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I had a bad night last night. Having bounced back from feeling a little unwell a few days ago, I’m back to not feeling full fettle. All of which is a bit of a shame because today, we arrived in Cartagena, in Columbia, a port we’ve been looking forward to ever since visiting it for the first time last year.

Despite not really feeling up to it, we walked it from the busy cruise terminal to the old town, a distance of almost 2 miles. It was hot and humid, and with a few stops along the way and reflections upon whether or not it would be more sensible to turn back than press on, we finally made it to the Old Town.

It was as we remembered it, only much hotter, and much busier. We fought our way through narrow streets absolutely thronged with bustling tourists. Here, there are balconies bursting with colourful, overhanging bouganvillea, horse-drawn carriages clop their way along the streets, and vendors eagerly approach from every direction in the hope of selling us something.

After taking a brief respite in a large church, where electric fans cooled each row of pews, we gradually navigated our way to the wall that surrounds the old town, from where we were able to get some good views in all directions.

I would have enjoyed it all far more if I’d felt that I was truly up to it. Unfortunately, all I fell like doing was going back to bed and curling up into a small ball. As we meandered back into the town square, the vast swathes of tourists was slightly overwhelming; eventually, I conceded the fight and we hailed a cab to take us back to the port.

Our cab driver drove like a total nutter. The vehicular traffic in the city was as busy as the pedestrian traffic in the old town, and we weaved our way through impossible gaps, to the sound of blaring horns and gangster rap coming from the car radio. Come to think of it, our driver looked like he might be a rapper in his spare time…

There really was no hurry, but we were back at the port before we knew it.

With two other massive floating blocks of flats in port (P&O Ventura and a Tui Ship), the cruise terminal was also exceedingly busy. One thing that makes Cartagna port stand out from others is its aviaries, free to walk around, and featuring lots of colourful tropical birds, such as toucans.

We agreed that I should simply head back to the cabin and go to bed, leaving Tracey to spend some time wandering around the aviary.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping, in the hope of getting myself better for tomorrow, when we will be stopping off at our final port-of-call before passing through the Panama Canal, on Friday.

Peter Woolley

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