Taking in the Scene

WWe spent the morning hanging out around our gorgeous apartment. The views here are just so spectacular that it seems like a shame to leave and go into the heat.

By midday, Esteban, the kids and I headed into Old Town to have some lunch and stroll around. It is really gorgeous in the sunshine! I have heard over the years how beautiful Cartagena is but I am a somewhat jaded traveler, especially when it comes to cities. I have seen a lot of beautiful cities. I was expecting Cartagena to be a pretty town but I wasn’t expecting to be so impacted by it. I loved it -the perfectly preserved colonial old town with its quaint streets, gorgeous architecture, old churches and cathedrals, great restaurants, little shops, beautiful plazas, ornate balconies, locals dancing in the square. We got the overview tour yesterday but it was so different in the rain. Plus walking around the Old City is just so delicious. We had a yummy lunch in a beautiful courtyard and then found an amazing gelato shop – exotic flavors of gelato we never even heard of made with all natural ingredients. A rare find here.

Again, Esteban and I put the kids to bed early and went out for a night on the town. We went to what is supposedly one of the best restaurants in Colombia, La Vitriola. We showed up without a reservation and were turned away by the guard at the door. Not to be deterred, I asked to go into the restaurant to make a reservation for a different night. Once inside, I joked with the maitre d’ and asked him for a reservation for this evening. He told me that they were all booked but that we could wait at the bar. Maybe there would be a table available in an hour. We weren’t even sure that we wanted to eat here but there is something about exclusivity that makes you want it, so now we had to get a table at La Vitriola. We went to wait at the bar and look at the menu. It wasn’t cheap. Somehow, by a miracle, the maitre d’ came up to us after only five minutes at the bar to tell us that our table was ready. I am not sure what did it, but we felt like we won a prize.

After all the hoopla of getting a table, the food was pretty good but nothing spectacular. Good Cuban food, good mojitos and good conversation. What more could we ask for?

Dancing. We wanted to sample, OK, I wanted to sample and dragged poor Esteban to the best dance place in Cartagena. I have heard so much about Costenos (people from the Coast) being such great dancers, that I wanted to experience it for myself. So off to Mr. Babila’s we went. At first glance, Mr. Babilas didn’t look like much – “TGI Fridays in Tijuana, Mexico”, Esteban called it. But pretty soon people started pouring in and the dancing started. Young and old, people were dancing everywhere, in every available inch of space. The waiters got up on the bar, dancing to motivate the crowd. And wow, they dance fast here. I have no idea how they move their hips so fast. We didn’t even try to keep up. We just had fun taking in the scene.

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