Colombia Gold – Sunday Times

Via Marcela’s Colombia Travel Blog, I heard about an article positively speaking of Cartagena and upon a search, I couldn’t locate a direct link, but I did find a PDF, which I’ll both upload (in case it disappears) and link to. What follows are the first three paragraphs…

“When I was 10, I worshipped Sir Francis Drake: buccaneer, explorer, scourge of the Spanish Armada — a man who could dance the pavane in a ruff and a codpiece without blushing. He seemed to have it all.

In the taxi in Cartagena, on the way to The Greatest Spanish Fortress in the New World, I made the mistake of mentioning Sir Francis to the driver. We almost drove into a ditch. According to Pedro, El Draque was a man of dubious parentage whose true calling was something in the septic-tank line.

“I will show you a hero,” Pedro said. “I will show you Blas de Lezo. Drake wasn’t worthy to be his cabin boy.” The fortress, the 17th-century Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, was the pride of the Spanish Main. It was said to be impregnable. It sits above the old walled city of Cartagena like a turtle shell, its slopes offering little to the cannon sights of approaching ships. Pedro was breathless about the cost — 254 tons of gold he kept repeating, swivelling in his seat to check that I was taking this in, as two children skipped out of danger a few yards ahead of us.” – Sunday Times (by Stanley Stewart)


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