Sincelejo, Cartagena and family

Sincelejo, Cartagena and family

Our time in Colombia is passing by too fast! It is going to be soon a month we are in the country and we still have a lot to see and people to visit. Anyway we are enjoying every single minute of our travel in Colombia. After a short stay in Medellin, we went to visit Isabel and her family, Juan’s cousin that is from Sincelejo.

Sincelejo is not really an exciting city to visit but it still have some nice places to discover, especially visited with local people! The majority of the aunties and uncles of Juan’s dad family live in Sincelejo. It was really great to get together and spend time with them. We enjoyed a lot the food that is 100% local. Juan’s aunt cooked a local soup made out of cheese that is made only in the district. It is called Mote de Queso. Also, we got the chance to go towards the coast to spend the afternoon by the beach around the village of Coveñas. Almost nobody was there that day and we basically got the beach just for us. We also ate a good and fresh fried fish right in front of the beach. Amazing and relaxing time playing and eating all together.

Two days went too fast but it was good enough to have some updates on each other family’s life and telling them our best stories of the trip. We, then, went off to Cartagena with Isabel and her 2 kids, Andrea and Sergio.

Cartagena

Cartagena has been incredible place for its history and culture. It is also truly a beautiful city in terms of architecture, colonial houses and colorful streets. Colombia surprises us every day for the various landscapes and different cities we get to see along the way.

Cartagena is located on the Colombia’s northern coast facing the Caribbean Sea. It is a well-known city in Colombia for tourism as well as local people for vacation and weddings! It has a beautiful cathedral and a wide range of places to celebrate parties.

For example, we got very lucky with our lodging in Cartagena. We were looking for places to stay with the kids which it’s not easy to find something good and cheap, especially last minute during vacation time. However, a friend from Andrea’s school was also spending time with her family in Cartagena and her family kindly invited us in their vacation house in the historical center of the city. We were very grateful for their hospitality and generosity. We can also say that we were extremely happy to have been able to stay in such beautiful place. Indeed, once we got there, it was not a small house but a huge colonial house with… 10 rooms! Plus a pool, a dance room, a huge kitchen and a lot of space. It is actually a house that belongs to a foreign family that can be rented for special occasions such as wedding. The rent is about $2,000 dollars a day. We got to stay there for free! Thank you the universe for such abundance and generosity. We feel blessed!

This is actually something we always found along the way: generosity. It is sad that the news on TV show more often the bad side of humans and the disaster occurring in the world rather than the beauty of the world. People are genetically positive and willing to do well. We really felt that in our heart along the way. Wherever we went, people were happy to help, to give us food, to open their door to us. We cannot say we had bad experience with anybody along the way. Maybe just with this taxi driver in Indonesia that left us and 5 other people in the middle of the street. I think it is the only time.

So yes people are generous and we one more time could experience it through Andrea’s friend and friendly family. We spent the day with them in the house, playing in the pool and eating local food. In the evening, they organized a small party and invited a local band playing Vallenato. The Vallenato is a type of music coming from Colombia. Incredible experience! Colombians actually love to party, dance and sing! They have this culture of spending time with family the best way possible. With food, music, drinks and laugh! 🙂

Regarding Cartagena itself, the city has a lot to offer. First of all, the historical center is beautiful. Between the clock tower building, the Castillo San Felipe and the fortress, the different plazas holding dance shows at times, as well as the different churches give a Spanish, colonial taste that is simply amazing.

For some history, Cartagena de Indias was founded in June 1533 by Spanish commander Pedro de Heredia. Most of Heredia’s sailors were from Cartagena, Spain.. As the site had some geographical affinities with the newly discovered bay, thus they decided to name it as for their native city. Cartagena declared its complete independence from Spain on November 11th 1811, with the help of the patriotic troops led by Simon Bolivar. Spain left behind colonial architecture and style which give to the city a special taste. The Inquisition Palace, finished in 1770, is still there with its original features of colonial times.

The city is also a great place to eat well, to relax by the beach and shop! Many local designers have their own shop in old town’s streets of Cartagena, next to other nice boutiques and fine cafés. Cartagena can be considered the new place for rich people to go to. But it is also a fairy-tale city of romance. The old town is very well preserved and is now Unesco World Heritage site. Outside the old town, the traffic, chaos and middle class people will certainly contrast the landscape. The city has it all for us and is hard to walk away from.

So here was our time in Cartagena that we left the heart full of good memories. Isabel and her kids were wonderful, we really had some good laughs all together. We are now heading towards Barranquilla, where Juan was born, to visit the city and see some more family.

Barranquilla is also the home of the singer, Shakira. Maybe we will see her and have a coffee with her. Who knows? 🙂