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Seeing yet more of Cartagena

Colombia day thirteen

View Colombia 2023 on ToonSarah's travel map.

In San Diego, Cartegena

Our last day in Cartagena and another day to ourselves. So after breakfast we set off to explore the part of the old city we hadn’t yet seen a lot of, San Diego. The old city is roughly divided into two areas inside the walls and one immediately outside. Inside is Centro, home to the cathedral, largest squares and grander buildings. Here the wealthiest of the Spanish colonisers would have lived, and business was conducted, with goods (including slaves) unloaded at the Custom House and sold in the adjacent squares.

Also inside the walls is San Diego with its more modest but still lovely houses, home to what we might describe as the middle classes. Just outside the walls, on what was then a separate island but has since been linked with landfill, is Getsemani where the poorest people lived, including the slaves occupied in building the fortress and other construction projects.

Iglesia de Santo Toribio, San Diego

We had seen much of Centro two days ago with Walter and yesterday on our walk to Getsemani, but so far hadn’t really seen much of San Diego. So we spent this morning wandering up and down its streets, taking lots of photos of the pretty houses and various building details.









In San Diego

There were few specific sights apart from a couple of churches and some statues in its squares. This was a morning for serendipity, walking without aim and just following where our instincts dictated.

In the Plaza Fernández Madrid

In the Plaza de San Diego

Palenquera, and street art

Former house of Gabriel Garcia Marquez

We stopped for a coffee mid morning which also gave us a chance to cool down, as it was another hot sticky day. But the narrow streets did offer shade, on one side at least.

Towards the end of the morning we started to become more purposeful in our walk, steering ourselves back towards Centro and specifically to the Plaza Bolivar. The aim was to go inside the cathedral, which we'd passed but not entered with Walter, and to visit the small gold museum. We succeeded in the former but the museum was closed for renovation, we discovered.

The cathedral, dedicated to Santa Catalina de Alejandría, was interesting, with the remains of a fresco high on one wall, an impressive 18th century gilded altar and a line of weathered statues of saints in the left aisle. These used to decorate the façade but were restored and placed here in 2000. Photos on the wall nearby showed the restoration process.



In the Cathedral

After this we started to make our way back to the hotel, checking out some of the nicer souvenir and handicraft shops. I wanted a memento of our visit and found it in one of the beautiful wooden platters decorated with coloured strips of wheat which are typical crafts here.

Near our hotel, one of the relatively few unrestored buildings

Mime artist

Street art

I had become fascinated by the door knockers found on many of the old colonial houses so took quite a few photos of these.




Door knockers

Of course we also stopped off for a last ice cream at our favourite establishment, before returning to the hotel for an afternoon dip in the pool.

In the evening I fancied a change from Colombian food, which was becoming a little monotonous (everything served with plantains and coconut rice) so suggested we went to one of the Italian restaurants in the vicinity. We settled on Verona in the nearby square, Plaza Fernández Madrid. It was busy, which we took as a good sign, but we were told we could have a table in ten minutes. So we ordered drinks at the bar only to then be told it was going to be a further fifteen minutes. We felt we'd been lured in under false pretences but when we did finally get a table the food was very good and our waitress friendly, which helped balance the poor first impressions.

As we had yesterday, we finished the evening with a drink in the square outside, a nice way to end our short Cartagena stay.

Posted by ToonSarah 15:34 Archived in Colombia Tagged colour church doors cathedral windows colombia street_art street_photography

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Everywhere you have been in Colombia is so colourful. Like you, I would also have become obsessed with those door knockers. There's just so much variety. Lovely photos as always.

by irenevt

Thanks Irene - yes, Colombia is so colourful 😃 But my last few posts will show you a different side, out of the towns and cities!

by ToonSarah

I think we should all go and visit the place for the icecream alone! :) :)
Thanks for guiding us through the city, Cartagena seems to be an amazing city!

by Ils1976

Cartagena is wonderful Ils, such an attractive city, and the ice cream was a real bonus!

by ToonSarah

Vivid and colorfull, very lovely! :)

by hennaonthetrek

Those two adjectives sum up Colombia Henna 😎

by ToonSarah

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