It was 10pm amd crowds of people were clustered everywhere – drunk singing, climbing on car roofs, honking horns and shouting at the confused collection of gringos. It felt crazy. The policeman looked at me aghast, “We’ll take you in the police van” he said in Spanish, “you can’t stay here”.
With trepidation, I headed to Bogotá. Not only was the temperature going to plummet but having left Reid behind, I was going to have to make new friends.
A day’s rest in Santa Marta (thank you Santa Marta) and we were off to the neighbouring town of Minca. A slightly less trodden path, no doubt about to be overwhelmed by the increasing tourist flow, Minca retains the authenticity, charm and familiarity that for me, Cartagena lacked.
The four of us worked through the remaining list of tourist destinations in Cartagena, hitting the local market Bazurato, el Convento de Popa (highest point in the city) and Bocagrande. Our taxi driver was a legend, taking us to all these places at a fifth of the guide book price before dropping us at the overrated Bocagrande – a true tourist destination, full of ugly high-rises and a large, crowded beach. The highlight of the whole day was realising a 6ft6 pale Irish man provides the perfect distraction for the usual local attention a gringa can experience. ☺️
On my own for the first time in a while, I landed in Cartagena to discover the Pope had had the same idea. A week long tour around Colombia and here was his last stop. It was a bit chaotic and the entire country hadn’t been selling alcohol there for the duration of his trip but I battled my way through the crowds, sober, all the same for a glimpse at the top of his head. A bucket list box I didn’t know I had, ticked off!