Colorful Cartagena

The almost-48 hours following our last post were spent, primarily, on board Beatitude. It rained for virtually 2 days straight. We haven’t seen this much rain since Grenada, if then. The ABCs (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) are all dry and desert-like with minimal rainfall. Not so here! After a couple of days of gorgeous weather, we experienced a 2-day deluge of biblical proportions (Perhaps, I exaggerate a little). We didn’t dislike it. Beatitude needed a bath. We enjoy a good rain while at anchor (when unaccompanied by gale force winds). We spent the entirety of both days on our vessel enjoying the rain and each other. We ate, read, listened to audiobooks, watched movies, listened to music and played games.

The Boca Grande neighborhood of Cartagena from Beatitude

The Boca Grande neighborhood of Cartagena from Beatitude

On Sunday night, as the rain showers subsided, giving way to a few breaks in the clouds, our tranquility and relaxation was interrupted by another boat “breakage.” We turned on our generator to top off the batteries, since our solar panels were essentially non-functional due to the rains and clouds. A moment after starting it, it sputtered and died. Aargh! That’s pirate for “this stinks!” My investigation revealed a raw water problem which almost certainly meant the impeller was shot. I believe Satan himself designed this particular impeller installation. You may remember from previous posts that I have spent up to three days replacing this impeller. Fortunately, the second time around, back in the US Virgin Islands, I was much more efficient. This time, I approached the task with a sense of confidence that it wouldn’t be too difficult. And it wouldn’t have been, if I had not dropped the Woodruff key, a little half-moon piece of hardened metal that holds the impeller in place on the shaft. It fell beneath the generator and disappeared. We probably spent an hour with both of us reaching under and around the generator to find the key. Finally, I suggested that Cindy go ahead and start the spaghetti she was going to make for dinner while I search some more. If I hadn’t found it by then, I’d give up and try to find one at a hardware store on Monday morning. Just as Cindy prayed in the salon for my hands to be guided to the key, I felt it way back beneath the generator and was able to install it without further incidence. A few moments of putting things back together again and the generator was running, and we were having a delicious spaghetti dinner.

Cruising:  Working on your boat in exotic places.  Yep!

Cruising: Working on your boat in exotic places. Yep!

When we awoke on Monday morning we were gazed upon blue skies through the hatch which lies above our bed. The sun was shining brightly, an omen of an enjoyable and productive day. We dinghied into the marina mid-morning for the laundry. A very pleasant young lady named Denise runs the self-service laundry, but she will also do your laundry for you. We took advantage of that offer and had three large loads of laundry washed, dried, and folded for only 80,000 pesos, including the tip. That’s only $27.00, much less than we’ve been paying in the other islands! While the laundry was being done, we walked the block to the large supermercado, Carla, for groceries and to restock our wine selection which had dwindled to three bottles of white wine.

My wife's Colombian Emerald necklace.

My wife’s Colombian Emerald necklace.

On Monday afternoon, we revisited El Centro, the old walled city. We hailed our $2.50 taxi out in front of the marina, Club Nautico, and headed toward the Puerta de Reloj, the main entrance into the city. We then ambled the cobblestone streets, admiring the beauty and the colors of the old buildings guilded with flowers. We walked passed the vendors on the streets hawking their wares, responding politely over and over again with a “No, Gracias.” Cindy did find opportunity to find a few more small souvenirs to purchase along the way, so that not every vendor’s effort went unrewarded.

Looking through the modern to the old

Looking through the modern to the old

Love the overhanging balconies filled with flowers and greenery

Love the overhanging balconies filled with flowers and greenery

A street of El Centro

A street of El Centro

Another street purchase from this young lady.

Another street purchase from this young lady.

