Category Archives: Cartagena

Viejando de Cartagena a Manizales


Backpacking: when a person travels with their belongings on their back through unknown places. I have not been doing much of this as I stay in one place 3-4 weeks. My backpack usually stays on the floor of my dormitory. When I chose to fly from Cartagena to Medellin and then bus to manizales I heard that it was easy and cheap so I was ready at 11 am to travel. I took a bus to the airport. The bus was easy to take $1,500 COP ($.75 USD) and there was even free WIFI at the airport. Go for be airport in Cartagena early! At least an hour and a half early because I almost missed my flight being an hour early. Colombian time is usually late but in this circumstance it is better to be safe than sorry.

The flight was horrible. Seriously, horrible. The whole time the plane did the up and down move where your stomach goes up in knots. It was bad, but manageable. About this time it is 3:30 pm.

Once in medellin I knew I had to take a 45 min bus to the terminal where I would take another bus to manizales. The bus from the airport to medellin was $8,000 COP ($4.00 USD). The taxis are twice as much starting at $15,000 ($7.50 USD). Make sure you ask the bus driver where the bus ends and where you want to get off. The bus driver dropped us off at a place which was not the terminal so I took another bus to the metro which I knew connected to the terminal. The metro in Medellin is super easy to navigate and costs $1,500-1,700 COP ($.75-1.00 USD) to go one way from one spot to the next.

Once I got to the terminal there were no buses to Manizales. Why? Because I was at the wrong terminal. Apparently there is a south terminal as well. Don’t go to the north terminal in Medellin if you want to head south! Trial by error!

About this time it is 4:50pm and I hop on another bus for $2,000 COP ($1.00 USD) and I arrive to the south terminal. it was about a 20 minute bus ride.

At the terminal I learn that the workers jn the coffee region are on strike because of fair wages making the whole area extremely difficult to travel through. It was 5:30pm, I was tired and just wanted to get to Manizales. I decide to start asking people around and see if there was a collective taxi since all the buses were shut off. Sure enough there was one and not a bad price. $38,000 COP ($19.00 USD. There were 7 people in a van but it didn’t leave till 6:30pm.

7:00pm we finally get going, everyone in the car is from Manizales, apparently not a lot of tourists go there. The van was okay for the first 20 minutes because we were in traffic. Once we started going I was terrified of the corners that the bus driver was cutting because they were blind corners and the only thing he based off cutting the corner by was if he could see headlights. This as well made my stomach turn into knots!

The poor gentleman beside me was helping me calm down but for 6 hours this continued and sure enough I was sick the whole time. Horrible!

I arrived safely I manizales at 1:30am and slept the whole night. 6 1/2 hour bus ride hat was supposed to be 4 hours with one bus. Next time I am bringing anti nausea medicine. So glad that is over. Staying in one place for a long period of time is much easier for me than traveling at a fast pace!

Cartagena, Colombia Mural


What a pleasure it’s been to spend three weeks painting in a house, not a hostel and alone! This piece is in the second story of an apartment home. It overlooks the sea, has great light and the wall was over 10 feet tall by 12 feet wide. This piece was on a flat surface and had some light structures to the left and right. I also did not have a ladder which made for some messy painting when trying to get to the high surfaces. 20130227-145951.jpg

Location: Cartagena, Colombia. A rather small Spanish Colonial town located on the Carribbean Coast. The town has amazing energy that has large balconies with flowers pouring over the railings, artwork in form of statues and murals all over the city, and people constantly buzzing around the city.

Time to paint: 3 weeks, 3-4 hours a day

About the process: I went back to my old style from college and decided to do a Cartagena cityscape. The city was such an inspiration so I had to go for it. This process involves a couple of different layers. I start by painting the background one solid color. Often when the wall is white it can be overwhelming and I find myself thinking too much about what goes on top of it and what could go wrong. So instead I take white and a little dab of other colors and begin painting a solid background. That way it also makes the painting feel like there is depth to the piece as well. Then I start by sketching. That way if I mess up, I can always go over it with the same background color. The drawings go on top, then a couple layers of detail. Layer in spanish is called cuatromano. Cuatro which means four and mano which means hand. It makes sense as it usually takes four strokes with your hand to create one layer.

What I learned: This style was fairly familiar to me. I haven’t done a piece this large so it was difficult to fill the whole wall. I learned that I should never use a chair and a cooler again as a ladder and that a fan is a necessity when pairing in 90 degree weather.


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International Festival de Peliculas Fiesta


It was 10 pm, the night was sticky and hot with a soft breeze that was swaying in and out. The outdoor movie was dancing in the wind as the screen moved around.”The bicycle thief” was the movie in Italian, translated into Spanish subtitles. The International Film Festival was in full swing as we drank beers while watching the film for free.


