Where Fish Hooks were Made of Gold

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.

Abaco Libros & Cafe, Cartagena, Colombia

Abaco Libros & Cafe, Cartagena, Colombia

Ron at the entrance to Abaco Libros book store

Ron at the entrance to Abaco Libros book store

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.

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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…

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Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian writer, politician, journalist, essayist, college professor, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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Dominique Fernandez, French writer of novels, essays and travel books. In 1982 he won the Prix Goncourt for his novel about Pier Paolo Pasolini; and in 2007 he was elected a member of the Académie française.

 

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.

 

 

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Plaza de Bolivar, Cartagena, Colombia

Plaza de Bolivar at night, where we watched fabulous native dancers perform.

Plaza de Bolivar at night, where we watched fabulous native dancers perform.

Bronze statue of Simon Bolivar, hero in the revolutions against the Spanish Empire.

Bronze statue of Simon Bolivar, hero in the revolutions against the Spanish Empire.

On the Plaza de Bolivar is a small but excellent museum of ancient gold artifacts, beautifully displayed.

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Intricate pre-Columbian gold relics, the work of the Zenu and other tribes, appear to float behind the glass in Museo del Oro Zenu.

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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.

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Fish hooks of gold

Fish hooks of gold

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.

Cafe Del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia

Cafe del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia

Sunset viewed from Cafe Del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia

Sunset viewed from Cafe del Mar, Cartagena, Colombia. There is a ship on the horizon, beneath the sun.

Stay tuned — more to come!

 

 

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