It's hard to believe that today was our last port of call and we'll be back in Miami on Tuesday morning. Today we were in Cartagena, Columbia. The approach to the port reminds me of coming into Miami or Ft. Lauderdale with its large, modern skyline. We took a tour today of the highlights of Catagena, a city founded in 1533 by the Spanish. Our stop at the Fortress of San Filipe was just a photo stop as the climb to the top of the fortress is quite long and steep. We spent most of our time in Old Town, a walled city build in the later part of the 14th century. We were dropped off near the outer part of the city and our guide conducted a walking tour through the narrow street and open squares. We each had a receiver and ear piece which allowed us to hear her descriptions of the town. The architecture of the city is well preserved with many wooden balconies off the upper floors of the buildings. We visited the Church of San Pedro Claver, a Jesuit who worked for the better treatment of the Africans who were brought in to build the fortifications, and the Inquisition Palace with its display of the instruments of torture. As with all tours, we had time for shopping, first going to the New City with its jewelry shops for 45 minutes, then back to part of the Old City for local handicrafts.
Columbia is the largest exporter of emeralds in the world, and its other major exports are gold and coffee. Its also the home of Chiquita Bananas as well as other tropical fruit and throughout the city woman dressed in traditional costumes carry bowls of fruit on their heads ($2 for a picture).
During the next two sea days, I'll complete my lecture series which has typically pulled in between 75 and 100 people. People have frequently stopped me to tell me their stories, ask questions or just say they have enjoyed the series. I'm looking forward to getting home.
Hope you've enjoyed the blog.