Cartagena is a port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The walled Old Town, founded in the 16th century, has squares, cobblestone streets and colorful colonial buildings. It was a South American stop on our Caribbean and American cruise. During the fabulous sail into port my head was full of Pablo Escobar and his drug charged career. This was soon forgotten when we hit the streets of the Cartagena, the Colombian capital. A riot of colour and noise filled the senses and left me reeling. The atmosphere was electric, the weather hot and sultry. My only regret for this beautiful and vibrant city was that I didn’t buy an emerald!
Cartagena port oasis, the sustainable zoo, is located on the Cartagena cruise port grounds. It is a government initiative showcasing a variety of the country’s natural resources and Colombia’s desire for a sustainable environment. The animals are not ‘wild’ as such, but many- the monkeys and parrots- appear to be free to come and go. Entry is free- you just walk through the zoo out of the port. The Cartagena port oasis initiative won the Organisation of American States’ First America’s Maritime Award in the category of Sustainable Tourist Destination Port.
The port is fun and informative and a fabulous surprise.
We had a fabulous, fun filled day shooting this.
For a real glimpse into the daily life and culture of Costa Rica go to Puerto Limón with its strong Afro Caribbean culture.
It is an important bustling port city and has a long and interesting history dating all the way back to 1502 when Columbus landed at this port while exploring the New World.
We had fun exploring the city and wandering the slightly run down streets before making our way over to Grape Island seen here from the port.
Very true. But said friend got in the way of my picture in St Lucia!
Oranjestad, Aruba was the next island on our Caribbean Island hopping travels. Here we hired an ATV to get around: Pardo Motorcycle Rental. $90 US for a half day. No website, but they hang around the port entrance in Aruba. Vehicle was a bit old and battered but it did the job.
We made our way over to the northwestern tip of the island, to Aruba’s California Dunes and Lighthouse- local name.Hudishibana
Moving away from the lighthouse we hit the dunes for a bit of off-roading- windswept with abandoned, albeit colourful, buildings scattered around, the dunes feel a bit wild and bleak.
Aruba is a beautiful little island boasting gorgeous weather, fabulous beaches and an ATV in the Outback was a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Bonaire is one of the ABC Netherland Caribbean islands, the other two being Aruba and Curacao. One of the best and cheapest ways to see the island is by scooter. We hired ours through Scooters Bonaire in Kralendijk:
Price was $50 US for a days hire, including a full tank of petrol and insurance. There were no hidden costs- special deals for cruise ships. Helmets are now compulsory in Bonaire.
All set, we hit the open road.
We covered the beaches, the salt ponds and slave huts, restaurants and shops. It is a fabulous island.
To quote George Ezra we were ‘riding shotgun in the hot sun’ seeing Bonaire in style. Ready now to move on to Aruba and Curacao.
Had a cruise stop at Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago a couple of weeks ago. We took an independent trip up to the Argyle Waterfall, a famous waterfall near Tobago with a 3-level drop of 54m into a series of pools surrounded by jungle.
It was a fabulous walk through the jungle up to the waterfall, then a climb up the different stages of the falls and a swim in the top two pools.
Definitely one of a Top Ten Tobago must do. It was $10 US entry without a guide and a minibus cost approximately $120 US return. between ten of us.
MS Braemar was docked on Sugar Berth in Bridgetown. Sugar cane cultivation in Barbados began in the seventeenth century. Initially, rum was produced but by 1642, sugar was the focus of the industry. Barbados was divided into large plantation estates which replaced the small holdings of the early English settlers as the wealthy planters pushed out the poorer.To work the plantations, black Africans were imported. After 1750 the plantations were owned by absentee landlords living in Britain and operated by hired managers. The slave trade ceased in 1807 and slaves were emancipated in 1834.
On the dock there is still the remains of the machinery used to load the sugar cane onto the ships for exporting.
Caught up with the Braemar and Funky Blue in Bridgetown, Barbados.
We had a fabulous, fun day filming for the Funky Blue promotional video and website on the Bridgetown Boardwalk, which runs east-west along the waterfront through the capital city.
Filming finished we headed back to the ship on the dollar bus.
Back on ship the Braemar set off for a night sail to Tobbago.
Funky Blue having a Caribbean Blast.
Fred Olsen’s Braemar is currently cruising around the Caribbean for the winter and Funky Blue are enjoying every moment!
Photo’s by Gary Stirzaker.
A colourful coffee shop in Cozumel, Mexico.
In their own words: “where age-old traditions meet new-era awareness to produce an incredible coffee… born in the shade of Mexico’s tallest volcano”
Everything an environmentally aware coffee fanatic could wish for. And it tasted so good too.
The twenties were seen in with style by the fabulous Funky Blue on Fred Olsen’s ship The Braemar.
‘And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.’
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Not only did this tres chic petit cafe have the best coffee en France and delicious French toast, it also had two very handsome and flirty waiters who made every lady that came in feel a little bit special. What more could a girl ask for?
# L’ Alchimiste
I love a road trip! I especially love a road trip with my Partner. He works all over the world for 80% of the year, so I spend a lot of time travelling solo. This means that travelling times together are very special. Here is our Milly and Vinnie road trip playlist:
Simultaneously similar and different!