Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cartagena: Mona Lisa

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I seem to be having a hard time getting started with my Cartagena posts, so I decided to start with something fun: the Mona Lisa Pub. Maybe they should have called it the Grumpy Lisa Pub. We passed this establishment several times but never found it open. No hours were posted either.

 

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 Mona Lisa featured in street art for sale as well. I'm really not sure if that's her in a state of undress or not. 

 

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So it would seem they have a tiny fascination for Mona. Who knows why!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Be Careful ...

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My photo with the words of someone else.

I saw this on a marquee for a dance studio in Wanaque as we were on our way to the airport last week. I thought it very apropos. 

Be careful …

We heard that over and over again when we told people we were going to Cartagena, Colombia. Some people reminded me of the movie Romancing the Stone which I guess was supposedly shot there. I need to watch it again since I don't remember that at all. Friends said be careful. My neighbor said be careful. The beautiful Colombian woman that was sitting next to me at the gate in Miama awaiting clearance from the thunderstorms said be careful after she had asked where we were going. I was definitely starting to get a bit paranoid. But, I reminded myself, none of those people except for the Colombian woman had actually ever been there before. They were going on what they assumed it was like.

It didn't help much either when I came downstairs on that first day and Paulina (the wife that led our morning tour) took one look at my "fancy" camera around my neck and suggested that I take something to keep the camera in and only take it out while actually taking photos. My heart sunk. Was it really that dangerous to go out? After spending four hours walking around the Centro on our little tour I was feeling much more comfortable. I didn't see anything that caused me to be fearful. Watchful, yes. Fearful, no. 

There were plenty of hawkers selling cheap goods and some of them didn't take no for an answer. Some needed to be told multiple times but I never felt threatened. There were always plenty of other people around on the streets.

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Plaza Santo Domingo


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The famous Botero sculpture in the Plaza Santo Domingo "La Gordita"

By Friday I was feeling confident enough to go out on my own. Armed with my camera bag, map, and kleenex for mopping the sweat from my brow I headed out to explore like a bold conquistador. I learned my way around the narrow streets and visited an interesting museum showcasing gold jewelry from as long ago as 500 b.c. that I would later take Rick to. The museum is also why I came back with one of the most gorgeous pieces of jewelry I have ever owned. (More on that later if you are interested. Do you want to see??)

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The clock tower on the city walls.

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Looking through the wall.

 We stayed within the old walls of the city and didn't venture out into "modern" Cartagena except to visit the fort San Felipe de Barajas. Things are decidedly rougher outside the walls and less clean. With so much beauty to be seen in old Centro we saw no real reason to venture out.

Our weather was wonderful. The most rain we had was on the day we arrived. Other than that we had a few sprinkles here and there and a few rumbles of thunder. My fears of tropical downpours like we had witnessed in Panama never materialized.

The food was superb, the people welcoming even though English was not widely spoken. I learned a few new words and realized that I can do pretty well reading a menu in Spanish. The wine was also good since Colombia taps into the wines from Chile and Argentina. We mostly ate fish—lots of camarón (shrimp) and ceviche. And, here is my pulpo (octopus). I know it looks daunting but it tasted like firm chicken. Not chewy at all and grilled to perfection. Delicioso!

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It was a great trip and I'm so very glad that I went. Life truly does begin at the edge of your comfort zone. So next time you're going to try the octopus, right?

Stay tuned, more to come on our trip!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Colombia, Here We Come!

We are off in the morning to Cartagena! 

Dogs are at the kennel and I am about to pack my bags. We have an early morning flight, arriving in Cartagena late afternoon via a change in Miami. It will be exciting to step foot on a whole different continent!

My plans are to blog at least a few times from vacation, so check back! 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

On The Border

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Going back into my archives again this week for the Rurality Blog Hop.

 

Somewhere along the border of Colorado and Wyoming, stands the old homestead. At least that's what I call it. We pass it every time going in to town from our cabin. If you look closely in the above photo you can just about make it out in the distance just above the gap between STATE and LINE on the border sign.

I don't know its story but I'm sure at one time it was a great place to live, sheltered as it is from the wind by the sandstone bluff behind it. It's obvious that they put in electricity at some point in time, but as they used to say long, long ago: beyond here be dragons. In other words, the electric stops at the state line of Wyoming and does not extend over the border to Colorado where our cabin is. (Our cabin is completely off the grid.)

 

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They had a wonderful view.

