Thursday, September 4, 2014

Destination: Cartagena

On Sunday afternoon, we packed our bags for the Caribbean beach city of Cartagena.  We needed a little get-away as our days have become a little monotonous.  Normally when we go to the beach each summer, we have gobs and gobs of stuff, but we all five crammed our stuff into two small carry-ons and a backpack!  All I forgot was the girls' pajamas.  Oops!

Monday morning, Reuben picked us up and drove us to the airport.  Samuel was in awe of the fact that he would get to fly in an airplane.  Going through security was a little difficult since we travel with his birth certificate and a signed document stating he is in our custody.  Other than that, the travel was a breeze.  Samuel loved the airplane.  He grinned from ear to ear, and every little thing was amazing to him.  It was precious to watch.  Lilly Grace has always been a breeze to travel with, and she did excellent.  Alex, who is usually not the easiest traveler, also acted like a pro. The flight was less than an hour, and the taxi to our condo was under ten minutes.

The condo had a great view of the ocean, the bay, and the city.  It was quite lovely, except there was no hot water. Let's be honest, its nearly impossible to shave your legs (girls) or your face (guys) in cold water, so Brent and I came back from the trip harrier than when we left.  I can't wait to remedy that! After a nap, we donned our swimsuits and headed to the pool that overlooked the beach from the 8th floor.  We threw swimmies on the kids, but didn't even think to ask Samuel if he had ever been swimming before.

It was quite evident it was his first time in a pool. Even with swimmies, he had no idea how to keep his face, mouth, and nose above water.  It broke my heart that a nearly 5 year old child had never gone swimming!  After a few quick lessons in kicking, blowing bubbles, holding your breath and such, he was able to hold his own for a few minutes at a time.  It was incredibly impressive how fast he learned.  The girls had a grand time as well, and swam like fish until it was time to get ready for supper.  It was so fun watching all three kids have such a good time playing, jumping, and swimming.

We walked to supper at a local traditional Colombian restaurant.  Every time we go anywhere new, or go out to eat, or sit down for dinner, Samuel suddenly has the urge to go potty.  Every. Single. Time.  We are finally learning to make him go before we go anywhere.  Of course, dinner started out with a potty trip, followed by crocodile tears.  Samuel cries pretty easily, but especially if he is hungry.  I totally feel his pain.  I despise being hungry!  Truth be known, sometimes I want to cry, too when I am hungry.  Some chocolate milk certainly helped his growling belly.  The food was good, and we had a good time as a family.  The freshly made arepa was the best.

The following day we headed to the beach.  This is assuredly not Destin, but it was still lovely in its own way. The sand is brown, but much easier to walk in.  It also has some shimmer to it.  The water is calmer and shallow for a good ways out, which is ideal for kiddos.  As soon we stepped foot onto the sand, vendors of all types swarmed upon us like vultures, selling clothes, coverups, massages, crabs, drinks, cabanas, homemade sunscreen, trips, boatrides, jewelry and much much more.  We did purchase a cabana and chairs for $5 and some beach toys for the kids.  Being token white folks, we really stuck out.  It is funny because people can't figure out why this brown little boy who speaks Spanish keeps calling us white people "mommy and daddy."

This was Samuel's first time at the beach; he loved it. Hearing the three kids giggle and play was so heart warming.  They were great!  There is no better music than the ocean roaring and kids laughing.  Our good Lord sure knew what he was doing with creation!

We walked to lunch and something remarkable, maybe even miraculous, happened.  Following of course a trip to "el baño," Samuel ate an entire piece of pizza!  He's coming around.  After our meal, we headed upstairs to a play area for kids.  They used up tons of energy and were all drenched in sweat.  These Colombians sure know how to make play areas for children!  The remainder of the day was filled with naps, playing inside, dinner, and ice cream.  It was a rainy, thunderstorming evening, and we got home quickly after supper.

Our last day was our favorite.  We spent the morning at the beach, had lunch, napped, then went on the most fun adventure. We took a taxi to the old Walled City of Cartagena.  It was built by the Spaniards some 400+ years ago.  It houses one of the three oldest churches in the western hemisphere and is absolutely gorgeous.  We walked around, had supper, then took a horse and carriage ride around Old Town.  It was magnificent.  Samuel didn't stop smiling the entire time.  It really seemed magical.  The architecture is very Spanish but regal looking.  It was a romantic area, and Brent and I could have walked for hours.  It brought me back to our honeymoon in Venice, except now there are three adorable munchkins tagging along. 

Cartagena was a blast.  Though we missed out on Samuel's first words, first time walking, surgeries, and many other firsts; witnessing his first plane ride, pool, and beach were pretty incredible experiences.  We are glad to be back in home sweet home Medellin, where everybody smiles, the temperature is great, and we have hot water!

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