Our last adventure in Colombia was a boat trip in a mangrove forest.
In addition to the strange trees and plants there were many birds hunting for fish.
There were also humans fishing with net.
To me this was a great way to say farewell to Colombia, so I am glad Cartagena was not our last Colombian experience.
I spent a few hours touring the city on my own.
and I ended up ion The Centennial Park.What facinated me most there were the iguanas. They climbed high up in trees and were very territorial. I saw one fight high up that ende with the loser falling to the ground with a thump.
But of course I also took pictures of people. I find that more and more interesting.
Cartagena lies by the Carribean sea and is a popular stop for a lot of cruise ships. The day we came to the city three huge cruise ships also arrived and the tourists filled the old city. It was obvious that tourism had a great impact in the city. There were hundreds of street vendors selling everything from T-shirts, juice, post cards, souvenirs etc, and they were quite active. It was a pity as the old part of the city was really nice, but the tourists and the salespeople made it much less attractive.
We went through a part of the city that few tourists ever visited, called Getsemane and I liked that better. here the “natives” lived. We were told that 80% of the inhabitants in Cartagena are descendants from slavesand some of the street art reflected that.
The streets were narrow, the colors were bright, the houses were max two stories high.
In an open place there were some special statues.
To me this visit to Getsemane was the best part of our 2 days stay in Cartagena. I just hope it will take a long time before tourism also changed that part of the city. Tourism definitely has its disadvantages for us tourists. There is a paradox here!
We were told that the carnival in Barranquilla is the second largest after Rio. The parade takes 5-6 hours, we watched 2-3 hours and I took more than 100 pictures.
In addition to the parade, there were a lot of activities in the city. Street vendors of all sorts were everywhere. Even in our hotel’s lobby there were music and dance.
Before we found our seats, I strolled to watch the activities. It was very easy to get in touch with people, smile and laughter were everywhere.
The people on the tribune were very colorful and in high spirit.
The woman with the orange wig insisted on hugging me several times and she loved being photographed.
The parade was very colorful and I really enjoyed it. Here is a selection of what we saw.
We visited a botanical garden. It was a large area and it was basically a tropical jungle. Frankly I think the idea of combining a jungle with a garden is a bad idea. To reverse a Norwegian saying: You can’t see the trees for the forest.
At the cafe in the botanical garden it was feeding stations for hummingbirds and to take pictures of them challenged many of us. It was not easy, the birds moved quickly.
An enclosure with butterflies was more rewarding. A great selection of butterflies made it interesting to take good pictures. Especially one kind was challenging as the colors on the wings were different on the topside as compared to the underside. Bright blue on top and a pattern on the underside. I did not manage to catch the blue side.
Salento is a small town in “The Coffee Highland” and was said to be a popular holiday spot for Colombians.
We visited a coffee plantation close by and were introduced to growing and making Colombian coffee.
We drove into Cocora valley where Colombia’s national tree, the Palma de Cera, is growing.
Popayan is called the white city of Colombia as most of the houses are white. It had been raining when we were there so the streets were wet and it was cloudy. We looked at a couple of churches, but I find churches to be like each other. But they have certain atmosphere.
The wet streets and the clouds made a special light.
A third church was said to be the one the descendants of the natives used.
A minister performed the Communion in the church, and what I found special was that the song used was the Beetles-song “Hi Jude” with a new and Spanish text.