Sunday, February 7, 2016

Carnaval Uno

A few weeks ago we were going to visit a Roman Theater in Cartagena, but Ella had too much homework and wasn't going to go so we decided to put it off -- and we were so glad that we did because then we were able to be in Cartagena on the same weekend as their Carnaval celebration!  I had regretted that we didn't try harder to see some Carnaval parades while we were in France, so I was really excited to see what it's all about.  I could tell from reading some articles that here it is more family friendly than Mardi Gras is in New Orleans.  

We decided to go after lunch and punched the address into the GPS.  I don't know if I've mentioned it, but our GPS is completely bonkers!  She's always taking us wonky ways, telling us to turn the wrong way onto one-way streets, taking us off of main roads so that we can enjoy tiny ones with lots of roundabouts, telling us to find the highlighted route ourselves and THEN she'll start directing us to our destination, and mostly just leaving us high and dry a few blocks away from where we're trying to go -- it happens all the time!  Saturday was no different, but we thought we'd just park where we'd been directed and then find our way from there.  Well, of course, we walked the completely wrong direction and then the five people who we asked along the way all had a different story.  You would think that the city's biggest attraction might have some dedicated signage, but no -- it's more fun to mystery solve!  We found ourselves at a castle so we just went with that and had a great time exploring!  Then we tried to find the theater again by walking completely around it in a full circle and never discovering the entrance.  Finally we went halfway around again and over a block (all the way around was probably a mile) and there it was!  I had even taken a picture of the back of the building, not knowing what it was.  The only thing we can figure is that there is a tunnel from the museum portion to the actual ruins, because we could see them beyond a fence the whole time.  By this time, we were a few minutes past the last tour, wanh, wanh.  So we're going to go again tomorrow (we'd already bought tickets that are valid for two weeks).  

It was a little frustrating, but we still enjoyed ourselves and everyone was pleasant, whew!

Here are some pictures of Cartagena taken during our involuntary stroll

::Cool trees

::Our first glimpse of the ruins, hmmm, how to get inside?

::The port which has been in use since at least 700 BC

::There are the ruins again!  I can't wait to see them up close!

::On the top of the castle with great views of the city

::Charles had the camera for a minute so here's a candid shot -- I was pointing out where we had parked.  Very far away, fyi.

::There were peacocks everywhere

::The back of the museum, but we had no idea, haha!

::We had a nice dinner eating outside of a cafe along the main street -- everyone was gathering for the parade and a lot of families were dressed up with themed costumes

::We sat down in these handy little chairs, but about 20 minutes later were charged 4 euros a piece for the privilege which actually isn't a bad idea, we were comfy

::The Carnaval king and queen -- Don Carnal and Dona Cuaresma

::The pictures were hard to take because everyone was dancing and moving -- no plodding along -- the ENTIRE time.  There were speakers set up along the route so everyone was dancing to the same music at the same time.  I think there were about 10 songs looping.  We left after 3 1/2 hours and there was no end in sight!

::This one was a bit too wide for the narrow street we were on

::So the boys got "feathered"

We had such a great time!  We didn't quite know what to expect so it was all amazing to us.  It really puts every other parade I've ever seen to shame -- they mostly need more feathers, obviously.  And we even found our car again.  We walked right to it and were sufficiently grateful and amazed with ourselves.  Tender mercies.

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