Rainshowers delayed my afternoon walk until evening.

So I fried up the last of the frozen empanadas and went out with a full tummy. One street led to another, until I found myself at the old city wall, but much further south than where I usually connect with it. So romantic at sunset!

  Lots of outdoor cafes, horsedrawn carriages and couples walking hand in hand. I felt a little like I didn’t belong… because I was alone, I suppose. But I pushed through that and mounted the wall. It’s very wide at this point, with exquisite views of the sea on one side and the city on the other.  

I’ve been told not to walk on the wall alone at night. I laughed when I heard that. “Dude, where I come from, no woman walks alone at night. Why would I start now?” But I’m wondering when ‘night’ begins here, and whether I can make it to where I’m headed before dark. So far, it feels very safe, so I stride off toward the north to see if I can connect with my familiar bit of wall.  

Eventually, I arrive at a very wide spot on the wall, wide enough to house an expansive bar/restaurant with outdoor seating! I think this must be the ‘Cafe Del Mar,’ I’ve seen it on the map.

The Cafe is picturesque and inviting. Sturdy wooden chairs and stools mingle among the canons, and there is a view of the sea and Cartagena skyline in the distance. Stunning in this magic hour just before dusk.  

  I decided to treat myself to a mojito and soak up the atmosphere and view.  

I found a barstool at the edge of the wall, with a heartbreaking view of the sea and the city. A constant warm breeze caresses me from head to toe, and cheesy music is playing (an electronic beat with violin and female vocalist singing cliched lyrics, something about shivers down her spine).  

I am struck by the incredible romance of the moment. I can’t help feeling like it’s ‘wasted’ because no one is here to share it with me —  I have to  continuously correct my own thoughts about that. An experience doesn’t need to be shared to be valid. My experience is freestanding and valid, dammit.

 I finally allow myself to sink into this beautiful moment, letting it exist without any tinge of sadness or loneliness. I gaze out at the view, smell the salty breeze, and sip my mojito with a hint of smile at the corners of my eyes.  

When I’m ready to go, dusk has already fallen and darkness is closing in but it’s still early. Although I haven’t been in this spot before, I’m certain the street I know is only five or six blocks ahead.  

As I walk, every cab driver is suddenly my uncle, all acting very concerned about me walking alone and trying to usher me into the safety of their vehicles. No, gracias, Tío. I got this.

Author

Lauren Haas is a nomadic freelance writer. She has been traveling the world, living out of a backpack, since May of 2013. Lauren has written regularly for CBS Local, WebPsychology, Hipmunk, and Hotelplanner, and has also been published in The Culture-ist, Matador, and other online and print publications.

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