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Queen of the Sea: Cartagena


I entered the year of 2017 with a trip to a country of a continent I had never stepped foot in: Colombiaaa.

Colombia is a country that has always intrigued me. It is geologically and culturally diverse and is attached to a complex history. I have only tasted a glimpse of it through a short visit to the coastal, Caribbean-esque, colonial city of Cartagena. I hope to return to see more of this beautiful and varied country next year. Somehow, the more I see, the lengthier my travel bucket-list becomes. 

Upon arrival, Cartagena feels like a glittering, dusty, blue sea sauntering next to insistent, weathered colonial fortress walls, with a dusty highway forcing itself in between. With the first light, it feels like coffee and fresh bread on every morning corner, falling viney flowers from balcony windows with light-dappled peach, sun yellow, sky blue, havana pink walls.  In the afternoon, it feels like being stared at with enthusiastic smiles, coconut stands from machete-holding aged hands, and salons in the back room with manicures for $6. In the evening, it feels like climbing on fortress walls at sunset, walking on historic rooftops overlooking the sea, running through multiple distinct neighborhoods, flooding setting sunlight on hundreds of squinting faces, the sound of Spanish swept up by the wind. At night it feels like uncostly but lavish dinners in whimsical restaurants with intriguing diners from all over the world, clinking silverware, and warm wind. 

Cartagena feels like fallen grandeur retracing its footsteps back to its rich, romantic splendor. One of the most known love stories of endurance was set here, “Love in the Time of Cholera,” by Mr. García Márquez. Cartagena still enfolds its greatness and charm but in an adapting and withstanding manner. Barichara, Gutape, and Villa de Leyva are next on my Colombia list. If you get there before me, tell us all about it!

Balcony view. Beautiful but apparently it's normal for cars to honk their horns until 5 AM

The meals in Cartagena always surpassed our expectations and service was always spectacular

Dessert after. This beautiful restaurant was called Marea By Rausch. Definitely try it!

Can you imagine just living here?

I love this photo of my friend, Tasneem.

Fortress wall that encloses Cartagena

Coconuts everywhere & no machete work for me. Delicious!

Rosario Islands

Every street was art

Standing atop the fortress perimeter. On one side was the sea, the other was this view

My cousin, Tayyaba, always aptly playing the role of the explorer

Bought this cute Frida Kahlo canvas tote bag from a street artist

Cheapest breakfasts in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Getsemani

Until next trip, Colombia...

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