"" Writer's Wanderings: World Cruise - Santa Marta, Columbia

Monday, January 26, 2015

World Cruise - Santa Marta, Columbia

The Sierra Mountains are a beautiful backdrop to Santa Marta
Blow the horn! Step on the gas! 

Blow the horn! Step on the gas! 

So went our bus tour of Santa Marta, Columbia. This was a new port for Crystal Cruise Lines so we were pioneering in a sense. The town was much larger than I expected from the information I’d gained online but it was still Columbia and all that goes with a Latino culture.

The hotel area of Santa Marta
Many of my pictures of the town itself had to be taken through the window of the bus which wasn’t always a clear shot through a window that may have been clean earlier in the morning but now was a bit spattered with dust. Everything looked dusty in Santa Marta. It was their dry season. The only thing really green was the cactus growing plentifully on the hillsides.

We passed several large churches and a beautiful cathedral that would have been fun to look at from the inside if there had been time and if we had been brave enough to venture out on our own.  I had to chuckle as the guide explained that the bars on the windows were there so that they could open the windows and allow the homes to “refresh with clean air.” There was nothing mentioned about safety and the bars certainly wouldn’t have kept out birds or smaller animals.

Lots of stands selling all sorts of things from shoes to drinks dotted the streets. We drove past a nice boardwalk area that bordered the beach front and it looked like lots of people were enjoying themselves in the sun and surf.

Blow the horn! Step on the gas! Okay, the brakes worked too! ‘Nuf said.

About five miles up a small mountain to the other side, we found the hotel area where a whole new community had sprung up according to our guide. From a distance they looked very nice and once we were among them, we could see that they were busy with people who were obviously on holiday. Another nice beachfront area bordered the sea here and was full of all sorts of cabanas for those who could afford to pay $10 or so to keep out of the sun.

Originally our tour was to take us to a fishng village but for some reason our itinerary was changed. I’m guessing perhaps there were too many who were going to invade the little village and it would have been overwhelmed. So instead, we were taken to the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino. It is the place where Simon Bolivar, the great liberator, died on December 17, 1830.

Simon Bolivar was instrumental in winning freedom for Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from the Spanish Empire and is credited with helping to lay a foundation for democracy in much of Latin America.

The Hacienda has been made into a beautiful park area and furnishings and memorabilia can be seen in the rooms. It is also home to some good looking iguanas that scurried up trees to get a better view of us. 

One of the interesting pieces we saw in a large room was a press that at first I thought was for grapes. Our guide informed us it was used to squeeze juice from sugar cane and then the juice would be made into rum.

Blow the horn! Step on the gas! By the time we got back to the ship I felt like my neck had gotten a good workout. We opted to stay on the ship for the afternoon. There really wasn’t much we wanted to go back to see and our comfort zone along with the heat of the afternoon said “no.” 

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