Tour through the walls of Cartagena

By Maryoris Batista Vergara

It is 4:05 p.m., I leave the hotel, wanting to visit and enjoy one of the most charming cities, Cartagena de Indias, looking for the walls that protects the Old City, and allowing me to wrap myself in the mystical Caribbean landscape.

It takes me five minutes to get there, as I start looking around I turn on my camera. In Boveda 1, diagonal to the Serrezuela, I climb a stoned low ridge that connects me with Baluarte de San Lucas. I was walking under a beating sun. A bottle of water is not enough to travel walk around, but you will not be able to stop, you will not want to miss the magical sunsets, which are the beginning of the nights at the Corralito de Piedra.

" In order to protect the city from constant attacks from the enemies of the crown and aggressive pirates, in Cartagena we found 11Km of walls, which today represent history and a tourist attraction visited by thousands of foreigners and nationals. If you want I'll tell you the whole story, friend ", says a man who works as a guide in that place. "No sir, thank you very much," I said with an innocent smile. Meanwhile, I kept walking distracted by all corners of this place, I watched many people talking under some houses with red roofs, sheltering from the sun and they also seemed to be resting. Cartageneros and travelers do not seem to care about the 32 degrees of temperature and 78% of humidity, because this route is so interesting, and a must when coming to this city.

A completely exotic combination between city, sea and history begins to appear before my eyes. The wonder of the walls speaks by themselves. Now from the Santa Catalina Baluarte I look at my left side, where you can see a beautiful panoramic view, a colonial infrastructure that can be seen through colorful, traditional streets of the Caribbean culture. The Plaza de Las Bóvedas is the first to be seen from above, surrounded by buildings with really attractive styles.

A set of houses painted all the same color, with white and flowered balconies. To the front, a white building, with a colonial and sequential composition corresponding to Colegio Los Salesianos. If you decide to go down, you will be able to appreciate the 23 boveddas that cover the handcraft shops, where you can buy a souvenir and take it home, in addition to getting to know a little bit of the history of one of the last projects of the Colony -which served as a jail and for military use-, and admire its structure.

It is a beautiful day, the sky becomes a sky blue color, which contrasts with the birds that go flying, cooled by the breeze of the day.

I continue my path, I go back to the walls, where I now meet several people doing different activities, some people exercise, others talk, many take photographs and authorities on bicycles that ensures that everything to go smoothly.

This path seems to have no end, but the wonders of Cartagena either. The first Colombian Nobel Prize winner, Gabriel García Márquez, has a house in this city, which you can appreciate from this tour. With a flat wall, some particular details occupy a large space on Calle Stuart where I am sure that just as I did, you will stop to appreciate and take some pictures.

There you will have to go down, the road becomes narrow, walking through that narrow piece of wall, trying to maintain balance and control the vertigo is a challenge.

Admire from the top of the walls, the Calle de la Artilleria, a busy street, where you can hear a cheerful bustle, the kicking of horses, the newspaper vendors, and many cars crossing.

The streets that connect with Carrera 2, which corresponds to the main avenue that borders the wall, have a colorful view, where there is a variety of hotels, clothing stores, pubs, restaurants, churches, houses with flowered balconies, and all of that surrounded by nature.

Water, ice cream, popsicles! the street vendors shout offering you things to control the hot weather. I choose to buy a bottle of water, I sit on the edge of the wall, in the Baluarte La Merced, and it's time to welcome Teatro Adolfo Mejía in Plaza de La Merced, detailing its striking architecture, which surely will motivate you to take out the camera and freeze the moment.

Calle Don Sancho, which stands out from the wall, is a landmark of the city, is adorned with beautiful facades, imposing balconies, and the beautiful dome of the Cathedral that highlights the colonial style of the walled city.

At the edge of the walls, with a book in hand, and the look between the pages and the streets, there are several people taking advantage of the breeze to enjoy the reading and the sunset that is already almost visible.

I continue on my way to another Baluarte, the one called La Cruz, surrounded by well-known bars and restaurants, surrounded by many people looking for the best place to admire the Cartagena sunset. I was never aware of the clock, until that moment when I saw that the sky took on a particular color, the sun was hiding between the sea, it was already 5:30 p.m.

Everything seemed to indicate that the best view is in the Baluarte de Santo Domingo. A conglomeration of people with cameras in hand and acclimated by the music that sounds from the corner of the Baluarte, anxious await the amethysts in the sky.

It did not take me long to feel amazed by the sunset, suddenly among blues, yellows, golds and reds, I see the magical sunset of Cartagena, embraced by the night and the sound of the sea.

Cartagena has all the possibilities of catching me with its magic, I keep walking, finding other corners that fascinate me, the walled path also lets me know the city's locals that are kind, outgoing and helpful. They offer me night plans, tours of the monuments, and tour of the beaches.

Now I reach a red wooden bridge, which connects the Baluarte de Santo Domingo with the Baluarte de Santiago, I look forward to Baloco Street, full of magical realism, which brings together all that colonial, republican and modern style that defines Cartagena , where the day, the evening and the night are full of colors and romanticism.

My friend, take something! Another street vendor who stumbled on the road says. With an iced tea in hand I stop to see that the road is already short. that I have reached the Baluarte de San Francisco Javier.

The music of this Baluarte, the last of my route, the infrastructure of the imposing hotel Santa Teresa, the striking facade of the Naval Museum, and the panoramic view that highlights the peak of the San Pedro Claver Church, surround the Plaza de Santa Teresa, which from above, it welcomes me and motivates me to stay more than I planned.

With a lot of nostalgia, but with a rewarding experience I get off the paved road, finding street handcrafts, colorful, and admirable, which I hope to see again.

Without a doubt I recommend Cartagena de Indias as an exotic city, to disinhibit and enjoy every kilometer without regretting the long walk.

Architechture, history, art, literature, cinema, music, photography. Pick the aspect that insterest you the most and appreciate the city from a new perspective.

Es por estas razones que el cordón amurallado representa para Cartagena de Indias un patrimonio arquitectónico, posee un valor cultural, un valor técnico, un valor sentimental, urbanístico, histórico y un valor artístico.

For this reason, the walled city represents to Cartagena de Indias an architechtonic heritage, has a cultural, emotional, historic, and artistic value.

It is worth going around, discover it, and admire it!

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