Have I told you how much we love chocolate and trying local food? This is just the beginning!
We had decided to stay in Cartagena for one week before heading south through Columbia. First I had to recover from my seasickness. We got of the ship Monday afternoon, but it was not until Friday, that my world stopped moving. Second we wanted to plan our trip through Columbia after our “bucket-list” and after reading in the tourist book. Third we wanted to avoid to much rain, so we read about the rainfall in different parts of Columbia. Fourth we wanted to plan a trip to the Galapagos Islands, finding airplane tickets and a place in Quito (Ecuador) to leave our motorcycles. I had booked a place through www.airbnb.com for 7 nights (10USD per night for two persons), that had safe parking for the motorcycles, a kitchen, shared bathroom and an outdoor space where we could put put our new tent from NEMO Equipment.
Meet our new tent “Casa de la Zanahoria ” (the carrot house)
We received our new MOKI P3 tent from NEMO Equipment. Back in Los Angeles we found out, that our old MOKI P3 tent was falling apart, after contacting NEMO they agreed to replace our old tent with a new one for free. Unfortunately the MIKO P3 was out of stock, but in June NEMO send us an email that they were ready to ship us a new tent. Because of lacking postal service and custom in Costa Rica and Panama, we decided to get the tent shipped to Cartagena in Columbia to be sure, that the tent would arrived during our stay. We used FedEx for shipping. We are very grateful and satisfied with custom service at NEMO Equipment – Thank you so much. We love our new tent!
Back to the treats of Cartagena, visiting the Mila Pasteleria
Walking around the old town burning of some of the calories from the cakes. Cartagena was founded in 1533 by the Spanish, and became the main Spanish port in the Caribbean Cost. The old town consists of the historical districts El Centro and San Diego, with many beautiful squares and flower-bedecked balconies.
Next stop was the chocolate museum. Trying a chocolate fondue… the chocolate was amazing – didn’t want to miss anything
Reading about the history of the chocolate, the Mayas were the first people to discover the delicious secrets of the cacao around 2000 BC. Everyone in the Maya society could enjoy a chocolate drink, and cacao was the favorite drink of the Maya Kings and priests. The Mayas invented the 5 basics stages of the cacao paste preparation, which we still use nowadays: (1) fermentation, (2) drying and (3) roasting of the beans of cacao, (4) removing the shells and then (5) crushing and grinding the cacao nibs.
First in the 17th century the chocolate spread around Europe. In Italy in 1606 and then among the Europe’s nobles and royal courts. In the meantime, cacao started being planted around the world. So far chocolate was prepared in water, but the Europeans rapidly started to sweetened the chocolate with sugar. In the late 1600’s water was replaced by milk.
From 1750-1921 the emergence of new machinery in the industrial age made it possible to create solid chocolate and mass-produce the chocolate at a fraction of the original cost. For the first time most of the general public could afford this tasty treat.
In 1875 the chocolate took its current shape, when Henri Nestlé added some condensed milk to create a creamy and soft chocolate.
Today many Asian cultures have never really developed a taste for chocolate – WHICH I JUST DON’T GET. The Chinese only eat one bar of chocolate for every 1,000 consumed by the British. Now we don’t know, if we want to visit Asia anymore! What are chocolates best friend? Yes, coffee. The average temperature in Cartagena is 29-30 Celsius, but because of the humidity it feels like 36-46 Celsius, just saying that is was very warm and perfect for…
Ice coffee at one of the local coffee bars… serving coffee from Columbia
But how about some real food? Or just something else than cake. Trying some of the local street food, which primary is deep-fried. The great thing about deep-fried food, is that it reduces the change of getting a bad stomach, because the temperature of the oil pretty much kills everything.
A deep-fried ball with cheese
A deep-fried… something with plantain, ham, egg and maybe cheese. The homemade sauce on top was so good! Serving the cap driver… so convenient
Feeding the pigeons a few of the leftovers… “… even if they are black or white”
We didn’t have any night in Cartagena were the temperature went under 25 Celsius, and since the climate is hot or hotter. We cooled down with nitrogen frozen ice cream. You should try it! The nitrogen method creates tiny tiny ice crystals, which makes the ice cream super smooth without adding any cream. They make it by the order, so the ice cream is served fresh frozen.
Loaded up on calories we walk around and on “Las Murallas”, which is a thick wall built to protect the old town. “Las Murallas” was constructed in the 16th century after the attack by pirate Francis Drake.
It is amazing how much there is left of the wall, and it is a historic and beautiful frame for the old town in Cartagena.
As a part of protecting Cartagena the construction of Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas began in 1536 and was significantly expanded in 1657. Another expansion was made to the fortress in 1763 by Antonio de Arévalo. The Castillo is the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards in any of their colonies. The fortress is located on the Hill of San Lázaro in a strategic location, dominating approaches to the city by land or sea.
We didn’t visit the fortress except from the outside
Instead we walked around visiting several other historical sights in Cartagena, one of them the Museo del Oro Zenu. This museum is like a miniature version of Bogota’s world-class gold museum, and the entrance is free. Still it lacks signs in English.
Gold on display