Royal Caribbean Cruise
February 14th - 20th, 2011
 


Feb 14th, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day! yesterday we drove from our home in Panama to the port in Colon and boarded our RCI Grandeur of the Seas for our third cruise to exactly the same places…boring you ask? Not at all for we all travel for various reasons and our cruise is a totally predictable trip that we been on before and now because of that don’t have to rush off the ship to see everything in every port. We can go at our own pace or not go at all. The wonderful thing about this cruise is that we do not have to fly anywhere to get it. In our car and on the ship in less than 2 1/2 – 3 hours max including time to check in. Then to our room – a balcony junior suite this time – to see it, then to lunch and then to nap so we were ready for the ship leaving the port and for dinner all rested and relaxed already! Tom and I both enjoy this holiday because we both have very busy jobs. We have nothing to think about except what to wear and what to eat and if we do venture off the ship, it is at a peaceful pace.

Today our ship arrives into Cartagena. We can see the tugboat sliding up next to us to help guide us to the dock. ‘Sea Trout’ is doing a fine job and before long we are attached to its dock by 10:30. You can feel the heat already and our side is on the shady side and facing the City, what a bonus. We watched everyone get off then made our own way out through the crowds getting their photos taken and being shown where the buses were for the tours that were leaving and slowly made our way through the Port Shop and out to where the cabs were…this was getting to be quite a routine! Our cab took us from the port and into old town in less than 10 minutes. We got out at the Clock Tower and just started walking. The old city is very easy to walk around an surrounded by the wall that was built to protect it from invaders, you already have a good boundary to stay within.

Each street is rather narrow and you do have to watch out for uneven sidewalks (just like home), but you are not moving fast anyway as that truly is the best way to see things…and there is much to see. The buildings are what you see first. Such wonderful architecture and painted in bright colours of cobalt blue to pink, yellow and even a deep burnt red. Every doorway opens up to another world. The city reminds me of other countries that show nothing on the outside except these high walls and closed doors so you have no idea if someone is wealthy or not…until you see into an open doorway. It’s like opening up that present and seeing something so beautiful it causes you to gasp with delight. Some of them did just that, filled with a plant laden courtyard that you just had to keep yourself from going into…many of the old buildings have been converted into really post boutique hotels and restaurants, gift shops and galleries. Along the streets are plenty of vendors where you can buy just about anything from jewelry and handbags unique to Columbia to fresh fruit cut up in little cups to freshly squeezed orange juice. One of the vendors came up to me selling ‘Panama’ hats. After joking with him that they really were not a Panama hat and that they actually came from Cuenca, Ecuador, I did end up buying one…just because. The hat Roosevelt wore when working on our Panama canal has sure gone a long way and it has just stuck because he wore it here.

There were so many ‘kodak’ moments…balconies dripping with bougainvillea, store fronts showing us clothing and artwork. Then we reached the market…this is a very famous market and it is always full of tourists. I don’t really go into the shops anymore unless I am looking for something in particular…I people watch. There is ladies all dressed up with very colourful costumes carrying huge baskets of fruit on their heads…if you take their picture, be sure to pay them…they get very angry if you don’t. Now there is one stand we always go to and that is a little wagon on the side of the road just in front of the market that sells the most wonderful arepas…these are mashed potato and white cheese mixed together into a patty and grilled in butter. So yummy and filling. One of these each is lunch!!

Satisfied with our walking tour we took a cab back to the ship, had a rest then it was time for dinner.

Dinner – ladies were given a rose tonight at dinner

 

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row