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Cartagena: everything I wanted in a city

New city, new adventures in my first week in Cartagena! I’m so excited for Cartagena, because of multiple reasons. The weather is nice, there is an ocean, the streets are colourful, and… this is the last city in which I have Spanish lessons!

Although I love learning Spanish and I’m glad I did it, twelve weeks of classes were maybe a little bit too much. But after the next three weeks, I don’t have classes anymore. I can focus more on my business and on traveling!

Last week in my Travel Diary, I skipped the Sunday because it was a travel day. Short summary: I took a (pink!) plane from Medellín to Cartagena, and arrived here in the afternoon. I rested for a little while, then ate dinner with my host mom and another student who is staying here. She is a girl from Switzerland.

That was it for the Sunday! Then, I went to sleep quite early, and when I woke up, it was Monday of my first week in Cartagena…

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Monday: multiple colourful streets and a movie

As always, I had Spanish lessons in the morning. These are from Monday til Friday, from 9.00 until 12.40. This time, the Swiss girl who lives with me walked with me to the school, because she has classes too. She is in another level though, so we didn’t go to class together.

The class was nice. I am in class with two other students – two women who are older than I am. Their Spanish is also slightly better, and so I feel like the class is just a little bit above my level. I don’t mind though – it will make my Spanish improve too!

In the afternoon, we all watched a movie in Spanish in the school. It was a Disney movie, so it was quite easy to understand. It is also very good for my Spanish to watch it.

Cartagena, Colombia

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Tuesday: Colombian food and soccer

Cartagena, Colombia

On Tuesday, the school organised a small food-tasting activity. The employees of the school prepared some typical food from Cartagena – all of which was fried 🙂 Empanadas, Arepas… It was all delicious! Between my class and this activity, I found some time to work as well.

After that, some of the students, including myself, went to a bar to watch the soccer game from that day. It was Colombia against Venezuela. Colombia won with 2-0! The Colombian supporters were going crazy, so it was very interesting to experience.

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Wednesday: dancing the salsa during my first week in Cartagena

On Wednesday, it was time for salsa dancing classes. After my experiences with salsa dancing in Amsterdam and Quito, I vowed to never again go to a class. It’s not for me, I don’t like it, and I’m not that good at it. But of course, the Swiss girl I live with convinced me to go.

We both regretted it a bit when we were actually in the class though. It was incredibly warm outside, and so we were already sweating before the class even began. However, I must admit, the class was actually quite fun. But I’m only doing the salsa class in my first week in Cartagena: next week, I’ll do something else instead.

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Thursday: barbecue on the beach

On Thursday, some of the students and I went to a beach in Cartagena. There was a hostel there that organised a barbecue, and we were invited by one of the employees of the school to join. He knows the owner of the hostel.

The barbecue was fun, and the food was really nice. However, if there is one thing I have noticed in my first week in Cartagena: there are a lot of German-speaking students. Almost everyone in the school is from Germany, Switzerland, or Austria. And so, often, the conversations go from English to German.

I can sort-of understand the German, so it’s okay. I do respond in English though, because my German is not that good. Then, the others will switch back to English as well… momentarily.

Around midnight, we were all kind of tired, so we ordered a taxi to go back to our homes. However, the taxi’s in Cartagena (or Colombia in general) take forever to arrive. We had to wait for about an hour, and then the drive back was also half an hour.

Beach in Cartagena

All in all, it was pretty late when I was finally in bed. Which wasn’t great, because I had Spanish classes the next morning…

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Friday: Spanish and work in my first week in Cartagena

When I woke up on Friday, I was really tired. I only had a couple of hours of sleep. I did go to class though, and luckily the class wasn’t too hard. I drank a lot of water to give my body some energy and to hydrate it, and that seemed to help.

In the afternoon, after lunch, I went home to relax and to work. I watched some Dutch television, to stay up-to-date on the news. I also worked for a while, because I haven’t been doing that a lot this week. Also, since it’s s new month, I got to send some invoices! 🙂

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Saturday: beach day

Sunset in Cartagena

On Saturday, the Swiss girl I live with and I went to the beach. We really didn’t want to do anything that day, and so we decided to just chill. We spent a good part of the day lying in the sun, swimming in the ocean, and listening to music.

It wasn’t completely relaxed though, because there were a lot of people trying to sell us stuff. And I mean, a lot. I’ve never been in a place where there are more people offering you products and services.

In the late afternoon, we had enough of the sun (and the people), and so we went back to the city centre. There, we walked around the old town and went for a drink. We watched the sunset in the bay, which looked really pretty. Overall, it was a pretty nice day!

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Sunday: tour to El Totumo Volcano

For the Sunday, I had booked a tour to El Totumo Volcano! I got up quite early, because I had to be at the Clock Tower of the city centre at 7.45 a.m. The bus would leave at 8 a.m.

In Colombian time, that never means 8 a.m. In this case, it meant 8.45 a.m. I had been at the meeting point for half an hour before even meeting the tour guide, and then half an hour more before we actually left. But then, we were finally on our way!

Our first stop was El Totumo Volcano, or the mud volcano. This is an active volcano that is filled with mud, in which you can bathe. This is what I did! The mud is supposed to work in a cleansing way on your skin as well. I got a massage in the mud, and then I went to the river to clean myself.

After that, we walked around in a small town with a tiny museum, and then we went to the Pink Sea. This is a salt lake, which turns pink at certain times of the year. At this moment, however, it was not pink. It was still a pretty sight to see. Lastly, we all went to lunch together, before we were dropped off in the city again.

Salt Lake or Pink Sea in Colombia

The rest of the day, I just worked and relaxed. That is all for my first week in Cartagena!

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