Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas + Celele + Colette

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We started off our day with another hand delivered breakfast at 8:30. After enjoying our huevo y cafe con leche we showered and got ready for a visit to Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas.

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More on the fort from wikipedia: “The Castillo San Felipe de Barajas (San Felipe de Barajas Castle) is a fortress in the city of Cartagena, Colombia. The castle is located on the Hill of San Lázaro in a strategic location, dominating approaches to the city by land or sea. It was built by the Spanish during the colonial era. Construction began in the year 1536, and it was originally known as the Castillo de San Lázaro, It was expanded in 1657.”

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We arrived via taxi but the walk up is was said to be really hard and was compared to walking in the Sahara Desert.

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This was somewhat of an over exaggeration, but maybe not, maybe our expectations where just off….the walk was quicker than we thought but it was definitely hot! There were local artists and people selling most of the way. Luckily we purchased water before hand and were prepared.

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We might have our Christmas card cover!!! 😉

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After visiting the fort we walked back towards our hotel (only 10 minutes) and stopped for some cervas at “The Tree House” and then we headed to a caffe that has a mural of Amy Winehouse BUT on our was we saw where we were going to have dinner. Dinner reservations were at 7:00 at the top place Sebastian recommended – Celele. But that is tight given we need to actually see the sunset which we have missed the last couple nights 🤦🏼‍♀️ SO we decided to cancel our reservation and do lunch instead, given it was right there and somewhat far from our hotel (and outside the wall)

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Sebastian did not let us down WOW!! I got the tasting menu which was like a local food and drinking tour in the comfort of AC and great atmosphere!

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Before the food came I was wondering what the black utensil was for…

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Our server answered that when she brought over locally made bread and spread…it’s to spread on the bread!

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Derek got a local beer from Samta Marta with a Tycoon on it! Its 100% natural and unfiltered so it has sediment in the bottom, the server pours half the beer and then shacks the rest before pouring.

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The first course was a local drink with two types of corn in the drink and garnishing the drink! Topped with my favorite, baby corn, but it was spray painted gold!!

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It was so good and worth the gold lips 🤣

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(Will add more tomorrow when I can look at my notes and type on my phone)

Food for the first course was mussels, avocado, seaweed and “chicharron’ (basically a pork rind. But much more … chicharron is a meal that in some countries is obtained after melting the fat of the pig, in others the fat of the pig is used to cook the meat and in others it consists of a frying of the skin of the pig with or without meat. You can also obtain chicharrones from other animals such as cows, chickens, fish or lambs, or be made from flour, although in general they are considered of lower quality. The word chicharrón has spread from Spanish cuisine throughout the whole of Hispanidad, to give meaning to the different ways of spicing it up or cooking it in red hot.)

The drink was Guaricha, based in ‘aquardiante’ with corn chicha (traditional Caribbean drink)

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Second course was Caribbean beans, herbs chimichurri and moringa. It was definitely the most unique dish and the most beautiful. Paired with a Chardonnay from Argento Argentina but it tasted more like a table white, very smooth, unoaked and not buttery.

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Third course was Conch “pateburro” with corn textures. It was so good I cannot belie e how underutilized corn is in America – im not just saying that because im from Iowa!! Maybe underutilized isnt the right term, underutilized in cooking! This tasted like a traditional corn chowder but had two types of corn, pop corn amd grilled corn. The popcorn gives a crunch and salty pop too. It was great!! It was paired with Costenita beer, which is a Colombian lager, think the Bud Light of Colombia. It’s only 4% and it’s what boys drink for their first alcoholic drink. It paired amazing with the corn dish…..Iowa would approve 🤣

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Fourth course was goat stewed in coconut milk and sundried shrimp rice “guajira style” which the food and the prep comes from a village where everything is utilized, including the sun. The piece that looks like a tortilla is rice that is actually made to mimic the burnt crispy rice at a bottle of a pot that Colombias love. This dish was served with Carmenere Costa Vera, Chile. The other neat part is the dish is locally made and the painting on the plate symbolizes water and desert which met in Colombia.

