One of the greatest benefits of traveling freely is experiencing divine moments outside of my specific plans (#Godmoves). And although I don’t particularly prefer to visit the same place multiple times, I believe that each time I experience a place, even if I’ve visited before, it’s in divine order. I had a strong feeling that visiting Cartagena for a second time would present something new and necessary (greater insight), and it did!
I knew from my previous visit in 2018 that I would start with a visit to Casa Abba. In fact, I reached out to the owner of Casa Abba, Monica Gil Barcelo, to ask whether I could interview her to understand more of her journey to opening Casa Abba! It’s beyond cute and inspirational — so much so that I’d make it my first stop in Cartagena during this visit.
Before returning to Cartagena, I’d also seen information about San Basilio de Palenque and considered whether to visit. Palenque is about an hour southeast of Cartagena, and is known as having the largest concentration of African/black people in Colombia. Read an insightful and inspiring write-up by a Scribe Called Quess on Palenque here. Below is an excerpt:
“The village holds the distinct title of being the only one with solely pure African people in its makeup. These are people descended directly from the original Africans imported to the city in the 1500s. Colombians call people like this Negras Negras. And it’s just like it sounds: Black on Black (on Black). As in, these are the original Africans who have never mixed with any other racial groups in the country, from the Spanish colonizers to the First Nations Indigenous. In other villages you’ll have a mix of African and Mestizos, Zambos and/or Mulattos (more on all those subgroups later), all of which ostensibly fall under the umbrella of “Black” which is probably why my tour guide said the city is 79% Black. But in Palenque it’s all black — pure Black, so Black in fact they’ve got a phrase for it. “Toa nello melo” or “the Blacker the better.”
So that was the extent of my pre-planning: to revisit Casa Abba and interview its owner Monica, and possibly visit Palenque; I'd simply let Spirit guide the rest.
And oh, what a beautiful journey it was: Cartagena 2.0. There wasn’t a single dull moment!
Discovered there was an HBCU Alum Takeover starting the day I was set to leave
Met Alessandro & Angel - bought cutesy "A" bracelet w: heart
Interview with Maria Rivera of Pirawe
Met a new friend at Vibes (went as part of HBCU Alum Takeover Weekend)
Being locked out my Airbnb overnight
Visit to Palenque (as part of HBCU Alum Takeover Weekend Cartagena)
See Yaa, Cartagena 2.0!