Date of Entry: January 9th to 11th 2017
Date of Writing: August 20th 2017
After amazing days on the beach at La Brisa Tranquila it’s time for us to head to one of the oldest colonial cities in south america, Jewel of the Caribbean, Cartagena. We’ve just got two days here before the part of this trip I’m most excited for starts, a trip across the caribbean up through the San Blas islands just off Panama and into Panama City. But still Cartagena was my first landing spot in South America all the way back in August 2014. It’s where I first fell in love with this continent which is now so happily my home, and I’m glad to come back with someone I love. For Renata it’s a first visit so as soon as we check in to our hostel in Getsamani we head out to see the truly beautiful Old Town of Cartagena.
As we wander through the very Spanish streets of the walled old town we stop for a delicious Colombian snack, Arepas, from a street stall, hot cheesy and delicious, and the ice cold lemonade that I’ve missed for the past three years. In the thick and humid Caribbean heat it is pure pleasure to drink cup after cup.
Leaving the old town behind I lead Renata through Getsamani to close by my last hostel where there are two of my favourite things in Cartagena, perhaps my favourite graffiti I’ve seen in South America and also the best street burgers in cartagena at a plaza just down the road from this beautiful black woman… oh and Renata too.
The next day we spend it doing much the same thing, wandering the city in the oppressive heat, checking out the fort from below and organizing the payment and trip to Panama. We leave this same night at around 8 oclock and are both anxious to get started, but not so anxious that we don’t enjoy the day in Cartagena.
That night we head to the fancy sailboat harbour to meet our companions for the next 5 days onboard the Amande 2. Going into the harbour we get quite a scare as a dog starts to barking and chasing Renata, who is terrified of dogs, and of courseas luck would have it we discover something we can’t believe, the dog belongs to the captain of our boat and will be on board our sailboat with us for the next 5 days. Renata is in disbelief and we almost decide not to go. It’s one thing to have a dog on board a small sailboat, but to run a tourist option and not specifically mention it seems pretty silly.
The Spanish waterdog, whose name is Mani, does calm down at least, as we load our luggage into the waterproof compartments of the boat which is slightly bigger than the Spirit of Sydney where I spent a month onboard in Antarctica. This is a shorter journey and a warmer one, also different because here I’m not expected to sail the boat, which I’m almost sad about. Renata and I have a nice private cabin up front and try to settle in to the gentle rocking of the harbour waves, our door closed to keep Mani out, and Renata’s mind running through every terrible thing the dog could do to her. Luckily it doesn’t turn out that badly and around 6 am, delayed by bad weather, we set sail for Panama. A dog, three crew, and 14 tourists together for the next 5 days exploring tropical paradise, but first we need to cross the rough seas. More on that coming, watch this space. (I’ll also write a post all about booking San Blas and how best to do it once I finish blogging about the incredible adventure.