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And finally, the fifth course was Mingui (creamy pumpkin and plantain), coastal muesli, coconut milk foam and coconut lemonade sherbet. Which was super flavorful but I wanted more sherbet! The spoon was created to be used to ensure your bite captures everything in the dish – all the flavors! The drink was very unique- it is palm wine, Mompox from Colombia. It’s made out of palm but it is very vinger forward so they add red onion to cut the vinegar and also sparkling water- so you taste cold sparkling at first with a faint vinegar taste/smell then a smooth finish. It is hard to explain but I liked it and the server said it was very “love or hate”

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We walked out and my stomach was so full and happy! As we ventured back to our hotel we noticed much more places were quite, Derek said people in the neighborhood we were in, Getsemani, honor the afternoon Siesta 🙂

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Since we walked back we were able to see the entry to the walled city

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Hilary Clinto went here when she was in Colombia!!!!

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We arrived back at our hotel with about an hour to relax and got the “ok” to leave some bags here when we venture to Island Grande tomorrow. Originally we were going to stay 2 nights on the island and come back a couple hours before or flight but the included boats leave at 4:00 and we would need to leave at 10:00. We looked into a private boat but it was 1.6 million Colombian Pesos (around $450) so we are going to eat the last night on the island and come back to our hotel for the night before heading to Medellin. This allows us to relax, not pay more for a private boat and best of all leave some bags here and just take a day pack to the islands. Flexibility is key!! We also got some pool time in before the sunset.

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Cafe del Mar is a “must do” and we were there right when they opened at 4:30…had to get front row seats for the sunset. Loney Planet said to dress up a notch for this upscale bar and expect to pay more for beers….$10,000 Colombia Pesos. Conversions has been tricky but I came up with a good trick, more the decimal three places and divided by 3.5 so $10,000 would be around $3.50 American dollars for a beer (expensive!!)

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We got there right when it opened but it wasn’t soon enough as every table was almost filled. We got the last “front row of seats” but it had a pole directly over the sunset 🤦🏼‍♀️ oh well, we have seen hundreds of sunsets, this was more about the atmosphere.

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After the sun went down the place got even busier!! They had a DJ and the crowd was ready to fiesta!! Oh something cool, when the sun went down they had a music track for it, very electrical trace – reminded me of Madres and the 2017 solar eclipse.

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Cafe del Mar was located back on the wall which I realized I didn’t write much about yesterday…

More on the Wall from Cartegena’s website: “It was built for the defense of the city, began at the end of the sixteenth century after the attack of the legendary Sir Francis Drake. The fortification is the most complete of the continent of South America and one of the best and well-preserved walls of the walled cities of the world and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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Since the founding of Cartagena de Indias in 1533, and throughout the Spanish colonial era, it was one of the most important ports in America. From there came the greatest riches that the Spanish Crown sent to its ports in Spain for this reason was necessary to build a wall with all the forts like the castle of San Felipe and Bocachica to avoid that they were invaded by the English or French or looters by the pirates, thus the port of Cartagena was becoming important thanks to its bay protected by the Spanish military , the construction of the forts and ramparts and its closeness to the city of Panama another important Spanish port.”

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On the way to watch the sunset we got targeted for some forced romance 🤣 well Derek was targeted and was sung to. When it got to the point where I knew we would have to tip/pay I decided to film a little at least!

https://youtu.be/v8sdvvEyoGo

After watching the sunset we took our time getting to live Jazz at Members Only. Another recommendation from Sebastian, he said Colette sings beautifully. We were super excited for this “no tourists” club that doesn’t even open until 9:00 pm! We went back to the hotel to pack and enjoy our amazing roof top pool.

Erin, who is a friend and past coworker of Derek’s is the reason we are staying in Old Town (I would have booked in the newer high rises which people call “Miami”…no clarm but I had no idea), she also gave some amazing recommendations- she was here on her honeymoon with her husband Johnny. She wrote today and told us we definitely need to order a 13 limonada de cocos. We hope they have them at the jazz club but if not, tomorrow there is a good sign they should have them at the island.

Before we headed to the jazz club we turned on the NFL game live from Mexico City…very cool to hear the announcers speak in Espanol and to hear Patrick Mahomes name over and over 🤣

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Very cool to also hear the Mexican national anthem.

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Around 9:30 we headed to the Jazz club…which didnt open until 9:00. We were only the second couple in there which hopefully was due to a Monday night as this place was really cool!!! It was on Sebastian’s recommendations and we could see why – the singer Collete was out of this world, jaw dropping good!!!

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Really interesting story that we had no idea! Apparently The Great Gastby was finished here in Cartagena!!

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What a fun and neat way to close out the night and our stay in Cartagena! We headed back around 11:45 as we had a 6:45 wake up call the next day – had to catch our boat to Island Grande!!!!

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