We had meetings all morning and by the time we were finished, it was too late to catch one of the shore excursions. But I’ve never been in Cartagena before and my co-worker, Shannon, had never been on a cruise and didn’t want to sit on the ship all afternoon. So we headed out, grabbing a map of the city center on our way.
We wandered through the narrow streets, took lots of pictures and stopped at one point to listen to a guy playing the accordion. We ended up on the top of the hill overlooking Cartagena among some Roman ruins, including an ancient flour mill where they were installing large metal black widow spiders. I couldn’t remember the word for spider (“aranda” – I remembered it as soon as it wasn’t useful anymore!) but we asked the young men doing the installation “porque” (why). We got nothing from them – just a laugh and a nod of the head.
Then we wandered down off the hill to look at a big church that we had seen from the top of the hill. It was locked but when we peered inside there was a man sitting in a folding chair at the back of the pews and he came over and let us in. My Spanish is just good enough for me to ask him the name of the church and he gave us the name “Basilica de la Caridad” and a little of its history.
After that we walked a bit until we found a current excavation of some more Roman ruins. It was fascinating to see how everything is put back together during this kind of work and it was very interesting to see the artist renderings of what the building and rooms looked like in Roman times.
By then we had just enough time to buy a t-shirt for Shannon’s son and then get back to the ship. I’m sure we had a better time than if we had done a canned bus tour.
When have you wandered?