Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Vacation, Value and Visualization: Cartagena, Columbia December 2017

I was very lucky to vacation with my extended family in Cartagena, Colombia during part of the cold snap happening in Chicago. It was a wonderful 8 days of warm weather, family bonding and an opportunity to unplug, (OK not TOTALLY unplug but for the most part unplug). It is so important to spend time together as a family and just hang out. Our family realizes how fortunate we are to have this opportunity to take advantage of the time to have conversations.  

Why Cartagena?  No, it is not dangerous, (anymore) and no there were no drugs present at anytime.  We did take advantage of happy hour on the beach a few times and one or two times by the pool.   We picked Cartagena because it was warm, NOT too far away and an old city for us to explore.  

The city of Cartagena, known in the colonial era as Cartagena de Indias is a major port founded in 1533, located on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Regio.  The people are very friendly and we had 2 guides to take us on walking tours both of whom were very knowledgeable about the city and history.  I always compare everything to an Israel trip and just like in Israel Guides in Columbia are licensed and very knowledgeable.   We enjoyed learning about the walled city in Cartagena (my family members were nonplussed when I announced that they could celebrate Purim for 2 days in the old city because of the wall) and seeing the The Palace of Inquisition which is was finished around 1770, and currently serves as a museum showcasing historical artifacts from the Inquisition was very interesting. It does mention Jews who of course were notoriously tortured in Spain but during these times and anywhere the Spaniards were in control. They also persecuted the indigenous population and anyone who was not a practicing Catholic. 

We also had 4 days at a resort on an island which was a 2 hour boat ride from the mainland.  It was lovely to relax, swim, snorkel, scuba dive by the sea.  Coming home to about a 100 degree change in the thermometer was not an easy transition.  I am thankful for time with my immediate family and my extended family. We were blessed to go away with 3 generations and not just come back in one piece but also having had fun just hanging out.  You don't have to go to Columbia to have fun with your family but I highly recommend that you put aside intentional time with your family; in the end it will be a value which I KNOW you can visualize!