Soon we stumbled upon our primary destination for the day, the Palacio de la Inquisición (Palace of the Inquisition), one of the most important colonial buildings in Cartagena. After paying the reasonable admission price, we were treated to a private tour by an excellent guide whose cost, including a generous tip, was less than ten dollars (30,000 pesos). He provided an excellent history of colonial Cartagena starting with the arrival of the Spanish explorer, Pedro de Heredia, who founded the city in 1533 (Santa Marta, the oldest city in Colombia was founded a few years earlier). He then took us through the years of pirate raids, culminating in the extensive raids of Sir Francis Drake of England. It was after Drake, that the old city walls were built to protect the Spanish treasures of emeralds and gold from the French and English. In 1610, a tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition was established in Cartagena to protect the Catholic faith. And it continued in operation all the way up to the independence of Cartagena from Spain in 1811. I would note that our guide felt no particular affection for the Catholic Church, though he was baptized in the church as an infant. In no uncertain terms, he spoke of the atrocities of the inquisition and his disdain for the Catholic priests was not well-hidden. Come to think of it, his disdain for all authority was quite obvious. He dislike the Spanish, who he stated still runs Colombia. He didn’t like the rich. And, he didn’t like the “corrupt Colombian government!” But, the tour was excellent. We visited the apartments of the inquisitors and also the two primary rooms in which the accused were tried and tortured. Yikes!

The Palace of the Inquisition (The actual place where the Spanish Inquisition was carried out in Colombia for over 200 years.

The Palace of the Inquisition (The actual place where the Spanish Inquisition was carried out in Colombia for over 200 years.

Inside the courtyard of the Palacio de Inquisición,

Inside the courtyard of the Palacio de Inquisición,

The door to the left enters into one of the two rooms in which the Inquisitors tried their subjects.

The door to the left enters into one of the two rooms in which the Inquisitors tried their subjects.

The Inquisition Prison.

The Inquisition Prison.

Inside the Inquisitor's room of judgement

Inside the Inquisitor’s room of judgement

One of the methods of torture

One of the methods of torture

Another, which was worn around the neck

Another, which was worn around the neck

And, yet another, specially designed for women's breasts.

And, yet another, specially designed for women’s breasts.

The Drake House:  Sir Francis Drake lived here in the 16th century after raiding Cartagena

The Drake House: Sir Francis Drake lived here in the 16th century after raiding Cartagena

During our aimless wandering, we also stumbled upon a beautiful 16th century church, the Church of Santo Domingo. When we came back by later, a mass was underway.

The facade of Santo Domingo

The facade of Santo Domingo

The interior of Santo Domingo with a beautiful Baroque altar

The interior of Santo Domingo with a beautiful Baroque altar

Mass at the Church of Santo Domingo, the second oldest church in Colombia (the oldest is in the first city, Santa Marta).

Mass at the Church of Santo Domingo, the second oldest church in Colombia (the oldest is in the first city, Santa Marta).

From there, we walked a few blocks westward and ascended the outer wall of the city just in time to be spectators to a fabulous Caribbean sunset. A restaurant was serving a large number of customers at tables up on the wall overlooking the city and the sea (Owned by one of the “rich” people per our guide.) We walked along the wall for a little while until our tired feet could carry us no further.

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City Wall Selfie

City Wall Selfie

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Cannon directed at the sea

Cannon directed at the sea

Sunset Selfie

Sunset Selfie

From atop the old city walls

From atop the old city walls

Sunset from atop the Cartagena city wall

Sunset from atop the Cartagena city wall

Inside the city walls

Inside the city walls

From the wall

From the wall

We turned into the city and found a wonderful restaurant called SeñorToro Steakhouse and Bar. Cindy and I both enjoyed the Filet Mignon stuffed with Chorizo and Pancetta, and smothered with a delightful mushroom sauce. This luscious steak with two sides cost all of 45,000 pesos! ($15.50!) I could get used to this place. Afterwards, we walked back to the Torre de Reloj to hail a taxi back to Beatitude.

Dinner at Señor Toro

Dinner at Señor Toro

Señor Toro

Señor Toro

11 thoughts on “Colorful Cartagena

  1. Nice, we had rain here in Curacao also and 4 days with no sun!!! Changed the oil in our diesel and transmission while it was cooler!! Glad you are enjoying Columbia!!!!! Another 11 days back to Bonaire!!!!!

  2. Beautiful pictures. You are in my thoughts lots. I especially pray for you when the wind and rain come. Continue to enjoy and may God’s Blessings cover you.

  3. Glad the rain finally stopped & you got away from the hurricane! The town looks beautiful! So colorful! Always enjoy experiencing your adventures thru your blogs! Love you guys!!

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