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Travels with Alexandra and Donald

Colombia Travel: Castillo De San Filipe, Cartagena

Construction on this fort was started after Sir Francis Drake”s attack on the city in 1586. It began as a small fortification and after 150 years of construction, with the help of slave labor and a Dutch engineer, it eventually became the largest Spanish fort built in the Americas. Seen from below, it looks like a massive pile of stones ...

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La Popa Monastery, Cartagena, Colombia

La Popa translates into “stern hill” and this five hundred foot high mound, the highest point in Cartagena, reminded someone of the back end of a ship. The Augustinians built the monastery in 1607, commandeering the ground that had once been sacred to the Calamari Indians and from this vantage point, the church played a role in the defense of the ...

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Cartagena: Touring Outside the Walls – Basurto Market

With help from the hotel, we booked a half day tour of the city. Our tour guide was Nico Medez. Previously, he had worked with Sarah Woods, the author of the Bradt tour book on Colombia, and she had listed his name in her Acknowledgements. Receiving an imprimatur from Michael Palin, this book has been recommended over the Lonely Planet ...

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Cartagena, Colombia

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After crossing the mountains, high valleys and the broad plateaus of the interior, Donald and I headed for the Caribbean coast, the ground level for a country that seemed to tower above the sea. Our trip would continue with a total of seven nights in Cartagena, four nights in the Tayrona National Park and one night on Rosario Island. CARTAGENA: ...

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Horseback Riding Through the Valle del Risaralda

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JUAN MARTIN REDEEMS HIMSELF The mysterious man with the shovel was Juan Martin who, along with his wife, owned the tour company that had planned our excursions in the coffee region. According to Johnny, he did not speak English, maybe explaining why he never introduced himself to us. The third event in our trifecta was a “horseback journey through El ...

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Cambodian Journal, Part 4 – The Conclusion of Tuit

WEDNESDAY There were still a few issues to be arranged when Donald and I returned to the school and picked Tuit up as he waited for us by the gate. I wanted to make sure all was arranged at the restaurant but when we suggested lunch, he told us he had already eaten, so all was well there. We had ...

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Short stop in Hong Kong

As anyone anticipating the return to a lover or mistress, enough months had finally fallen off the calendar and by the latter part of December, Donald and I required only one hand on which to count the days to our departure. We were heading back, ready to add another year to our nine year long adventure in Cambodia. Thinking the ...

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Anlong Veng: The search for Ta Mok, Khmer Rouge Brother #5

BACKGROUND Ta Mok, Khmer for “respected grandfather” was born in Takeo, southeastern Cambodia. Scholars are not exactly sure of his birth date but it was between 1924 and 1926 and there is no agreement as to his real name. He earned “his bones” for ruthlessness as leader of the South West District and rose to become Brother #5 and commander ...

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Travels in Colombia: What’s for dinner?

Dinner in Colombia

If a city is lucky, it has a famous restaurant that is a major destination not only for the locals but for those visiting the city as well. In Bogota, this restaurant is Andres Carne des Res, the same restaurant the young man suggested in the immigration line. In 1984, to help pay for their college education, Andres and his ...

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Sunday in Bogota’s La Candelaria


We arranged through the hotel , The Charleston, for a half day city tour and when the guide came to pick us up early in the morning, we complained that the day was beginning damp and cold, not realizing at the time how precious a little cold could be. Our immediate destination was La Candelaria, the historic district centering around ...

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