Día de la Independencia de Cartagena

Columbia offers many beautiful destinations, but bring Sugar Shack will only see Santa Marta.  We originally thought about sailing her down to Cartagena, but after arriving in Santa Marta and doing a little research, we felt it’d be best to leave her in Santa Marta and take the bus into Cartagena.

Cartagena in the distance.

Cartagena in the distance.

Our twelve year wedding anniversary is November 11 which also happens to be Cartagena’s Independence Day celebration.  Seems like a perfect time to go on a new adventure, don’t you think?   Jon, Mia, and Teo on “Itchy Footdecided to come on this journey with us.

Pedro de Heredia, a Spanish Commander, founded Cartagena de Indias in 1533. Its rapid growth began after the establishment of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in 1717. The Silver Age of the city is the period between 1750 and 1808. Cartagena became the richest city of the colony at that time.

On November 11, 1811, Cartagena declared its independence from Spain amidst the Peninsular War, which became Latin American Wars of Independence.  Cartagena’s Independence is an important milestone even though the city was almost destroyed in 1815 and Columbia didn’t gain full independence for several more years.

Twenty people were took the Marsol to Cartagena which took a little over 4 hours.  It was a nice bus with reclining seats and AC and it made one stop for food and bathroom breaks.

Comfy little buses transporting us to Cartagena.

Comfy little buses transporting us to Cartagena.

We checked in to our respective hotels and set a meet up place and time.  Matt and I stayed at Casa Ebano 967 for a whopping $35 per night.  Matt is almost touching both walls under the AC unit and the bathroom wall was not much bigger.   It wasn’t big, but it was clean and safe.

Entrance to hotel, two pics of small room, street of our hotel and bathroom in our room.

Entrance to hotel, two pics of small room, street of our hotel and bathroom in our room.

We walked to the Walled Colonial City or “ciudad amurallada” which consists of the historical districts of El Centro and San Diego. It is a real gem of colonial architecture, packed with churches, monasteries, plazas, palaces, and mansions with their overhanging balconies and shady patios.

The old town is surrounded by Las Murallas, the thick walls built to protect it against enemies. Construction began towards the end of the 16th century, after the attack by Francis Drake; until that time Cartagena was almost completely unprotected. The project took two centuries to complete due to repeated damage from both storms and pirate attacks. Only in 1796 was it finally finished, just 25 years before the Spaniards were eventually expelled.

Entrance to Walled City.

Entrance to Walled City.

Walled City from the parade route.

Walled City from the parade route.

The streets are lined with colorful store fronts, offices, apartments, cafes, hotels, hostels, and more.  Several have over scale wooden doors with ornate knockers or smaller doors built into them.  Some are topped with beautiful flowers crawling below their roofs, and yet others sit vacant and alone.

Pedro de Heredia was a Spanish conquistador, founder of the city of Cartagena de Indias

Pedro de Heredia was a Spanish conquistador, founder of the city of Cartagena de Indias.

University of the Arts located in the Walled City.

University of the Arts located in the Walled City.

Beautiful Colored buildings inside the old city.

Beautiful Colored buildings inside the old city.

Tons of flowers grow on and around the buildings.

Tons of flowers grow on and around the buildings.

Many buildings had large wooden doors with smaller doors built inside and large knockers.

Many buildings had large wooden doors with smaller doors built inside and large knockers.

Church dome at sunset.

Church dome at sunset.

Another beautiful dome at sunset.

Another beautiful dome at sunset.

Love these buildings sprouting with blossoms.

Love these buildings sprouting with blossoms.

Matt, Me, Teo, Mia, and Jon. Photo Credit: Jon Wright

Matt, Me, Teo, Mia, and Jon. Photo Credit: Jon Wright

Playing with the shadows.

Playing with the shadows. Photo credit Jon Wright.

As we made our way to the parade route the crowds great louder.  We saddled up to the crowded barrier and waited for the parade to start.  Evidently, Columbians like to celebrate with foam.  They sell foam canisters for 5,000 pesos and everyone is fair game.  It did not take long before we were covered in a soap type foam that dissolved into a bit of a sticky mess.  Nothing mattered, everyone was fair game and everyone got hit or sprayed, many times.

Oh ya, this tastes good! Photo credit: Jon Wright

Oh ya, this tastes good! Photo credit: Jon Wright

There is a parade in the back ground. Photo Credit: Jon Wright

There is a parade in the back ground. Photo Credit: Jon Wright

Mia and Jon have been foamed.

Mia and Jon have been foamed.

The parade started and captured our attention.  It was a beautiful display of costumes, music, beauty contestants, culture, and history.  Many men dress up in female costumes which is part of their heritage.  There were also many men dressed as woman celebrating LGBT we assume since they were out in full force too.

This woman was so beautiful, I believe she is a Miss Columbia contestant.

This woman was so beautiful, I believe she is a Miss Columbia contestant.

I loved this trio.

I loved this trio.

He danced his way across Cartagena in those heels.

He danced his way across Cartagena in those heels.

Still smiling at the end of the parade. White flakes are foam.

Still smiling at the end of the parade. White flakes is foam.

So many bright and beautiful costumes. Loved the yellow.

So many bright and beautiful costumes. Loved the yellow.

Pasties covered their

Pasties covered their “private parts” dancing through town.

Little people with large heads bobbing on down the road.

Little people with large heads bobbing on down the road.

They carried these huge floral arrangements throughout the parade.

They carried these huge floral arrangements throughout the parade.

Just had to show you on fun cross dresser.

Just had to show you on fun cross dresser.

Enjoying the view from the top of the wall. Photo Credit: Jon Wright

Enjoying the view from the top of the wall. Photo Credit: Jon Wright

Snagged a front row spot and loving it. Photo credit Jon Wright.

Snagged a front row spot and loving it. Photo credit Jon Wright.

Love this little beauty!

Love this little beauty!

Mia and I enjoying a non foam moment

Mia and I enjoying a non foam moment

Interesting Colombian Facts:

  • Colombian pesos are confusing and should therefor drop three zeros.
  • Colombians are hard workers and have an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Foam does not taste very good.
  • Parade costumes are the most elaborate and elegant ones I’ve seen.
  • The heels they wear (both men and women) are ridiculously high!
  • The streets of Columbia are very clean with little litter.

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