Innervisions are releasing tickets to Lost in a Moment 2014 on 12th March.
The best party of 2013 and the moment that inspired me to go on a journey.
For a taste of the vibe, here’s a video of the Howling performing at last year’s Lost in a Moment at OFF Sónar 2013 in Barcelona.
The warning you get before leaving Bogotá, where they speak exemplary Spanish, is that costeños (people from the coast) talk with a crazy, scrambled accent.
The rumours are true.
If you’re used to the phonetic safety net of conventional Castillian – which some have argued was a deliberate evolution to improve communication – this is an altogether foreign country: consonants casually cast aside, whole phrases elided together, and delivery (or lack thereof) comes as an ambush of rapid-fire chatter.
This is followed by a second or two of frantic mental fumbling as you try to identify the words by matching them to the ‘proper’ versions so lucidly labelled in your own head.
Meanwhile, in parallel, the real decision is whether, after the allotted two seconds, it’s better to ask them to repeat themselves, or just nod hesitantly and go along with it.
Recommendations based on a few days visit…
Things to Do in Cartagena
- Cerro de la Popa
- Monastery built on a mountain overlooking the city.
- Panoramic view of the city – go up late afternoon/dusk for best photo lighting.
- $9 000 entry for adults.
- Monastery museum is a bit token.
- If you take a taxi up, you have to get the driver to wait for you but they won’t mind for the right price (I think we paid $40 000 in total).
- Rent a bike and cruise round the old town.
- Lots of bike rental places dotted around the streets.
- About $3 000 per hour.
- Museo Naval del Caribe
- Naval Museum that gives a good run down of the city’s maritime history.
- Exhibits are grossly verbose but there are some kernels of info that put Cartagena into perspective historically.
- $7 000 entry for adults.
- Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
- Cool castle in walking distance from old town.
- Quite exposed on a hill so go late in the day for better photos and less oppressive weather.
- $17 000 entry.
- $5 000 for Spanish speaking tour guide.
- Casa Venecia
- Clean & quiet hostel in Gethsemani with comfy beds and air-con.
- $25 000 per night for a 6-man dorm bed.
- Wi-Fi is quite flaky.
- Di Silvio Trattoria
- Very good Italian food at a decent price.
- Faultless service and ambience.
- Might be a queue.
- I Balconi
- More very good Italian food (particularly pizza) at a decent price.
- Worth it despite the begrudging service.
- Get a balcony table if you can.
- Botellón near the Iglesia de Santisima Trinidad
- Cheap & cheerful, and a good atmosphere any night of the week.
- Just buy a beer from the street and start botelloning.
- Cafe del Mar
- Expensive but worth going for a drink at sunset.
- Up on the old fortress wall overlooking the sea.
- Decent ambient music with a Balearic feel.
- Higher-end bar in Bocagrande (commercial centre).
- Pretty empty on a Wednesday night but can imagine it’s an acceptable destination for a Friday night out.
Cartagena de las Indias has an intoxicating blend of colonial memories and afrocarribean verve.
It is a place to drink in the warmth of the Caribbean.
Arrive from Bogotá and you’ll notice an instant improvement in the weather and the food, as well as a sharp deceleration in the pace of life (and table service).
The old town shops and restaurants seem to have acquired that familiar brand of mass tourist appeal at the slight expense of authenticity, but that doesn’t spoil the quality of the dishes, nor the sunset from the old fortress walls.
There’s also plenty to see and do, and it makes an ideal starting point for an adventure on the coast.