Honestly, the movie was horrible. The experience was priceless. After the five of us walked 15 minutes from the old historical town to the media luna district which was roaring with energy. We found ourselves at the plaza again as street vendors and artisans were humming about.


Suddenly, a car pulls up and starts playing music from subs in the trunk of the car. My friend Karine from Australian starts feeling the music. So much that he starts to go Napoleon Dynamite and dances by himself holding up traffic. A circle starts to appear around him and the rest is history. Thank goodness I have this on film! I couldn’t help myself I just couldn’t believe that he was dancing like he was!20130223-173447.jpgAnother wonderful end to the gorgeous day in Cartagena. I don’t think I could be more in love with the people and this city.

No Hay Aqua y Seunos Verdad


Thank goodness they still had coffee without water, iced coffee too!

For two days in Cartagena there is no water! It happens for two days every week. Could you imagine your life without water for two days? How much more would you appreciate water? In the restroom you have to manually flush them with buckets of water which made me think so much more about how much water I consume; even cooking is not possible without it!

On another note today I am in a cafe planning my next mural. I want it to be a city scape yet flowing abstract piece of Cartagena. I am traveling around the city taking pictures of the buildings I want to draw and starting in the morning. Who knew I would be sitting in a cafe, drinking my favorite cup of coffee, sketching and preparing material for a huge mural in a gorgeous house that over looks the sea in downtown Cartagena. I dreamed this dream and now it is real. When do I wake up?

Cartagena Ultimo


She is carrying coconut with different types of dulce fuits! Sugar heaven!

“A fairy-tale city of romance, legends and sheer beauty, Cartagena is the most beautiful city in Colombia, with cobbled alleys, enormous balconies shrouded in bougainvillea, and massive churches casting their shadows across leafy plazas.

Door Knockers in Cartagena

Founded in 1533, Cartagena swiftly blossomed into the main Spanish port on the Caribbean Coast and the gateway to the north of the continent. It attracted pirates and, in the16th century suffered five sieges. ” -Lonely Planet

I am staying in the Media Luna district, at the Media Luna Hostel. There are many bars, stunning architecture and cheap places to eat. Many people claim that Cartagena is expensive, however you can always find cheap places to eat. I love it here!

Colombia Dia 76


I have been in Colombia 76 days and thought I would start counting the days. I spoke with my Dad last night and I agree with him in that when you experience new things and places to go your idea of time is quite different than what you think of in normal life. No routine, always meeting new people and my life is always changing. I have never experienced anything like this.

I am feeling like I am finally getting to a point in my travels where I have enough experience to really start making strides and travelling in a cost effective and more intelligent way. For example cooking in hostels: people always say it’s cheaper. It isn’t! Unless, you really take time to figure out what you are going to buy, how you are going to use every single thing you purchase, and count out how many times and meals you will make to use everything in an efficient way. I think someone should make a cook book for hostels because I see a lot of people buying groceries like they are going back to their own personal home. You never use everything and sometimes you have to travel with food to make it worthwhile to eat that way. Sometimes it’s cheaper to go to the corner restaurant and purchase a pizza or menu of the day that is less than 3 dollars.

Antoher thing I have learned with time: don’t always listen to hostels advice on travelling, don’t always believe what other travelers say about a place, and if you really want to learn about a city or place you just have to go there yourself and experience it. Also there is always, always, always a cheaper way to travel than what you guide book says. I also have learned to not go on the same route that a lot of travel companies, busses and guide books tell you are a better way to go. Very interesting travelling can be cheap, easy, and way more fun if you don’t follow the normal route.

I have been thankful enough to stay for free and eat for free. In return, I cannot stand paying for thigns that I think are too overpriced, even if they may not be in terms of Untied States mentality, my mind is officially in the Colombian way of thinking. For example, I went to Playa Blanca yesterday, arguably the most popular tourist destination in Colombia. Everything was overpriced! However, I knew this and spoke with certain vendors and explain to them that I have been travelling as an artist, don’t have enough money, appreciate their service, and negotiate with them a fair price. Even if it’s the difference of 8 mil a night for a hammock (4 USD) and getting them to give it to me for 4 mil (2 USD) a night, it really does make a difference if I am going to be travelling for a year!

I keep thinking that I need to leave Colombia, like I need to get out because people just don’t stay in one place this long! Yet I constantly need to remind myself that I am travelling intelligently, that not everyone paints, and that the slow route is in fact better to get to know a culture. My hopes for the rest of my travels is that I may get to do a mural with someone, that I will meet a friend I can travel with for longer than 4 days and that I meet a community that is more like minded as I am of artists and down to earth people. All sorts of people travel and all sorts of people exist in this world. I am determined to find one that is more like what I am striving to become in my life. I know it exists, and I have a lot of time to find it. However now I feel ready and open!