If you love plenty of history, come to Cartagena. The place is packed with stuff from the past, and I think for a reason. It all started with the Punic name Qart-hadašt, which became under roman influence Carthago Nova, Carthago Spartaria, and finally Cartagena.
I speak of a thousand-year-old city on the shores of the Med, where Hannibal battled the Africans. Like in many other histories of battles here, the ancient Carthaginian general had a good reason since Cartagena is a natural port and is of strategic value in the Med with short distances to France, the Balearics, Italy, and Gibraltar.
Because of Brexit and the pandemic, we didn’t have to battle for a berth, could choose almost as we pleased, booked for thirty days, and paid nearly half the price.
Lately, we have missed our beloved hiking tours. The surrounding mountains looked too good. We put plenty of water in the backpacks and went up to a fortification overlooking the marina entrance.
With a good thirty degrees and perfect blue skies, we steeled our natural immune system that day. Here and there, I had the impression that possibly the last viruses in our noses, if any at all, caught a glimpse of the steep path, quickly went belly up, and fell on the trail. Since a few always make a getaway, they hopped out of our bodies and promptly disappeared into the shadows of one of the few withered grass bushes. Things are really fucked up for the viruses, as they had a bad experience with crickets, which roasted them without further ado.
As a wise person, you will probably think, why this nonsense. Before you impute me too much fantasy, let me say the sun grilled not only the bloody viruses but also two sailors on the way to a three hundred meters high mountain top, and so did three young ladies with the same destination. Well, the ladies were bright, took pictures of each other halfway, and turned around – impossible thinking for sailors with a day mission. Eventually, we made it and got rewarded with sweeping views of the stretch of the coast.
On the way back, we took a different route close to a large cemetery and a church. The play of light and shadow of the setting late afternoon sun made the place inviting. The headstones faced west and shone so brightly that no church painting could have portrayed it better. I liked the idea that the gravestone reflected the light on the deceased and kept the shadow behind. I don’t know if I was already deluding myself with considerations of high contrast photos in black and white or didn’t look properly at the cemetery. In any case, when the sun was low, we stood in front of high walls and could only catch a few glimpses.
That’s the trick, I thought. Once resting here, the church dazzles you in light and promises heaven. When it comes down to it, you find yourself surrounded by a wall. My ashes rather stay at sea.
The cemetery is right in front of an impoverished part of Cartagena with Read More