Photo Locale of the Month – March 2015

To celebrate the arrival of spring, this month’s photo feature takes us to the tropics of South America. Exactly two years ago I visited the Colombian cities of Bogota, Cartagena, and Santa Marta, as well as the pre-Hispanic ruins of Ciudad Perdida. Cartagena (full name: Cartagena de Indias) was the trip highlight.

I was especially taken by Cartagena’s Colonial-era City Walls. They were built by the Spanish conquistadors to protect from maritime invaders…and have never been breached.

Sunset wall walk 14

The walls surround the well-preserved Old City on three sides. The north side flanks the Caribbean Sea as soft-colored colonial buildings rise above its ramparts. You can walk above or alongside most of the wall.

Murallas and coche 2

Another way to see the wall is by horse-drawn carriage ride. Make sure your horse is well-nourished before agreeing to a ride.

Afternoon wall walk 14

The walls are dotted with cannons, many of which conveniently double as lovers’ benches.

Afternoon wall walk 8 - view of el el Castillo de San Felipe

This cannon faces the massive Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, visible from across this lagunita. Built in honor of King Philip IV of Spain, the castle is arguably the greatest fortress ever built by the Spaniards.

Getsemani wall walk 11

The Old City borders Getsemaní, a colorful, once-dangerous barrio that is now home to Cartagena’s budget accommodation. Getsemaní has its own section of wall, more dilapidated that other sections.

Getsemani wall walk 7 - view of Getsemani

Getsemaní (as seen from the wall) teems with life – mostly locals, not tourists.

Puerta del Reloj 4

El Reloj de Puerta del Sol (Clock Tower/Sun Gate) is the main passageway into the Old City. The Sun Gate is a stunning example of how the city walls can be simultaneously imposing and beautiful.

Puerta de Reloj 10

The Clock Tower/Sun Gate looks especially photogenic at nightfall. Nightly breezes encourage further exploration.

Puerta del Reloj 1

That monstrous high-rise hotel notwithstanding, Cartagena’s tourism department has made quite an effort to make the approach to the Clock Tower/Sun Gate something to behold.

Cartagena Quinceanera

One afternoon’s wall walk took me to a little-touristed corner of the Old City. I ran into this local girl, who had just turned 15 and who asked me to photograph her in her stunning Quinceañera dress.

Sunset wall walk 9

An old man – complete with panama hat and toothpick – contemplates life from his perfectly-sized nook.

All pictures were taken with a Nikon DSLR camera. All images are the property of GringoPotpourri unless credited otherwise, and should be used with permission only.

Author: gringopotpourri

Gringo - aka Scott - was born outside of Chicago and has lived most of his life in or around big cities. He spent two years of his adult life in Mexico City (talk about big cities!) and fell in love with Mexican food and culture all while weathering the challenges of life in a city with over 20 million people. Life's unpredictable journey has since brought him to Tennessee, where he is close to family and to the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Scott also enjoys movies, hiking, top ten lists, and travel in general.

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