2019 World Cruise - Day 6

Tuesday 01.08.19 - 1st Port: Cartagena, Colombia

Details from the Princess Cruise Lines:

Day 4 | 08, January 2019

Dress Code: Smart Casual

27 °C / 81 °F
Partly Cloudy
Gangways are Located on Gangway Forward

Arrival: 10:00 AM

All Aboard: 9:30 PM

One of the more interesting cities on your itinerary steeped in history. This was the transit port for all the wealth Spain derived from South America. The famous "Old City" is comprised of 12 square blocks filled with attractions, boutiques and restaurants.
Throughout Colombia, the Spanish Empire's influence in the New World is self-evident. Its fortress walls, quaint narrow streets, and balconied houses are all vivid reminders of Spain's hold on Cartagena and throughout the Caribbean and South America. This is the land of El Dorado and flamboyant adventurers in search of the ever-elusive gold. Cartagena's well-constructed fortifications defended its borders against seafaring pirates whose attacks lasted for more than 200 years. Today this modern and bustling city, seaport, and commercial center still boasts much of its original colonial architecture. Your journey here will provide you with a significant link to the region's grand past.

**Please note that passengers may encounter numerous local vendors at various tourist locations and may find them to be persistent in their sales offers.

I started off the day by taking pics from our balcony, as we sailed into the port.

After we were on the pier, I took a few more pics as we walked towards the taxi area.

Prior to the cruise, we researched each port of call to find out what to see & do while we visited. Also, we made sure to find out what local foods we should try. We discovered that Food Network, Cooking Channel, & YouTube were perfect research tools. Thanks to Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations, we found these specific items: pescado frito (la mulato), arepa de huevo (plaza de Madrid lady), borojo fruit drink, cazorla de marisco (la casa de socorro), posta negra (La Olla Cartenga).

We were also happy to discover that Uber was only a fraction of the cost of taking a taxi. While the taxis were charging around $20 per ride, we used Uber on 3 different occasions and the total cost was less than $16. Another great thing about Uber is that all payments are completed via the app. This makes sure that the drivers do not overcharge you & that you do not have to worry about paying in local currency.

First up was lunch at La Olla Cartenga, to try the posta negra.

We arrived shortly after they opened & were the first diners seated. When I visit a new place, I like to order a local beer. Today was no different, I had a tasty Colombian lager called Cerveza Barril. Shelly chose a cherry lemonade. It was a frozen drink that reminded us of a slushy. If they would have added tequila, it maybe could have been a frozen margarita. 

We started with a basket of wonderful fresh baked bread, soft butter & a plate of limes.

This was followed by an order of the Caribbean cocktail with hot sauce on the side. The hot sauce really opened up my sinuses. Even though the shrimp were small, they mixed well with the red sauce. This was served with crispy plantain chips.
COCTEL CARIBENO - Caribbean Cocktail
Shrimp in Caribbean sauce (tomato sauce, paprika, cilantro and olive oil).

salsa picante

Now for the main attraction, we shared the Posta Negra. I highly recommend this Colombian dish! The meat is so tender and soaked in the gravy. It was similar to a roast or brisket. On the side was coconut rice, coleslaw, and a red soda plantain. This one dish gave you a meat, a salad, a side, plus a dessert.
POSTA NEGRA CARTAGENERA - Traditional Black Topside Beef
Fat tip, bathed in reduced panela, peppers, onion and spices Accompanied with coconut and plantain rice in temptation.

Our waiter, Luis, told us that they use a local red soda (Kola Roman) along with cinnamon & sugar to cook the plantain in. We ordered a bottle so we could sample it. The taste reminded me of Big Red that we have back in the States.

While we sat & enjoyed the cold soda, we were able to take turns charging our cell phones.

After that spectacular meal, we took another Uber to The Old City for what we thought was a chocolate museum.

The Museo Del Cacao is simply a store that had a room where you could read about the history & you could pay to take a class on how to make chocolate. They offer several chocolate, tea, and coffee samples of all their products. There is a small cafe inside where you can order small plates and drinks. We did buy a small souvenir bottle of chocolate nibs.

Next we went to seek out a few of the street vendors....

