Friday, February 24, 2017

Central Park Conservancy to Cartagena

Our Central Park Conservancy group relaxed, happy and pleased to be learning while enjoying ceviche, coconut rice, plantains, tapas, arepas, and seafood empanadas.
By Eleanora Kennedy

A small group of Women's Committee members and spouses joined togethe
r for a trip to the walled city of Cartagena ... the Colonial jewel of the Caribbean. Our four-hour flight on JetBlue arrived at Rafael Nuñez Airport to blue skies and 80 degree temperatures.

At one time Cartagena was the most important Spanish port in America. The walled city, known as "La Heroica," gave us amazing sights, beautiful music, varied gastronomic delights and breathtaking landscapes. We were embraced in one of the most beautiful cities in the world with mysteries and legends of this romantic culture.

After checking in at the former Carmelite Convent "The Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa," we
embarked on a walking tour of the old city.
Streets lined with "casas altas" — two-story houses once home to wealthy merchants — with Bougainvillea flowing over the balconies.
View from the wall of the tile topped city. Called "the world cultural and historical heritage of
humanity site," by UNESCO.
One of the venues for the Cartagena International Music Festival which was the Adolfo Meija Theatre. This year, the festival featured all French composers. For the past eleven years, the festival has been held each January for a week, each day at a different location ... plazas, hilltops, churches.
The rich cultural and historical city has no shortage of balconies and colorful flowers.
The chapel at La Popa Monastery. A small and elegant chapel with a baroque high altar. Built by Augustine Monks on a pagan site of worship. People pray here to the Virgin of Candelaria.
The cross at the Fort of Castilla de San Felipe. The largest Spanish Fort in the New World.
Located on La Popa, the 500-foot hill resembles a ship's stern (popa in Spanish).
Judith Churchill and Jane Koryn overlooking the view from the highest point of the fort which was built to repel attacks.
Yesim and Dusty Philip standing on the wall for which construction began in 1639 and was completed a century later.
The fort houses half a mile of tunnels and secret passages which enabled soldiers to move unnoticed and house prisoners.
Nancy Missett and Samantha Gellert in the courtyard of the gorgeous church we visited — Convento Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.
Almuerzo (lunch) always outdoors and superb. Squid risotto with camarones. Seafood is the most popular dish in Cartagena's cuisine.
Suzie and Ainar Aijala at Norah Haime's gorgeous gallery, which exhibits the work of modern and contemporary artists from the U.S., Europe, and Latin America.
Marcia Mishaan and Eleanora Kennedy in front of a part of Ruby Rumie's photographic exhibition, showing women all dressed in white who normally sell produce on the streets of Cartagena in colorful clothing.
Maureen Mulheren, Charlie Moss, the artist Ruby Rumie, and Susan Calhoun enjoying Ruby's dramatic and magical photographs.
Our horse drawn caravan taking us home through the narrow alleys.
Tracey and Craig Huff heading home by horse drawn carriage after a night of music and fine cuisine.
Jenny and Michael Price on their way to the "Isle of Baru," 50 miles off the coast of magical Cartagena.
Kamie and Rich Lightburn speed boating for one hour to Punta Iguana, a private beach club on lsla Baru.
Matimba — gorgeous brand new state of the art private club. "Straddling the equator ultra chic."
Anne and Bill Harrison at Matimba.
At Punta Iguana, seafood reigned supreme! We had a traditional lunch of local fish, ceviche and mojitos. On to swimming in the Caribbean with white sand beaches and palm trees everywhere.
"Our gang" dressed for an evening of cocktails and dinner at the famed La Vitrola, a venue that is part restaurant, part Cuban jazz club. Full moon on call!
Pre-dinner cocktails at Casa Don Benito. Eleanora Kennedy with Jaime Garcia Marquez, brother of renowned author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who gave us an extraordinary talk with insight into the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
The door of Casa Don Benito. Don Blas Benito de Paz Pinto fled Spain after the Inquisition when all of his loved ones were burned at the stake. This is the entrance to his home and office which Gabriel Garcia Marquez chose as the setting for Love in the Time of Cholera.
Samantha Gellert, Yesim Philip, Suzie Aijala, Jenny Price, Tracey Huff, and Kamie Lightburn enjoying traditional guitar music on the balcony of Casa Don Benito.
Cartagena residence of Marcia and Richard Mishaan. Three stories of exquisite taste.
Patti and Eric Fast at the Mishaan's cocktail party, which included margaritas and mariachis!
Bill Harrison and our host Richard Mishaan.
At the Mishaans, our leader Laura Hall of the Central Park Conservancy, who guided us seamlessly through this heroic city bursting with rich history.
Elizabeth Garrett of the Central Park Conservancy at Café Havana, the spot for rum drinks and salsa dancing.
Columbian handicrafts abound. Every street and alley was filled with woven mochilas (handbags) in multi colors.
Bright flip flops, sandals, and pom-pom casual shoes at the chic Casa Chiqui — everything you need for a day at the beach.
The "Produce Ladies" heading home. Viva Cartagena!
Contact Bob here.
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