We duly arrived in Cartagena (what a beautiful city) where we officially started our South American exploration and Houston, we have a problem… I. Haven’t. Been. Able. To. Feel. Any. Enthusiasm. Nor. Excitement! (YET).
How does she dare feeling that way, you are probably wondering. Don’t worry, many people are. They believe that, since I’m living the dream, I’m not allowed to miss home. Well, living the dream unfortunately doesn’t prevent me from missing my amazing friends nor from getting tired of the local food. What the deal anyway with frying almost everything, Colombia? I was embarrassed to admit that I have woken up many times with a heavy heart, feeling homesick but I no longer intend to deny this sadness. This is a part of who I am and missing home or work (yes, this is possible, especially for a workaholic) doesn’t make me an ungrateful (borderline unworthy) traveler. Au contraire! I believe that embracing the person you are is the key to a happier life and thanks to this trip, I’m getting closer.
Now, acknowledging my homesickness doesn’t mean that I accept to feel miserable longer than necessary! No, no, no! We decided to: 1) Stay longer in Cartagena to rest. Tiredness had its toll on us as being on a budget, backpacking through 7 countries and sleeping in dorms can be exhausting 2) Increase (only temporarily) our daily budget 3) Get ourselves a wonderful oasis, La Artilleria and enjoy some non-fried food 4) Explore the town at a slow place, chilling by the pool and indulging ourselves with siestas 5) Have excessive what’s app sessions with said missed friends. Bliss! 4) Plan our Colombian adventure! I hadn’t really read about this country and what it had to offer.
We enjoyed our stay in Cartagena a lot as we had a lovely place to escape the heat and the old city was colorfully beautiful and welcoming. If like us, you only have two days in Cartagena (the other days were dedicated to above mentioned activities: sleep, eat, nap. Repeat):
- Sign in for a free tour of the walled city. It felt inspiring to have a passionate guide, guiding us through the old city
- Wander in the San Felipe de Las Barajas castle which is a great place to escape the heat AND a lovely view over the city. Win win!
- Sample street food when the sun goes down as you can surprisingly find some non fried food but grilled skewers or lobster. Delicious!
- Take a walk at night in the old town as Colombians bring the streets into life with music and laughter
Extending our stay in Cartagena was a brilliant idea as the research done on Colombia showed us wonderful places we couldn’t wait to explore. After long deliberations, we decided to give Tayrona National Park a miss, as it appeared to be extremely touristy and to head instead to one of the places that seemed to be adventurously off the beaten track. It might already be epic, just by trying to reach it! Next stop: Cabo de La Vela!