Day two we were up bright and early – Ate breakfast at the hotel, eggs with ham, tomatoes, onions and mushrooms with assorted breads. And coffee! Thank goodness.
We decided to get a little history in and walked to Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, an iconic fortress with an extensive tunnel system. It was built to keep out the Spanish, as most things were those days. Some of the tunnel walking was a bit scary! Most of them were lit up but not all and you weren’t sure who or what was lurking around the corner. They had a gift shop, of course, so we bought a few trinkets: bracelets for ourselves, a little wallet purse thing for me because I only had my backpack (PS this backpack by Kah & Kee is the BEST travel backpack! The design of it is amazing, you can get multiple books and a water bottle comfortably in it and because of the way the top folds in it doesn’t feel huge. It also has pockets all over and specifically a pocket against your back where you can keep your money and passport safe. Fits very nicely under the plane seat as well.) and a fish shaped music instrument for my nephew.
From the castle we headed to the Museo de Arte Moderno de Cartagena. It is small and had some great pieces. I was introduced to Colombian artist Enrique Grau (seen below), who I’d never heard of. He had a few different subject matters on display in the museum and some of them I liked a lot and some of them not at all. That was an interesting reaction to an artist that I’m not sure I’ve had before. Also! I saw a lady touch a painting! That was crazy. No security here.
Next, off to Abaco Bookstore which had been recommended by a friend. It was a charming, tiny, cramped place and it was hard to find any books. The area where I think Alice in Wonderland might have been was completely blocked by chairs and boxes. Maybe it was inventory day? Seemed like a good place to get a coffee and hang and not really to browse books.
On the way back to the hotel for our afternoon siesta, we popped into a place a few doors down from hotel. This restaurant was completely open like a courtyard and had musicians playing. We had some more limonade de coco, Colombia Club beers and fish arepas (YUM). We tried to order another round and found it quite difficult, so we headed out. After we’d been there for a bit, we realized we were at Restaurante Pavia, which had been highly recommended by one of Jennie’s friends.
After hitting the hotel pool for a bit and getting in some reading, we headed out for the night. We stopped for dinner at a place not too far from our hotel. The menu had an entrée with fish and coconut sauce that sounded pretty good so even though it was a bit expensive we decided to live by the ‘treat yourself’ manta. Unfortunately, the food did not live up to the prices and this was a good lesson for us…stick to the street vendors! The food is better.
We walked over to El Arsenal: The Rum Box where we first got hugs from Alejandro, who I later found out Jennie thought was a pickpocket and did not realize he was with the restaurant. We were given samples of Dictador rum with a side of chocolate and a bowl of cooked peppers. I ordered a vaporized shot – what a production! I had to inhale smoke out of a jar with a straw. Jennie ordered what basically ended up as a car bomb and we each ordered cocktails as well. Mine was rum, coconut and espresso and the coconut was formed into a frozen ball that acted as an ice cube. I also dream of this cocktail. From here we went to Alquimico for hip, trendy drinks and had some lobster with plantain chips. It was not our scene and we ended up back on the street with the empanada vendors, grabbing empanadas to eat on our way back to the hotel for the night.