Fortress in Cartagena

Hola todos.  Still in Cartagena until Friday when I leave for Carnaval de Barranquilla!  This is a beautifully enchanting city, which I again enjoyed on this fine sunny day.  I invite you into another adventure.


Being an old port city in the days of pirates, conquistadors, and general global expansionism had its problems.  Namely, everyone wanted to control what you had.  I know the feeling, but have yet to build a fort to protect my life.  Maybe that should be my next project.  The early Colombians decided to build the Castillo de San Felipe starting in 1536.  They obviously didn’t use Canadians as slaves to build this fort, because we would’ve melted in the mid-day heat here.  The slaves they did use, however, constructed this fort to be impenetrable.  And the fort literally was impenetrable; no one ever defeated the Colombians from this side of the city.
It’s hard to capture the true immensity of this fortress in Cartagena in one picture.  It’s huge.  It takes up an entire hill, and is probably 2kms in circumference.  As Canadians, we just let the weather protect us.  Anyone who thought that taking over Canada would be a good idea turned around once they witnessed the winters.  That, or got their backsides handed to them in the War of 1812.  Yes my American friends, that was the war where Canada burned down the White House.
A view of Bocagrande from the fortress in Cartagena.  A look at the new from the old.

A beautiful courtyard in front of the Santo Domingo church.  It used to be used as a courtyard to auction off slaves.  I like its current use much better.  Sitting and drinking Colombia’s largest (legal) export in the shadows of its antique coastal city architecture is truly fantastic.  Add on top of this some fine literature from one of the city’s most famous residents, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and you have a truly Colombian experience.  I’m glad that I have been reading El Amor en los Tiempos de Colera before I arrived here.  It gave me a flavour for times passed, and a cultural context of the city.  While here I am able to enjoy walking the streets that were the setting for this beautiful novel.


A beautiful sunset shot of the Cathedral.  The Catholics sure know how to spend their gold.  Truly some of the world’s most amazing pieces of architecture have been built in its name.

As I was exiting the Old City in order to go back to my hotel I encountered this very lively troupe of dancers and drummers.  So much energy and passion in their performance.  The tagline for the Colombian Tourism Board is “Colombia es Pasion”.  I would definitely agree with this statement.  There are some lyrics to a song by Latino hip hop band Calle 13 that go like this “No tengo mucha plata, pero tengo cobre.  Aquí se baila como bailan los pobres.”  Essentially, “I don’t have much money (literally: silver,) but I have tenacity (copper.) Here you dance like the poor dance.”  I think these lyrics apply here.


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