Sunday, August 02, 2009


Exploring Cartagena

Even though it is hot, hot, hot, we've been regularly taking walks through the central (old) city of Cartagena. During the day we try to stick to the shady parks and museums where there's air conditioning. But in order to experience the famous stone walls surrounding the city built by the Spanish in the 16th century, we have to venture out during the day.

Here's Jonesy on top of one of the walls with the city in the background. And then, another section of the wall with the Caribbean Sea behind him. Yep. Those canons are real and they are still here.

The streets of the city are quite narrow and are lined by the houses, some several centuries old! Tourists can take rides in horse-drawn carriages in the evenings and at night when the cool tropical breeze kicks up off of the Caribbean Sea.

The Gold Museum
The first museum we visited was the free and air-conditioned Gold Museum. Here, they have on display many pieces of gold jewelry that was worn by the local indians before the invasion by the Spanish Conquistadors. The chest plates, nose rings, earrings and figurines were amazing! Amazing too because these are some of the pieces that survived the pillaging by the Spanish.

In this photo, you can see an ornamental nose bar that went thru the nostrils. Below in the chest area is a pottery cylinder with a decorative design in relief. These "Body Weave" cylinders were rolled in vegetable and mineral paints and rolled up the chest to paint a design on the skin! So clever!

Now these little beauties caught my fiber-oriented eyes - fiber spinning whorls! The whorls were made from potter or bone and were used to spin cotton to make blankets and hammocks. Also used were these bone, shell or metal needles.

Another thing that caught my eyes were the beautiful hinges on the front doors of the museum! All around the old section of Cartagena we see marvelous metalwork on the doors and windows in the old Spanish style. I've been taking photos for ideas for knitting designs!

The Spanish style of the buildings is such that the fronts - the part of the houses that face the street - are simple. The doors are elaborate but that's all you see. But if you have the opportunity to peek inside you will see that there is almost always a central patio open to the sky with plants and water features. THIS is where the people live! The photo above is of a government office!

Bolivar Square is one of the more famous small parks in the city. We sit in the shade, rest our feet, and watch the people (and I knit). In one of the other parks, we saw monkeys in the trees and giant iguanas rambling thru the plantings.

So...what have I been knitting? Socks. Plain ole socks in self-patterning yarns. We are having a Sock Challenge Marathon on the Mittens for Akkol yahoo group and I'm churning out socks as fast as I can in adult sizes. Join us! Use up that stash yarn! These are 2 pairs knit with Regia Jaquard sock yarn, and one pair with Jawool sock yarn. Exciting? Nope. But I love to know that the kids in the orphanage in Kazakhstan will have warm feet this coming winter.

On the needles now is another pair of socks using a bright yellow varigated yarn from Germany. Actually, I'm loving these socks as they make me smile! Back to knitting.

The socks look great, what lucky orphans! I especially like the blue and green ones.

So they let you into the Gold Museum with a camera?! Great photos, and the motifs do look like good design ideas.

Hey, if you see Donna and Howard from "Nintai" please tell them hello from Bliss. They should be there in Cartagena, back from a medical run to LA.
Thank you!
wow!! I am so impressed. You are sure educating and entertaining us too. Your description of the foods was great and sounded to good. The museum pictures were so fascinating. I can hardly think how old all those pieces are, it just is unbelievable that they are all in tack..... happy sailing
Cool museum!
Beautiful! I love the history in these old towns, I am sooo envious! I also love your socks!
Great pictures. Those whorls and needles look like they would make cool shawl pins. Your socks are gorgeous. Definitely on my list of things to accomplish is knitting a pair of socks!
Hey Terri! Just thought I'd leave a comment so you know that I'm still following your blog. I LOVE your photos, and I wish I were brave enough to go on the kind of adventure you are! My husband would love it....I just haven't quite been able to commit to leaving all I love on the land behind....!

Oh, and by the way, my first husband is from Bogota, and the name of the country is actually spelled like this: Colombia. Common mistake.

Keep writing; we landlubbers just love to hear about your adventures!

Deborah; Benicia, CA.
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