Calle de las DamasVerandas, terraces, balustrades, patios…Cartagena de Indias, Colombia is a theater stage where the people who lived in the mansions could watch life passing on the streets, and the crowds on the streets could look up and watch the members of society as they leaned over the turned-wood laths of their balconies.

Cartagena de IndiasEspecially beautiful are those balconies from which heat-loving bougainvilleas and other tropical ramblers come cascading down in a thick froth of flowers and foliage that, on certain houses, can take your breath away.

Centro Historico

Centro Historico

Cartagena de Indias

Sitio Getsemaní

12 thoughts on “Balconies

  1. The balconies are wonderful. I can imagine sitting there, watching the world go by, sketching or reading, sipping a cocktail, soaking up the sunshine. The colours of the buildings are beautiful. Bizarrely, they remind of the brightly coloured harbour towns on the west of Scotland and its islands. Somehow the bright colours are much more cheerful in that sunshine rather than Scotland’s grey light though.

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    1. Me, too, though it turns out that all the best balcony spots are boutique hotels or fancy restaurants, of which there is no lack in the Centro Historic. I have to content myself with sitting in the parks or public buildings like the library…
      The colours are absolutely fearless, though I have heard that this is not really how the city was painted in the old times, they were more commonly white, cream, terracotta or a pale yellow. More restrained (by the lack of acrylic house paints and synthetic pigments, I guess)
      In the Caribbean these candy colours are ubiquitous…the same colors on houses in drizzly or grey Scotland must be AMAZING. And they would really need them, over there!

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      1. I must admit that it’s lovely to pull into a fishing harbour in Scotland, on choppy waters under a leaden sky, and be greeted by the colourful buildings of Tobermory, Portree or Tarbert. However, I would have loved to have visited those locations in brilliant sunshine and warmth.

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  2. Nat, Love, in all if your travels in South America, it looks like this is the most prosperous city (country?). Are these magnificent houses owned by middle–class citizens? Can you stay at some of them as you did in Venezuela, in a “posada”? It strikes me that every country you have visited, has something precious and good to share to the world of international countries.

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    1. Hi, Dad! I’d say Colombia and Brazil were the most like regular free-market economies, though I wouldn’t call Colombia ‘prosperous’, unless you would call the Philippines prosperous…the walled city is not your average Colombian neighbourhood, it is a World-Heritage restored medieval city, all the buildings are either museums and shops, or they are boutique and 3-5 star hotels. Very few locals, except maybe the very rich or the original families, actually still live within the walls of the Centro Historico. You would laugh at the number of rooftop infinity pools, indoor water features and spas—all invisible from the street—are hidden on the top floors of these colonial buildings!


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