 

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 But every year it falls further and further into disrepair. I am always happy to see it still standing each year when we return on vacation. I think it has managed to maintain itself as well as it has due to the lack of humidity in this part of the country. The sage is taking over, the fences are falling down and I'm quite certain the pack rats have made it their new home.

 

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But I can still see its beauty. How about you?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Weekend in Connecticut: Part 2

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The old toll house next to the covered bridge in West Cornwall.

I just wanted to touch again on how state boundaries are funny things. Here in New Jersey we live within a few miles of the New York border. We are constantly going back and forth between the two states. You wouldn’t even know when you were in New Jersey or New York.

The border between New York and Connecticut was palpable. Not only did the countryside change, but the architecture did too. As I mentioned before, houses suddenly sprouted elaborate weathervanes, and were covered in shingle siding and plenty of wood. Large horse properties bounded by white fences were everywhere we looked. Private schools with beautiful stately old buildings and immaculately tended grounds were numerous.

Like I said before, it all read money with a capital M.

Chatting with the piano player in our hotel bar was interesting. I started up a conversation with him after listening to his rendition of “Riders on the Storm.” I couldn’t remember the artist (The Doors). He told us that Michael J. Fox had a house right down the road from there in Sharon; Meryl Streep lived in Salisbury; and Kevin Bacon had a place right around there too. Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

Now at odds with all that was the whole casual atmosphere. Maybe it was all those people from New York City playing at being “in the country” but we were over dressed compared to everyone else. I would not even think of going to a restaurant in my bathing suit and cover-up, I don’t care if it was outside patio dining! Yet we saw many people doing just that. Even in our fancier hotel restaurant people had on shorts or ratty jeans. Very strange. Maybe we were just seeing the “tourists” but I don’t think so because people seemed to know one another like they lived in the area.

The border between Connecticut and Massachusetts was also unmistakeable. Road signs changed immediately. Signs pointing to “Joey’s Auto Repair” and “Country Furniture Store” appeared on corners. These weren’t just signs that someone had put up, but actual street signs. We wondered if people living in Massachusetts were directionally challenged.

The best sign we saw in Massachusetts was before the town of Great Barrington. I wish I had snapped a photo of it, but the first time we were already past it, and the second time I missed it completely. It read “Thickly Settled.” Hmmm … thickly settled. We knew what they meant, but still we couldn’t help but get a visual image of a town with a muffin top around its middle!

The architecture changed again and now we saw many salt-box style houses that we didn’t see in Connecticut. It all looked more New England-y.

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Rick really enjoyed his two day course. It wasn’t about driving fast around a race track, but a course to achieve better and safer driving habits. They made them spin out on a wet track and learn how to recover from it, how to swerve to avoid hitting something and still maintain control. Practical things like that.

Another reason he took the course was to learn how to drive Ms Mia better.

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I tried my hand at panning and failed miserably at getting a truly clean image! But after my photo class yesterday I now know what I did wrong. No follow-through!!

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When class was over the instructors gave rides to the students on the autocross track to show them how a pro would do it. If you want to see the video, go to Rick’s blog here. It’s worth watching! The students drove the same course but at a much reduced speed. Rick later told me that they were also giving rides to the guests as well as the students and if I had come over I could have gotten a ride too. Since Rick thought it was a white-knuckle ride I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it!

On Saturday, I tried again to amuse myself. I had to check out of the hotel by noon so hanging out by the pool was out. Plus it was just too darned hot to do much of anything outside.

I drove back to Sheffield and Great Barrington again. I went in several antique shops (Sheffield seems to be the Queen city of antiquing!) and visited yet another covered bridge. This one is in Sheffield. Here is the Upper Sheffield Bridge.

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This one was rebuilt in 1998. Worth preserving!

I drove on up to Stockbridge (home of Norman Rockwell) but the town was so crowded, there was no place to park, and it was HOT and HUMID. I ended up just driving around in a circle and headed out of there.

I ended up back at the race track around 2:30 with lots of time on my hands until Rick was finished at four. I mostly just sat in the blissful air conditioned track house and read (oblivious of my opportunity to be scared silly). Maybe you think it was a waste of time, but honestly I had had enough driving around and heat for one day.

We drove home on a road I was hoping was the roller coaster road, but it wasn’t, so I can scratch that one off my list. I was disappointed. Next time we are in that area we’ll try a different one. It’s there somewhere. Trouble is, if I manage to find it will it really be the same as I remember?

About

Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved back to my 'home' state and I am living in NoCo (Northern Colorado).This blog will be about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2018 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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