Book Hunters that we are, it didn’t take us long to zero in on Abaco Libros & Cafe at Calle 36 #3-86 in the old walled city of Cartagena.
This shop is a charming gathering place for bibliophiles, offering books, coffee and pastries, and free wi-fi. The store carries new books in both English and Spanish (mostly Spanish), with a good selection of works by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
On our visit, we missed the Cartagena Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts — by one week! The 10th annual festival was held January 29 – February 1, 2015. It has become one of the most important literary events in the Hispanic world, bringing authors, journalists, poets, artists and musicians from all over the world together in a celebration of stories and ideas.
For our first visit, I’m almost glad we came when it was over, as my brain was on sheer overload trying to take in all the beauty and pleasures of the city on regular days — toss in a world-class literary festival and my head would have been spinning!
Here are just a couple of the posters hanging in the courtyard of the Santa Clara Hotel celebrating great writers from around the world who have stayed at the hotel…
For information and tickets for the 2016 Hay Festival in Cartagena, click HERE.
While walking through the city our favorite place to pause was the Plaza de Bolivar. For sheer beauty and lovely people-watching atmosphere, it is hard to beat.
On the Plaza de Bolivar is a small but excellent museum of ancient gold artifacts, beautifully displayed.
Intricate pre-Columbian gold relics, the work of the Zenu and other tribes, appear to float behind the glass in Museo del Oro Zenu.
An even larger, world-class museum of this type can be seen in Bogota, Colombia — but this one is a great introduction to the history of Colombia’s indigenous peoples and their amazingly intricate artwork, both gold and pottery.
For gold-viewing of a different kind, a glorious place to enjoy the sunsets is at Cafe del Mar, a cocktail bar and restaurant perched on the ramparts of the historical fortress walls of the old city, looking out to the sea.
Stay tuned — more to come!