Medellín – Cartagena: A hard day´s night

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Woken by the implacable alarm clock at a quarter to four in the morning, I swung my feet out of the bed – and stood in a pond of water. For the short night, I had switched off the fridge… After a nocturnal bicycle trip to the terminal in the north, I reached just in time the bus to the coast, to Cartagena. It was an odd feeling to watch from the comfortable seat the landscapes and the faces flashing by behind the window. Accustomed to the bicycle, I felt that I somehow did not deserve to see them, like a gift not earned, like a win of an unfair battle, like an inappropriate temporary intrusion into foreign lives. After a climb into the clouds, when we reached my good friend Río Cauca at Valdivia, the mountains gave suddenly way to green meadows with cattles browsing under a plam trees and to flooded fields with sheds covered by palm leaves. At the peajes all along the way, sellers of snacks and souvenirs climbed the bus.

With a delay of about two hours after an obscure stop on the road, we reached Cartagena after 15 hours at about 9.30p.m. Que calor! I asked the bus driver for the way to Bocagrande to my hotel: „One hour in this direction, but don´t stop on the trip! Good luck.“ Riding through the suburbs, I understood his indication. 40min later, I reached the hotel, but my reservation was lost and the place all occupied due to the following monday, un dia festivo. Asking around in the neighbourhood, I finally found a bed for one expensive night but had to pay in cash. This raised the need for a cajero: the first one was run out of notes, the next one closed, the third out of function…

At midnight, I finally bedded my exhausted head on the pillow (luckily no fridge in the room).