We shouldn’t have eaten like crazy people before we came to Cartagena. Every meal was excellent and many were better than the restaurants we enjoyed this past year in Sacramento, Chicago and New Orleans. A typical lunch of the day, would set us back $3.50 each for a choice of a seafood, beef or chicken entree, with a fresh salad, coconut rice and plantains. A bowl of Ahi Tuna with fresh avocado $5. An expensive fine dining restaurant for two with appetizers and a bottle of wine only $35.
We enjoyed fresh juice smoothies, my favorite being lemonade and coconut, Ol's blackberry or watermelon for a mere $2. The coffee and ice cream shops rival those of Europe. I didn’t think it was possible to top the gelato shops of Italy. We spent the majority of our time in the old walled city and it was safe and clean, no worries about the water or ice. Columbia is a first world country and we regret believing so many blogs! The historic building facades are beautifully preserved and inside the shops and restaurants are bright and modern with all those beautiful doors!
Colombia is the second largest exporter of flowers in the world and it showed in the churches, plazas and courtyards we visited. Wifi is everywhere and I think we saw a total of two mosquitos, why did I spend two days researching the safest non-deet mosquito spray! Lodging runs the gamut for every budget, from the fine small hotels of the world, to beautiful boutique hotels and numerous charming hostels.
After seven days in Cartagena, I feel like we have made many friends. The people are as beautiful as the scenery. The hospitality we received was incredible, from the shop owners who greet us daily as we walk by, to the restauranteur who brought us ice filled glasses and water as we waited for the Pope. We met new friends from Medellin, Alberto and Shirley who treated us to a lovely dinner at their hotel, after we met taking their photo. We had such a wonderful evening they invited us to stay at their home when we visit their city, so we have a few weeks to learn salsa and better our Spanish.
After seeing the Pope we feel our journey is truly blessed. We leave here with many happy memories and the hopes of returning for a much longer visit. Week one was a total success!