In Cartagena I met Kay, a travel writer who introduced me to the rest of the group she was travelling with in Colombia. Led by Alan, and called the Colombian Connection Project, the concept of the journey was to change people’s perception of Colombia whilst acting as a catalyst for change. I joined the group on one of their journeys, exploring the island of Isla Grande. which forms part of the National Park of Corales del Rosario. This reserve comprises of a group of 30 coral islets, 45km southwest of the Bay of Cartegena. Kay and I decided to explore the island by canoe and glided pass red mangrove trees and into mangrove swamps. The trees are known as walking trees due to their long roots. It was very peaceful and idyllic.
Travelling back we journeyed via the Canal del Dique, built by the Spaniards in 1650 as a connection to the Magdalena River, which served as a route to the interior of the continent. The evening was spent in the stylish surrounds of the Santa Clara Hotel, a former church and monastery, and the setting of the story ‘Of Love and Other Demons’ by Gabriel García Márquez. A gold, shimmering wall hanging entranced us, the artist of the work being Olga de Amaral. I was to encounter other pieces of her work during my travels and each piece was as beautiful as the last, very textural and woven.