Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JUL-AUG 2019

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e religious complex of La Popa dates back to 1607. e convent faced multiple attacks and invasions throughout the centuries. Today, locals make an annual pilgrimage up Mount Popa where one can see a spectacular view of all of Cartagena. One could spend an entire day roaming the streets of Getsemani, the art district of Cartagena. e walled city center is -lled with vibrant decorations, mural art, and opportunities to sneak a look inside busi- nesses and residences with open doors. We shared appetizers at one of the many outdoor eateries which were just getting started with live music, watched horse- drawn carriages go past, and did what you do in a new city: ogle at everyone and then hit all of the street vendors. It was di‡cult saying "no gracias" to those sweating to make a few pesos. e next few days were -lled with private guides, must-see itineraries, and magical experiences. One of our tour guides drove us up Mount Popa for a scenic view below of Cartagena as well as a stroll through the convent at the top of the hill, which dates back to the early 1600s. We learned the skyline of Cartagena is not de-ned by buildings for business, but rather apartment living. Later, we stopped at the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, an imposing fortress in the middle of the city from the 1500s, built by the Spaniards who had invaded the area. Lunch and dinner spots of note included Cocina de Pepina, where we had our -rst taste of Colombian coconut rice and local seafood, and Lobo De Mar on Calle del Santísimo. A band at the latter played a sultry version of a popular song from the '80s: "Un Monton De Estrellas," by Polo Montañez. I sensed from the crowd's reaction that this is similar to hearing an amazing local band sing Air Supply's "All Out of Love." Another nearby restaurant we enjoyed was Cande, which featured Caribbean food, colonial architecture and a live dance show. Many of our meals were taken in Alma, the hotel's primary restaurant. Cherry juice was a popular choice among the featured fresh juices o˜ered each morning as part of the breakfast bu˜et. A must-have is the traditional Cartagena breakfast, featuring an egg inside an arepa with sausage and sweet corn bollo. Our third day was one I will likely remember for the rest of my life. We chartered a boat through Boats 4 U to take us to Acasi, the hotel's private island. I was nervous about being on a boat in the middle of the ocean without my children, and even more so when we were told at the dock that our captain did not speak English. Pointing to a young man at the check-in area who spoke English, my mom took the words out of my mouth when she asked if he could join us. The dock manager let us "abduct" Andréas, who said he was "about to have the best day of his life," as he had never been to Acasi until that day. Once the marina was out of view and the boat increased its speed, Andréas tried to calm me down by saying in a thick accent, "Yesterday you did not have this experience, and today you do, and it's going to be incredible." He was right not just about the boat ride, but the entire trip to Cartagena. slmag.net 55

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