As the taxi drove us through the city of Cartagena to the old town, I could just tell that this place was going to steal my heart. The old colonial style buildings mixed in with the colourful houses were mesmerising to look at and the cobblestone streets were just enticing me to wander through them.
We reached our hostel, Media Luna, and quickly changed clothes and went out to find food. Entering the arched gates of the Old Town we found a small cafe and splurged on burgers to make up for all the poor snacks we’d been surviving on for the past few days. It was ridiculously hot and humid in Cartagena, which was a shock to both our systems, so we revelled in the air-conditioned cafe for as long as possible.
Eventually mustering up the energy to face the heat again, we headed back to Media Luna and laid out by the pool for the rest of the afternoon. That night we met up with J’s friends and I became acquainted with five English girls who were just lovely. We tested out the Cartagena nightlife (which is fantastic) before crashing hard in the cool air-conditioned rooms at Media Luna.
The following day J and I met with the English girls in their fancy AirBnb apartment. It was absolute luxury and we spent the day in the pool right outside their apartment door. The seven of us had all been travelling for several months now and were all missing food from home, so after trawling the nearest Exito supermarket we created a menu to make any Westerner jealous. A Blue cheese, a baked brie, guacamole and toasted garlic bread for entree, Japanese stir fry for dinner and chocolate truffle and tiffin for dessert left the seven of us literally in a food coma. Unable to move, we sprawled out on the floor, totally stuffed but totally satisfied! Mission accomplished!
The following day J left for the north coast and the girls invited me to stay with them in their apartment. I happily took them up on the offer and moved straight in. We spent the day by the pool again, working on our tans and enjoying this little bit of luxury. Another delicious home-made dinner and cocktails, we did our best not to comatose ourselves with food again. As it was one of the girls last night in South America, we went out on the town in search of an espresso martini and a good place to dance. El Barôn delivered the goods on the martinis (which were almost as good as the ones at home!) and afterwards we found a couple of local salsa bars to boogie in. It was nearly 3am by the time we got home but it was just so nice to have a girls night out. I hadn’t done that since I’d left home.
The following day was similar to the day before and we managed to convince the owners the give us a late check-out. Not leaving until 5pm, we reluctantly said our goodbyes to our beautiful little apartment and went our separate ways. Some of the girls were heading north to Santa Marta and some others were heading south. I was staying in Cartagena for a few more days because my friend L was arriving so it was back to hostels for me. I said goodbye to the girls and we made plans to meet up again on the Caribbean coast, they were such a great group of girls that I hoped those plans would stick.
Checking into the Chill House Hostel just around the corner from our apartment, it definitely was a shock to the system. It wasn’t the flashiest of hostels and a far cry from the luxury I’d been living in but it would do for the night. I headed to bed early so I could be ready to spend the following day playing tourist.