Pegasus and Friend – Old Town and Clock Tower in the background.




Some sort of egret or waterbird poking around the canal.


MUSEO DE ARTE MODERNO – Fantastic experience for only $3.00!








Enrique GRAU – Maqueta de Maria Mulata – 2004


The lighting and quality of space planning make this a truly world-class experience for the price of a cup of coffee.


Enrique GRAU – Panoramica De Cartagena – 2004


Ana Mercedes HOYOS – Guacamaya – 1992


Gustavo ZALAMEA – Sin Titulo – Bogota


Bibiana VELÉZ – Gran Ofrenda – Cartagena 2000


Pierre DAGUET – Ondinas – 1977


Araujo SANTOYO – Young Ladies


Ofelia RODRIGUEZ – Luminous Yellow Dream of a Mountain of Life – 1992


One of the many quality spaces in the museum.


Sebastiao DE SOUZA – No Title – Brazil


Alain BOIX – Cadena Finita – Cuba 2006


Cecilia PORRAS – Flores Amarillas – Cartagena 1969


Pedro RUIZ – Bogota 1999


Nelly DEL RIO – Untitled – Cartagena 2000




                                                    KGB BAR


KGB – A Russian themed bar next to Parque Fernandez de Madrid.


Pictured on the left is my hero, Yuri Gagarin, who was the first man in space, and who also sparked the space race which culminated in Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon in 1969. These were great men who united people in a universal pride of shared achievement.


  1. Karen Devers
    March 3, 2016

    Thank you for the dog photo, very cute mascot and there was one walking in another photo. It seems that they don’t have the presence of dogs and cats out on the streets, either on their own or being walked (not walking the cats, of course).

    I love the colors that the buildings are painted and the night time lighting really helps them shine. Very pretty.

    Your room looks welcoming and you can’t beat the price. You always find cozy places to eat and people watch, the French restaurant looks especially inviting.

    The clock tower doesn’t seem to be in focus . . .hmmmm . . .

  2. The Travel Zealot
    March 3, 2016

    There is one clocktower shot in focus. HaHaHa!

  3. Jason B.
    March 4, 2016

    I am really liking the direction this blog has taken! Columbia is bring out the bad boy. As a devoted and avid user of this website I would like to encourage more of this. thank

  4. The Travel Zealot
    March 4, 2016

    Hi Jason, I thought Cartagena was supposed to be like in the movie “Romancing the Stone”. I didn’t realize it was going to be a sexual supermarket. I’m just posting what’s out there. Hopefully it’s entertaining, and not offensive to others. I am very grateful to the folks that read my musings. I do it for the joy of it, and to relive and gain deeper insights into the experiences. But just knowing one person other than myself gets a kick out of it makes me even happier than I already am. Also since I am traveling solo. Having people make a comment here and there helps me feel connected. So thank you so much for your dedicated readership.

  5. Karen Devers
    March 5, 2016

    Poor clock tower, it just can’t compete with the eye candy! Looks like Jason might want to add Columbia to his travel bucket list.

    You have inspired me with your travels in general and your posts while in France. Today I bought the Sauternes dessert wine at our local wine shop. Then at the grocery store I did a quick check to see if they had anything from France. I found a bottle of Beaujolais-Villages, on sale!

    My daughter and I will have this with our dinner tomorrow night and I will raise a glass to you.

    I’ve ordered some interesting books from the library on French wine and regions. Should be entertaining and inspiring.

    I’m looking forward to your impressions of Ecuador!

  6. The Travel Zealot
    March 5, 2016

    Had another nice duck Magret for dinner, and I called it an early one tonight. I’m ready to move on to Ecuador as well. Food’s been good and cheap here, but I have grown weary of the noise, the endless come ons from the ladies of the night, and offers of everything from chicklets to cocaine. Of Course Ecuador has has its own issues with noise, but I will certainly get you the lowdown there. However, I think it’s one of those places that’s great to visit , but not so much living there. We shall see. At least the weather should be cooler. I visited a very nice Modern Art Museum in the old town today, so I will have one of my usual retrospectives of that.

  7. Karen Devers
    March 5, 2016

    Well, the ladies are lovely but can they make an omelette? The now universal question.

    Another question has been niggling at me and that is, why is the food so cheap? And, what kind of lives do the growers of the food have? Any insights on that aspect?

    The fellow renting a room from me is very skeptical of IL. I showed him the latest magazine and he had two comments, “they are only trying to sell real estate” and “nothing about these places is romantic so they shouldn’t use that word in their descriptions because it misleads people.” IL described France as romantic and he didn’t like that. It didn’t bother me and I think he is just being overly negative, especially since he knows nothing about the organization. Funny how some people make a snap judgment based on little or no information. Sherlock Holmes would be disgusted.

    Today I’m going to clean my nest and get ready for a visit with Fran. I’m also going to make more soap for her, this time without scents. She is very allergic to quite a few flowers and other scents. I made a variety of soap for Christmas Gifts but she’s giving me hers back in exchange for scent free ones. I’m going to try making them look like quartz crystals. Of course they may just turn out to be shapeless blobs, I’ll let you know.

    Meanwhile, you are off exploring another country – happy trails!

  8. The Travel Zealot
    March 5, 2016

    IL is trying to sell books, conferences, tours, and seminars. They do nothing hide this fact as evidenced by the numerous emails sent for this purpose. Not everyone is interested in crossing the third world line of some of the retirement offerings that IL presents, but their info on Italy, France and Spain is damn helpful for the rest of us. What is the guy’s problem with calling France romantic? Sounds like he needs to call an exterminator to manage that enormous bug up his ass. France and romance are synonymous for goodness sakes as are France and culture. Vive la France!

  9. Karen Devers
    March 6, 2016

    What wonderful additions to your Columbia post, thank you for the gallery tour. The Ladies painting reminds me of a modern version of Picasso’s Les Desmoiselles d’Avignon. I’m probably not spelling that correctly, but you know the one I mean. A reproduction of that painting was shown in the movie Titanic, as something that the wealthy family had purchased. That is completely false and it irks me when Hollywood misrepresents art history like that.

    Richard, my renter has a contrarian streak in his personality and it is interesting to see it surface. I have no problem with IL’s approach and I’m glad they have been successful. Theirs is not my only source of information but it is a good source. Plus I met you there and that was a joyful experience! I tend to leave negative people alone to stew in their own misery.

    Do you have plans to go to India? My friend Janet went there with her family a few years ago. She says that she got very tired of the grime, poverty, and constant begging. There were many beautiful sights but after two weeks she was ready to come home. The final week there was a bit trying. Sounds similar to some of your experiences south of the border.

    I’m so looking forward to visiting France!

  10. The Travel Zealot
    March 9, 2016

    The Modern Art Gallery in Cartagena was certainly a high point. The Picasso piece you mentioned depicts a group of prostitutes if I am not mistaken.

    I have to go to India at least to see the Taj Mahal, but I sense I may not make it past two weeks unless I find a less crowded area devoid of the constant smell of feces. A charming attribute India is know for. I may carry on to Sri Lanka and Myanmar and some of the other attractions in the region. I just run out of gas after two or three months of third world travel. I wouldn’t miss it. I just need to keep it to smaller doses.

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