Day 15: Explore Cartagena – Getsemaní & Bocagrande
It is day 15 of my journey, which means that the half of it is already over. Meanwhile, it is also the last day remaining here in Cartagena. Time to say goodbye and using the last chance to explore the third part of Cartagena´s old town; Getsemaní. Instead of the colorful house facades like San Diego, Getsemaní is famous for its street art and graffitis. In the past, this district was home of the servants and lower class of Cartagena. Today it is the home of the artistic soul. Artists and other creatives from all over the world live in this area. And today is the day of discovering the not so hidden gems of Getsemaní.
A Colombian Massage
But first things first! Two days ago I made an appointment for a wellness massage. I have been struggling with a tight back and shoulders for months now, and although I already had a massage in Plymouth, it is still not significantly better. Therefore, one more try! And damn, I love having massages! I found the Urakú Spa Massages, at Calle de la Bomba. Very friendly staff, English speaking and the rooms are big, full of light, air-conditioned, with a beautiful interior. The massage was relaxing, and the right things which I needed. I felt indeed better afterward.
Then it was time for the “To-Do.” When I left the Spa, I directly headed to Getsemaní*. I had no specific places or locations which I wanted to see but strolling the streets. Walking up and down the lanes and alleys, the mall, and seeing how life awakes in this district and finding the one or the other graffiti. It is a different atmosphere in this area than the other sides of the walled city of Cartagena. I felt like here I could find the “real” life and not the touristy part.
The artworks on the walls are indeed very impressive. But watch them yourself. Here are a few impressions of the street art in Getsemaní.
As interesting Getsemaní is, as soon I was finished with my little tour. I was not even lunchtime. Because of that, I did not try any of the restaurants, which a few people recommended a few days ago. Sad on the one hand side but lucky on the other hand side. Suddenly, I had more time left of this day than expected.
I decided to take a tour with the hop on hop off bus. Yes, Cartagena has its own sightseeing buses. I love doing such Hop-On-Hop-Off tours. It is an easy way to get around and find all the popular attractions. You can hop off, visit the site and quickly go back to where you come from or go to another place, all day long, and depending on the ticket and the package, sometimes even two days or longer.
Things To Do In Cartagena Besides The Walled City
I could go to the San Felipe Castle and the Museo Rafael Nuñez. The bus also went to the more modern part of Cartagena; Bocagrande. It reminded me a bit of Miami, Florida, with its white, silver, skyscrapers, and beaches. The contrast between this area and the ancient, and historic old town of Cartagena cannot be significant.
If you are looking for some fantastic beaches and do not need the island tours necessarily, this is the place to be! Here you also find the most extended shopping, hotel and restaurant strip of Cartagena. All the luxury hotels are situated here in Bocagrande*. The difference between the old town and Bocagrande is pretty weird. It is like two opposite worlds, and I am grateful to have the chance to discover both of them.
A Bus Breakdown
However, even on this afternoon bus tour, there was an incident. The bus could not go further. It had a problem with the engine or so. The driver and the guide told us that we should leave the bus and wait for another one, which should come around shortly to pick us up. Of course, I ran out of water, needed a restroom, and got hungry. And out of nowhere, a water guy appeared. It was the most expensive water of the entire stay here in Cartagena. He knew very well how urgent it was! 😉
Somehow, the driver was able to repair the bus in a way that we made it back to the old town of Cartagena. After that day, and especially, the half an hour in the sun waiting for the bus to be able to drive again I was quite exhausted. I just wanted to have something to eat and then go back to my hotel, the Akel House*.
Tomorrow is a new travel day. I am a bit nervous if everything will work out for me; from the driver who will bring me to the airport, to the airline, which I am flying with the first time, to the stopover in Panama City, and my landing in New York City, where I will get my car for the past week of my vacation.