The tourist port of Cartagena today is a lovely, genteel place with a great many of its past-centuries artifacts intact. It does, admittedly, show the wear and tear from the time of the 1930s civil war here: this was a Republican stronghold, and dictator Franco with his Nazi henchmen dropped too many bombs on the beleaguered city for any seamless recovery to be accomplished since, no matter how much local regional pride endures. So there are fewer Belle Époque buildings than, say, in Seville, and less polished old marble slabs to be found in public places, either on building walls or underfoot.

Cartagena buildings 1.jpg

One thing you see everywhere, here, is stone. Slate, to be exact. Building walls and roofs, occasional paving, often intermixed with field rocks to make un-mortared walls between pastures. I love the slightly wild hominess of it. Plentiful chimney pots poke up .

It is enviable, to me, in fact, the near-reverence that exists throughout Europe, for preserving and gently restoring unearthed antiquities discovered in the course of modern day construction. This first-century amphitheater did not become a Cartagena shopping mall or storage facility.


Deo gratia.


Several years ago we made a cruise-stop here and as tourists do, embarked on a tour of the hinterland surrounding. After which our guide paused with us at a bar along a city promenade, and we three enjoyed an Asiatico (pictured) each. If you're undecided about pausing in Cartagena or not, maybe this Licor 43 drink with espresso-cream-chocolate-cinnamon powder delight will help persuade.


Still, you know, I think it looks just fine. One is struck by how deeply the Carthaginians cherish what remains; how alongside their active restoration and maintenance of those venerable old structures, they are careful to shape new architecture to complement rather than displace. 

Tapas and more tapas abound nearby for the foodies among us.


Now back onboard, sailing to


They're Going Again!