buying, selling and living in cartagena

"All of my books have loose threads of Cartagena in them..and, with time, when I have to call up memories, I always bring back an incident from Cartagena, a place in Cartagena, a character in Cartagena." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez on the place where he grew up and began to write.

This city on Colombia's northern coast will forever be linked with the words and worlds created by the country's late favourite son. The books of 'Gabo', as he's affectionately known here, are actually Colombia's greatest export and it is not unusual for visitors overdose on their purity whilst in Cartagena. 

These are the streets and the people which inspired him and, when we picked up our cameras to wander through the old town and get under its skin, we set out to discover if the city could still lay claim to Marquez-esque personalities, or had it evolved into a more bland and generic affair with increased tourism every year. 

In short, were there still any 'characters in Cartagena'?

In our week there, we're certain we found a few. The white-haired man who sits patiently every day on the same wall of graffiti; the hidden Hemingway who buys his watermelons from the man on the corner; the rebellious youths on the corner and the fruit-seller, barefoot and tired, in the bikini shop window. Sassy young women and lecherous old men, children grown up too soon and splashes of colour everywhere bringing them all to life.

These are the people we saw; the people who buy, live and sell in old Cartagena.   








Who is your favourite Cartagena character above? Which is your favourite photo? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below. 

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