Cartagena

(17/6/19) I arrived in Cartagena from Barranquilla, only a 2 hour ride, and was there by noon. I decided to ride around the city, since the initial trip was short. I went along the beach, just to explore a bit before finding a place to stay. While riding along the beach, people tried to stop me down offering me apartments, seeing that I was a traveler. They were shouting, whistling, some even stepped onto the road. It was quite the welcome. I kept on riding around until… I… ended up in the worst traffic jam. The roads were quite narrow so I couldn’t really get around. Also there was many other motorbikes in the same situation, blocking every space. Me in my MC jacket, I was cooking pretty good in the sun.

I only had two days there which wasn’t really enough to see everything. Castles and museums to see. Beaches and islands that are close by. I was mainly focused on photographing the historic centre. I had been waiting to shoot in streets here ever since I started traveling. Cartagena’s historic centre is just full of opportunities. It’s impossible not to be amazed by the well-kept colonial buildings and the thousand colours and combination. I think it really reflects the vibe of the culture and the life on the streets. Vivid and expressive.

I enjoyed my short time there a lot, met some great people at the hostel I was at. It had a lovely rooftop bar where we hung out most of the evening and the conversations flowed easily.

From Cartagena I went on towards Medellín, with one stop in Caucasia. Which is about half way to Medellín. It was also the safest option in that area I was told. The next day I could tell from the upped security that the area was a bit dodgier. The road patrols rode with heavy helmets and bigger guns. I didn’t feel particularly unsafe though. Neither did see anything. Coming back south reached the mountains once again and rose to more than 3000m. It was quite chilly.

In Medellín I only stayed for two days as well. I was here earlier this year so I had already seen some of the city and done a couple of tours there. I wanted to capture the life in the city centre but I didn’t really turn out. One thing though I really liked about Medellín was its metro system. Easily the best public transport system in Colombia. It runs through the core of the city with veins going to the outskirts. At the hostel in Medellín the majority was english speakers. For the first time on my trip I was speaking more English than Spanish. Which was a bit strange. I did practice Spanish with some of the English speakers though.

I am really happy that my Spanish is at a level now where I can speak more than less fluidly. Not having to worry about a language barrier has definitely made the trip a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Update: 5/7/19

I have been back in Cali now for almost two weeks. Don’t have any excuse for not posting this earlier, I’m just lazy I guess.

In Cali I’ve met up with friends again, joined a few salsa classes and sold the motorbike. I have also been preparing for my trip to Ecuador, for which I’m leaving today. Have to go before my visa here expires. Closing in on my 6 months maximum stay here.

The next post will be a summary of my trip around Colombia, reflecting back on how it all went down. Along with some highlights and my favourite shots from different places.

Hasta luego.

Leif Enrique