At vendor #1 we had a $2 arepa de queso. This was a large griddle fried cheese with charred spots throughout. Oh man, this was so good!  

At vendor #2 we had a terrific $1 tostones, that was cooked fresh to order. It had a fried crispy exterior with a soft interior. 

At vendor #3 we had a fantastic $1 fry bread. This was similar to a donut consistency, but not glazed. I thought this was very good.  Fresh hot fried dough is always so tasty.

After sampling that stellar street food, I was hot & thirsty. We happened upon another restaurant called Cebiches & Seviches, we soaked up some A/C, free WiFi & both ordered a lemonade. This was another cold refreshing slushy type drink. 

We sat at the bar where we watched the chef prepare various ceviches. One of the dishes looked amazing, so I asked the couple next to us what they had ordered. They told me it was the Candela, which is one of their 20 different ceviches!

After reading the menu,it sounded as good as it looked, so we decided to order one to share. This has whole large shrimp, chunks of fish, sliced charred octopus, red onions, avocados, and crispy corn.  All the textures went great together and this was so refreshing on such a hot humid day. The second best part is for a large cup it was under $10 USD! 
Fresh fish, shrimp, octopus, Japanese mayonnaise, rocoto chili, onion, cilantro, avocado and corn.

While we were sitting there, a street vendor walked up to the bar to give the chef a cup of coffee. Shelly is a coffee super fan, so of course she had to get one as well. It was only $1, so why not?

Remember earlier how I said that we did some prior research? Well, Shelly had read an article that talked about candy that is sold in this area. We bought a combo pack & a few that look like little babies. These reminded me of the candy Monterey House used to put in their basket of chips.  

We walked around town for awhile. Cartagena has such beautiful architecture that reminded us a lot of New Orleans, friendly people, and great food all over. We found everything to be so inexpensive, especially away from the tourist areas. 

Once we were back on the ship, it was time for a shower & a quick nap. Also, I posted day 2 of our 2018 road trip. We woke up, dressed for dinner & attended the Folkloric Show starring, the national folkloric show tour of Colombia.

Now let's eat....

Shelly & I both started with a delicious creamy crab & artichoke dip that was topped with breadcrumbs and served with 2 baguette chips, it definitely could have used more, next time I will ask for extras.  This is a must order dish with light crab meat mixed with artichokes and cream then crispy from a slight broil.
Warm Crab & Artichoke Dip with Baguette Chips
seasoned with old bay spice and Dijon mustard

Shelly thought her cock-a-leekie soup had a good broth with lots of tasty bits of chicken, rice, & green onions.
Cock-a-Leekie Soup
traditional Scottish chicken broth with rice, leeks and scallions

I had the smoked haddock & potato chowder. This was a nice rich broth, that was great to dip bread into.
Smoked Haddock & Potato Chowder
classic and rich New England white fish soup

For our entrees, we both had the surf & turf. Mine was a perfect medium rare steak. Shelly said that the lobster was overcooked, but I loved it. The listed vegetables didn't interest me, so I substituted French fries. For her plate, she says, "The steak was cooked to med rare and tender. The lobster tails were good, a bit overcooked. Our waitstaff is terrific, they check for steak accuracy, took the shells off the lobster, and do everything they can to meet our needs and requests."
Heath's Surf & Turf
petite filet mignon and jumbo shrimp with jus and bearnaise sauce
asparagus, carrots and French fries

Shelly' s Surf & Turf
petite filet mignon and jumbo shrimp with jus and bearnaise sauce
asparagus, carrots and sauteed potatoes

Bearnaise Sauce

After than spectacular steak, it was time for dessert...

I had strawberry ice cream. Luckily this dish was not melting. Sometimes they have a tendency to take a while getting dessert out, and it arrives melted. 
Strawberry Ice Cream

Shelly had the spring rolls. "These were a sweet version of the typical savory dish. They were filled with apples and served with a raspberry dipping sauce.  Great dessert without being overly sweet."
Apple and Walnut Spring Rolls
raspberry-pepper dipping sauce

What an awesome first port stop!  We had a fun filled day enjoying the sites, the people, and trying local food. Now we are off to another lovely day at sea.


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