Castillo San Felipe de Barajas // Cartagena, Colombia

Tuesday, March 31

Remember how I mentioned that Cartagena made me think I was on set in a "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie? Well, this fortress is one of the reasons why. Our very first day in Cartagena we walked from our hotel in Getsemani all the way to the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas {about a 20 minute walk or so}. 

Castillio San Felipe de Barajas is an iconic part of the Cartagena city scape. The fortress was built by the Spanish during the colonial era, construction beginning in 1536. It is built up on a hill, securing a strategic location to defend both sea and land attacks. 

When you arrive at the fortress, you'll purchase a ticket (around $7), and climb the multitude of stairs up to the top. What I really loved about the fortress was the many tunnels connecting different parts of the castle. This guaranteed that the soldiers could be hidden while defending the fortress. Kevin and I bought popsicles at the store at the top, and just enjoyed the amazing view of the city! The colorful buildings down below are the outskirts of the old historic city center, and the white high rises are the beginnings of the Boca Grande strip. What a contrast, right? 

I'd recommend visiting the fortress. It felt like such a part of the city and it's history. But, like many places in Cartagena, English exhibits are slim to none. Make sure you bring a guide book and read about the interesting history once you get to the top, or you can purchase an audio guide for an additional charge. 

If you missed our first day in Cartagena {i.e.: the most colorful city i've ever walked through!! } check it out here. Happy Tuesday friends! 

Sometimes you just need someone to hold you and speak the truth

Thursday, March 26

A few days ago a string of events occurred that left me feeling like I had just failed at life. I feebly fell into my car after work, drove home in traffic with tears streaming down my face, and slumped into the house. I dropped my bags, slid up the stairs, and threw myself on the bed curling up like a child. Kevin got home a few minutes later, came up the stairs, saw me a hot mess, and without a word, cuddled up beside me, wrapping his strong arms around me, kissing my wet face, and replacing the tears with his sweet kiss. When I calmed, he sat me up and asked me what was wrong. When I spewed out the events of my crummy day, he places his hands on my arms, looked me straight into the eyes, and started speaking truth into the lies that had absorbed my thinking.

Where I had seem myself a failure, he boldly defied the lie.
YOU are not a failure, YOU are loved and valued and matter.

Where I had scoffed at my mistakes,
he normalized that EVERYONE makes mistakes, and in the scheme of things, mine were minuscule and easily remedied.

Where I felt absolutely inadequate {especially in the area of my new career},
he reminded me that I am new to this career. That I am right where I need to be to succeed, and there is no way I could have all the answers right now. That I am in a learning phase, and that is perfectly where I should be.

Where I felt ugly,
he took his hands and cupped them around my face and told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever met {just like he does every time I feel this way}.

And in those moments of tender care and truth telling, the weight of my brokeness gave way to a crashing grace that filled every part of me. I needed truth to guide me. I needed truth to remind me of WHO I am. I needed truth to give me a wider perspective. And thank you Jesus that I have a husband who guides me in the ways of the holy one. That reminds me of my infinite value, and reminds me that I was uniquely knitted and formed, and reminds me that I don't have to be perfect.

Kevin's love and truth are just a small extension of the grace and magnitude of God's love. That God is so fully for us, even when we crash and burn. His LOVE is so deep and wide and healing. It takes our crushed spirit and breathes new life. He is so kind. 

And that's what I needed a few days ago, and really, every day. Truth. It's where it's at.

Happy Thursday friends…praying you feel God's truth about WHO you are, and WHOSE you are! 

Cartagena, Colombia {Day 1}

Tuesday, March 24

If you're searching for a colorful Caribbean destination in South America, look no further than Cartagena, Colombia. From the minute we stepped off the plane, we knew we weren't in Ecuador anymore!

 When we were planning our trip to South America, I couldn't get Cartagena off my mind. I was so mesmerized by the colorful colonial city of Cartagena that I convinced Kevin we needed to go there after our stint in Ecuador. Lovingly, he obliged, and we are both glad we added this spirited city to our itinerary!

Cartagena is like no where else i've ever been. There are so many parts to the city, something for everyone. If you like city life, head into the old colonial walled city {"old town"} and be absolutely mesmerized by the gorgeous architecture and history. If you like tranquil beaches, there are tons of little islands to choose an all day destination trip that will plop you smack dab under a palm tree at the foot of crystal clear waters. If you like to party, well…there's Boca Grande (the Miami Beach of Columbia, complete with high rise buildings, and clubs galore). And if you're into military history, check out the fortresses lining the walled city.

Our first day in Cartagena we walked into "Old Town", which is was absolutely magical! {Make sure to visit both during the day and at night…they have a different vibe, equally beautiful!}. Horse drawn carriages clip clop down the cobblestone streets, and women with fruit on their heads smile wide beckoning you to eat their mangos! At night, the whole city is lit up in twinkly lights and there are street performers and lovers walking hand in hand. I may actually prefer old town at night, as it was just so romantic:)

We hiked up on the old wall, and followed the path all around the ocean. Then we headed to the main fortress in Cartagena, called Castillo San Felipe de Barajas {which you can see our pictures and read more about here}. After the fortress, we headed back to our hotel, and then ate dinner in Boca Grande. I will have to be honest and say I wasn't a huge fan of Boca Grande, therefore there are no pictures from there! Whoops!

Enjoy the pictures!! And maybe think about adding Cartagena to your next trip to South America! Coming up will be our time at the fortress, our day at the beach, and more pictures of the old city!!