Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Salsa in blood

Colombia sounds different from the countries we have visited so far in the Caribbean. Colombia is different from the Caribbean countries we have visited so far. If we were in Aruba still on an island, which secures the most, a more or less good livelihood, the gap between rich and poor in Colombia is enormous. Nevertheless, the people here do not let their joie de vivre be taken away, even if the smile, if one is once again rejected when begging, is somewhat thin. Already in Aruba, in the Colombian bars, Salsa was played up and down. Here in Colombia itself, Salsa is indispensable and meets you everywhere, all day, and on weekends until the early morning hours. Colombia is loud, sometimes maybe a bit hectic. It may be that we have been somewhat weaned from the street noise by the long time, in which we have been mostly on tranquil anchorages. Now we feel again the concentrated charge, the pulsation of life, and we let ourselves go with it.

Marina Santa Marta, Colombia

Blood red with a slight purple, the sun sinks into the sea. The lights of the city start to glow and it gets a little louder than it already is. Even though Salsa can be heard all day, with the blood red sky, the music now comes out of all the speakers. Therefore, for us, salsa, is blood red. Time to go into town and in one of the many restaurants, something to eat. The old town of Santa Marta is full of restaurants, takeaways and small food stalls that offer their wares on the street. Cooking food on board, is not worth it. The ingredients in the supermarket and the preparation itself, are at least as expensive as in the restaurant. So every evening we go to eat in a different restaurant. 

Old Town Santa Marta, Colombia

Life takes place on the street. If you don't like to be looked into the food, you choose a restaurant with a backyard. The streets are colorful and, above all, uneven. Deep holes in the sidewalks and huge puddles, after a downpour, make it an adventure to navigate Colombia's streets. Missing sewer covers, or at least, broken out parts of them, give insight into the inside of the sewer system. If you look inside, every once in a while, a shadow flits by. Nevertheless, the old town makes a very tidy impression. As in any city, the garbage piles up on the buildings that are no longer used. Yes, even for the critters in Santa Marta, it is not easy to survive. In the first few days, somewhat overwhelmed with the situation, we venture forward only hesitantly. The many zeros on the banknotes alone unsettle us a bit. 60'000 Peso costs on average a dinner including drink, for two persons. That is about 15 Euros. We quickly get used to the pace and just follow the music, which, as I said, comes out of all the loudspeakers here. Every few meters you are approached by someone with a menu. From pizza to burgers, to Mexican cuisine, there is everything here that the heart desires. Of course, the Colombian cuisine is not missing. This is usually recognized by the mountain of cheese that is sprinkled over the dish. Somehow, Colombians seem to love to eat cheese. If one is not addressed by a menu card carrier, the happy hour freaks come right after. Mojito for 20,000 pesos, they shout at you from afar. For two of course, after all it is happy hour, which is not even 5 euros. 

Happy Hour in Santa Marta, Colombia

If then just a street musician, a sitting at a table, almost bare-breasted sings at, the resistance becomes smaller and smaller and finally - I have also not heard me say no - I sit with the best view, next to the same lady. Gaby still asks if we want to swap places, but by the loud singing, I do not understand what she wants to tell me. I then try to distract myself by watching the bartender as she mixes our drinks. The whole situation is of course due to the great heat and makes me sweat quite a bit, the better when then finally the mojito is there.

Old Town Santa Marta, Colombia

But not only the nightlife has its charm in Santa Marta. Besides some beautiful squares and parks, there is the gold museum Casa de la Aduana and the Basilica de Santa Marta. In addition, a walk along the beach promenade is an experience. This promenade connects the marina with the commercial port, where the sail training ship Gloria is moored this week. The Gloria is the flagship of the Colombian Navy and was commissioned in 1969. It is a barque with three masts and a total length of 76m. She is 10.6m wide and displaces 1300t. The Gloria looks quite similar to the Gorch Fock, but was built at the Astilleros y Talleres Celaya shipyard in Bilbao. As she departs, the crew of 120 stands in the yards wearing T-shirts in the Colombian national colors, yellow, blue, red. We wave to her and wish her always fair winds and following seas.

Sail Training Ship Gloria Santa Marta, Colombia

So if any of you want to come to Colombia, we recommend two things. If you can't already. First, take a Salsa course and second, learn the Spanish language. Both are a huge advantage in this beautiful country of Colombia. In this sense, keep a stiff upper lip.