Cartagena · Colombia · Hilton · South America · Teaching English · Totopo · Travel · VivaColombia · Walled City

Cartagena

Today we got up really early to travel to Cartagena. We are going on a little local airline called Viva Colombia. We are going to be there for 4 days. The flight leaves at 5:25am. We have to get up early, but we can then spend most of the day on the beach which will be amazing! I can’t wait.

We got checked in early to the Hilton and got to take advantage of their breakfast too as it was so early! It was nice to drop stuff off and eat – We then explored the hotel to see where things were and changed and went to the pool and the ocean. It was nice – though the beach near the Hilton is not that great – a bit dirty – The pools were amazing and so much fun for the kids.  They have a slide and a bridge to swim under.  There are a lot of lounge chairs to hang out on while the kids swim and as we were so tired, that is exactly what we did!

They have a swim-up bar and Shalom and I had a pina colada and relaxed. They also have pool-side restaurant service, so the kids had some fish and rested and swam some more.  It is quite perfect really.  This is all steps away from the ocean, so you can hear the waves and feel the light breeze.

 

We walked to a local fish restaurant for dinner – it was super yummy!  We walked back to the hotel and had a couple of pool side drinks and had an early bed – it’s been a long day for all of us!

Day two Cartagena

Today we went to the beach for several hours. The kids and I slept in. We went for a leisurely breakfast and the kids wanted to stay at the hotel and go to the swimming pools, but I told them we were going to the beach first.  They have never really been to the beach, so they don’t understand why it is so very many times more exciting than the pool!!

We rented some boogie boards for the kids and built a sand castle. We had a great time. The kids were unsure for a bit, but then thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They were so excited that we got to stay there a little longer than we had planned.

We came back to the hotel and swam for a bit, then showered and got ready to go to the walled city or old town of Cartagena.

The city of Cartagena is the oldest city in the Americas. It has been kept in its colonial state and one can walk the walls and enjoy the architecture. It is truly an amazing city. It was really hot even at night-time, but going to the city later in the day really helped. We got there about 6pm just like the guidebooks told us to! The city has really thick adobe-like walls and that helps keep things cooler as well. We took a cab to a square in the city and then walked around exploring things. We found a restaurant called Totopo– it was delicious and had great service and the restaurant had a friendly, adorable cat! That helped the process. I had some amazing fish and we all drank limonadas – our all time favorite drinks here in Colombia.

Totopo Cartagena      Garlic fish

We took our time walking around the city after dinner and stopped in a Cacao museum which was very informational about the creation of chocolate – and the kids loved it. We got them signed up for a class on chocolate making tomorrow evening!

We walked to the cathedral, but it was closed for renovations. The outside of it was gorgeous and worth seeing – we found the canons on the walls and looked out at the dark sea. The evening was perfect and we were all suitably exhausted!

 

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Bucaramanga · Colombia · South America · Teaching English · Travel · VivaColombia

Viva Colombia

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We got up early to come back to Bogota. On the way to the airport there were tons of people walking a pilgrimage to the Basilica in Giron. ½ of the road was taken up with these people and our uber driver said that eventually they would close one way of the road and divide the other lane up as the throngs increased. It was rainy and cold so I hope that these people get extra credit for their discomfort!

basicilia giron

We made sure to make it to the airport early in case there were any problems – Norbert did not bring his actual passport – only a copy – we didn’t know if they would let us on or not. I sure hope so as I did not want the long trip back. The airport was so pretty, as the runway went up to the forest.  It was small and there were trees all around the runway.  It made the experience kind of surreal.

The airline did let us on and we made it back to Bogota in less than an hour – such a better deal than the long bus ride!  They had us re-adjust our luggage to meet the weight, but were super nice and accommodating about the luggage weight.  I as very impressed with the airline.  They are like the Spirit or Frontier of the country, but nicer and more professional.  The inside of the airplane had a lot more room than the US’s cheap airlines and the interior was leather.  They didn’t serve drinks or have any extras, and we had to pay for assigned seats, carry ons and checked bags, but the flight was short and sweet and really cheap.  I am very very impressed and will definitely be flying them again!