First Day Exploring Cartagena Old Town

I am so comfortable at 30 degrees (86F). Also I had heard a lot of good things about Cartagena so I was super-psyched to see the city.

To reserve my energy for walking, and to allow for altitude adjustment, I decided to get an Uber to the centre of the Old Town.  I knew it was only 15-20 minutes walk, so I would be fine to walk back.

I was dropped at San Alberto coffee first, and then I just wandered and followed my nose.

I heard that Cartagena had a great street art scene, so I was keen to discover the local masterpieces. What I initially saw was quite different.  It looked like someone was sketching in charcoal.

Catedral de Santa Catalina

The Spanish-style Catholic basilica built during the 16th & 17th centuries as a national monument.

Of course being a massive tourist hub, there were lots of things for sale and some cheesy touristy characters.

Even the street signs were beautiful.

Iglesia de San Pedro Claver

This is one of the most famous churches in Cartagena.  It’s a grand 16th-century church with a museum dedicated to Pedro Claver, a canonized early abolitionist.

Just opposite are the most animated iron sculptures.  I just loved them.

And you have to agree with me, that this one looks like he’s taking a selfie.

I think this chess game has gone on far too long.

Plaza de la Aduana

The sculptures lead around to Plaza de la Aduana.

The plaza holds a grand statue.

Then I just followed my nose down the cutest streets.

I bought some mango and sat down to chill at Plaza Fernandez de Madrid.

Plaza Fernandez de Madrid

As I started to head home, the colours were invigorating and great fun for picture taking.

Many tourists rent bicycles as a way to see the Old Town.

You have to watch your step as taxis whiz past.

Cartagena was starting to feel like my kind of town – alive, with brightness and joy-de-vivre.

And to get a good picture, sometimes you have to get down, and change perspective.

Crossing La Matuna, heading into Getsemani, I stumbled on my own private tour of magical street art.

Street Art in Old Town Cartagena

Each piece was so unique, and truly expressed local ideas from this heterogeneous and cosmopolitan place.

Getsemani was more grungy and edgy than San Diego. It hosted quite a few hostels too.

But the street art just blew me away.

All the art seems to show beauty, colour, tolerance and love.  So moving.

As I stepped onto the bridge back to Manga, the sun was setting. It was a beautiful view across to the castle.

I watched the sun set over Bocagrande.

Then it was time for dinner. Napoli Pizza was a good choice.

Their vegetarian pizza was excellent.

Pretty good introduction to Cartagena.


Also published on Medium.

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