Cartagena de Indias - Private Tour
Cartagena was waiting for us. As there was no bridge we get off from Deck 2 ashore.
Of all places we need to be back here 03.45 pm. But we got 15 minutes more than with most others.
Somebody was waiting for me.
Our driver waited at the car.
Everything was so well signposted that we would find the car again.
What I appreciated very much: the bench facing to the rear which made explainations of the tour guide much easier to listen and understand. Cesar was a retired German who was originally from Cologne area and now lived in Cartagena. Himself was introduced from the German Honorary Consul whom I wrote. Finally the our was organised by the well-reputated Dora de Zubiria (http://www.cartagenatour.com/) whom I know from cruisecritic.com-board. While other operator who started to offer such a tour and never answered if you asked something specific the correspondence with Dora worked very well.
First stop was La Popa over the city of Cartagena.
Arrived there: "normal" tourist buisness.
The admission fee for La Popa was included.
Cesar explained phantastic and very interesting. It was fun listenig to him.
I guess that it was a pelican flying over us. But there also vultures who were protected by law as they took care of the hygiene in the city.
A nice view to the rich and new Cartagena.
And here a view to the poor Cartagena.
We met one of the two groups from cruisecritic.com who booked a tour with Dora's competitors.
Our next destination was the fortress.
We had to walk all the way upwards.
Same typical tourist business as well.
Here was the admission fee included as well.
Here we had a beautiful view to the old Cartagena.
But we also see the corrugated sheet village.
But this was hidden behind a white wall and could not be seen from the street front.
That was a classical gum tree looked like if it was grown up. Time to expand your living room at home...
Inside there was a interesting world of connecting ways.
Cesar showed us the structure of coral stones.
Now I saw finally a true Aloe-Vera-plant.
We continued for shopping... everywhere where we had to park the car a little longer the driver took care that the air-condition was already turned on some minutes ahead of our return and that there was never too much sunshine in the car.
A typical tourist trap. But I liked it as I got for 12 USD a nice reversable leather belt from a street dealer who observed me in a shop where it should be 24 USD and it did not find my taste.
The archs were well signposted. To make sure that the bonus at the end of the year is fine it was recorded very Prussian way who was here with how many guests. But there was never an obligation to purchse and a "Non Grances" was normally accepted without major discussions.
The typical tourist staff which will catch dust at home. By the way may I introduce Richard, Inge and Carmen from Austria whom we met two days ago on Grand Cayman. They were happy that they could join our tour. So our tour became a little chaper. You will see them also on our tours in Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico.
For 1 USD the lady will post for a picture. That was worth to make the picture more beautiful.
They want to show that they had nothing to do with illegal taxis. So all drivers weared uniform shirts. I weared this day my NCL-shirt. Someone asked me on which NCL ship I was working and if they might missed NORWEGIAN STAR where also some business could be originad... By the way Cruise Director Gary Walker saw us days before with our HAL-logo-shirts. He told us that we confused him for a short moment as he was before with HAL and was irritated on which ship he was.
That's how I pictured it:
Blue sky and warmth. What else do you need...??? I did not want more... but got additionally the humidity which was a strain during to high noon.
Let's continue to the old town.
Where the American cruise industry was established nothing worked without shopping. Of course we need to see a juwelery store. Colombia is famous for its emerald (Columbian Emerald... nearly available on every cruise ship...) and silver.
We got a cup of orange juice and may used the restrooms.
If you have female participants with you the stay in the shop will take a little longer... But also here no obligations to purchase. Silverrings were true bargains. Goldrings followed the price rules of the international gold exchanges.
You feel extremely safe. You can get orientation at each of the stands. And the prensence of the tourist police gave us a safe feeling.
Finally we went to the city wall.
Although our group has Viennese Coffeehouse Tradition and we had a stock of coffeebeans from Café Piansa in Florence, Italy: if you are in Columbia you need to buy some coffee.
Cesar pre-alerted us that Columbia is a first-class-producer of raw coffee but no first-class-processer. It tasted stronger and burned than in other countries.
That was why he took us to a store from Americans to Americans to get a product which fit more the Western taste.
We tried for 1 USD one cup of espresso and indeed it was too strong and burned. That was why we choosed a lighter kind of coffee beans. If we made six packages we can get a high discount. Here we met again the other cruisecritic.com-members who were also interested to buy coffee.
Our tour terminated in the port but we did not want to return immediately to the ship as we wanted to see the cruise terminal. A very nice tour with a lot of nice impressions due to a great tour guide terminated. They did not watch for the minute on the watch and we had all the flexibility to decide spontaneously on the way. With cold towels we were welcomed back.
It was not that had no display anymore but it was now mandantory to sanitize. Also when you enter the restaurants it was now mandantory to sanitize. In some areas toilet doors were open by crew members. What might happen now??? Did they read my blog that I saw it or is maybe ... I did not want to finish this though...
The queue was a little longer because local authorities inspected the hand baggage manually. For the waiting time you get some water.