Week 8- Cartegena and Isla Grande

This week began on a bit of a down note where I was too sick to leave my bed, but ended on a much higher note in Medellin. I began the week in Cartagena. I had booked myself a private room for the first time because I felt so sick and I was up to a 102 fever. The first day I pretty much just stayed in bed and watched TV on my computer all day. I needed to remain close to the bathroom and I still had a fever. That night though, I dragged myself out of bed and went to dinner with Viviane and a couple of friends she had met on a free walking tour. We went to a bar that overlooked the city for a couple of drinks (or they had drinks). Then, to a sushi place for dinner.

Streets of Caregena

Tuesday, I was feeling much better. Viviane and I just meandered around the city all day. Cartagena is a really interesting city, especially the old town inside of the walls. The architecture brings you back to another age and everything is so colorful. It is the perfect place just to wander around and get lost and see everything that they place has to offer. We went into some shops, ate some lunch at a cafe, and just sat on some benches in a park for awhile. That afternoon we did the free walking tour in Cartagena. It was a good tour, but our guide was quite weird. He did the whole walking tour as a dialog with himself. I learned a lot though like how Cartagena is known as the heroic city because they were under siege for 120 without food and still did not surrender. After the tour, we visited a square where they were having groups come through and do their traditional dances. There were lots of groups and their costumes were beautiful! The dances were more african in origin since these groups were decedents of the slaves that were brought over to build the walls of the city. After, we went to the plaza by the church and had a nice dinner at an outside table. The feel of the city and the lights at night was a great way to end the day. See the end of the post for more pictures of Cartegena.

Sunset in Cartegena

The following day we woke up early and took a boat to Isla Grande which is small island off the coast of Cartagena. It took us about an hour by boat to get there. We stayed at a place called Paradiso Secreto which is an organization of 7 hostels where each hostel has transformed an old colourful house into their hostel. The hostels share the rest of the common grounds of the beach, pavilions, ping pong table, and pool (that you really couldn’t swim in). Food was expensive to buy there so we opted to wander down into “town” which was just a small local village and get food from a local shop, which was much cheaper. We came back and went swimming in the ocean for awhile, played some ping pong, and then made our makeshift dinner. It was a pretty chill night.

Boat ride to Isla Grande
Our hostel in Isla Grande (Alegrias hostel)

Thursday, we woke up and hiked to the other side of the island to try and find a different beach. It was about a 40 minute walk and we got lost a couple of times since there are a lot of paths on the island. This was a bit of a challenge for me as well because my stomach was still weird and I hadn’t eaten much for days so the energy levels were low. We found a hotel/resort on the other side of the island and laid on chairs in the shade and I just slept. Then, we had a good lunch at the restaurant with an amazing brownie for dessert and I was able to Skype my mom because there was good wifi. After this, we hiked back to our side of the island and just chilled out in our house for the rest of the night.

The grounds at the hostel
My friend Ashleigh at the beach
There were tons of Mangrove trees

The final day we had a boat at 2 of clock that we needed to catch. I woke up and wrote my blog for last week and did some reading. This place was really nice just to chill out and catch up on some well needed rest. We went for one final swim and then showered and gathered our stuff. The boat ride back to Cartagena was crazy! The water was very choppy and Viviane and I were in the very front of the boat. I thought we were going to fly out! I was holding on so tight and the boat just get thudding to the water over and over, which sends a shock to your whole body stomach and back included. I was so happy when we were back in Cartagena. I think the trip would have been perfectly find as long as you were not in the very front. In Cartegena, we had some time to kill before our 9:30 flight to Medellin. It is cheaper and fast in Colombia to take a flight than the bus so that is usually house people cover large distances. The cheapest airline is Viva Colombia.

Sunset at the wall

So, we first found and ice cream shop that actually freezes the ice cream right in front of you with liquid nitrogen and it even has all of the toppings mixed in already! It was really amazing ice cream. Then, we found a place near the wall and just sat and read our books for awhile. This didn’t last very long because my stomach started acting funny again so we went back to the hostel. From here, we caught a cab to the airport and hopped our flight to Medellin. I was so excited to go to Medellin because I have wanted to go here for a long time! In Medellin, we caught a pretty expensive cab to our hostel since the airport is a bit out of town. When we got to the hostel, we talked to our roommates for awhile, who we eventually became friends with and then passed out. I know I am now only on Saturday now, but I will write all about Medellin in my next post. Since I am a bit behind the date that I flew to Medellin was on September 16th.

I couldn’t get enough pictures of the beautiful sunsets
One of Botero’s statues
The oldest church

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