Time’s up Central America…South America you’re on!
Our route to Colombia was a circuitous one, jetting from Panama City via Florida then south giving us a spun around, fly through the night, guess where you’re at type of feeling. We arrived with anticipation of a new continent and an opportunity to explore a country that is often simplified to its powdery exports, violent past and beautiful people.
The coastal town of Cartagena offers a well preserved city founded by the Spanish a mere forty one years after Columbus made his famous sail. Fortifying the colonial town are nearly seven miles of stone walls that in places reach over sixty feet thick. Such a massive undertaking was completed to protect Spanish interests in the Americas from French and English pirates that roamed the Caribbean waters. Fifty three years after the city’s founding in 1533, the English commandeer Sir Francis Drake burned the city and demanded a ransom of 10 million pesos of which he triumphantly sailed with back to England.
History lesson aside there was also business to take care of a pressing nature. Our trusted stead, known to many as Beckey was waiting for us from within the confines of a steel shipping container at the local port. Due to the admittance of only one person per vehicle to process the necessary paperwork, our domestic roles in Cartagena became defined. During business hours I played the role of house spouse taking care of odd trip related chores and Austin went the port each morning acting as the undisputed bread winner of our odd couple.
During the evening we reunited, shared anecdotes from our respective days and explored the beautiful reaches of the colonial walls. It was during these times that we enjoyed interacting with other travelers including a dormitory mate from the University days we happened to bump into on the street. We also sampled the strong selection of new beers, street food and concerts that seemed to pop up every night. In a memorable string of events one evening we went from casual conversation to simultaneously accelerating to a sprint without a single word being said. After covering nearly a half block down the street we made it just in time to catch an occupied baby stroller as its rear wheels dropped from the curb toward a busy street. Grandma had stopped to take a photo, maybe even a selfie and had neglected to put the brakes on the baby carriage.
A local life saved, Colombia you better be good to us as we continue to push south.