LOCATION: Cartagena, Colombia
WEATHER: Hot. High 85
Our Hop On/Hop Off ticket was good for a second day, so we took it to the new side of Cartagena. At each stop, hawkers shout up to us, hoping we will buy water, beer, or something from them.
Lots of people got off at this stop – a big fortress built in the 1500s.
On to what is called “Little Miami”. It is the swanky part of town – lots of high rises – condos, upscale hotels, and even a McDonalds!
If you stayed here during your visit to Cartagena, you would have a very different experience as compared to staying in the old, walled city.
We walked along the boardwalk, constantly bombarded by hawkers sellling everything you can imagine – sunglasses, hats, jewelery, and massages. They never give up.
We stopped at a beach cafe for lunch.
We ordered lunch – a grilled whole fish to share. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. We had drinks, watched some drama around us, and waited. We said “No, gracias” about a million times to hawkers coming by. Finally after about 1.5 hours, our fish appeared.
I like Cartagena, but I always get the feeling that we are getting ripped off. My calculation of what the lunch bill should have been was about 1/4 of what it ended up. It was not worth arguing about. Just frustrating.
We hopped back on the Hop On/Hop Off bus (after waiting another hour), and rode it back to the Old City.
On our way back to our apartment, we walked by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s house, the famous Colombian author of books such as “100 Years of Solitude”.
The drawing on the wall of his house translates to “The saddest thing in life is to have an empty bed”.
We saw this restaurant sign, which Alexis would have liked. It says – We don’t have wifi….just TALK to each other!
After an afternoon rest, we headed out for dinner. Being Saturday night, the place was hopping. Street vendor were cooking interesting things, like these arepas.
We passed by a church where they were preparing for a wedding – with beautiful white flowers everywhere.
Anthony Bourdain loved Colombia and came here several times. We went to the restaurant that he liked and featured in one of his episodes. It is called La Cevicheria (The Ceviche Place). He described it as a hole-in-the-wall. Well, it has been “discovered” and now is quite popular with tourists. However, the service and food were excellent. I had a delicious ceviche with squid, octopus, and fish.
George had an open-faced sandwich made with squid, octopus, and fish cooked in a tomato sauce and poured over a sliced French baguette.
With that delicious food and two craft beers, our bill was less than our lunch beach bill. I KNOW we got ripped off!
Here is a photo of Anthony and the owner of this restaurant.
On our way home, we passed lots of street dancers, performing for the tourists.
After dinner, we watched Anthony’s “No Reservations” episode 12 in which he visits Cartagena, and eats at La Cevicheria. He ends up befriending the owner who takes him to markets and explains the Colombia food culture. Interesting!
BOOK: “Listen to Me” by Tess Gerritsen. Part of the series about a medical examiner and female detective. Always good. 4 stars out of 5