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Second class citizens

We have house guests at the moment - some of Maggie's family and their lovers. Generally all we've done is to walk, eat and drink with the occasional museum stop to imitate cultural longing.

Yesterday we boarded the Tourist Boat for a gentle tootle around the harbour. It's a while since I've been on the boat so I was a bit surprised when there was no recorded "to the left the such and such fort and to the right the old fisherman's quay" - commentary. It used to come first in Spanish and then in English but now all is silence.

Anyway we stopped at Fuerte de la Navidad - Christmas Fort. Non Spanish speakers were directed one way and Spanish speakers another. We got to see an English language film extolling the virtues of Cartagena and then we were left to stroll the fort at leisure. As we walked and nosed I realised that the Spanish speakers were getting a detailed introduction to the fort. I joined in. Interesting stuff I thought. Lots about the development of coastal defences in general and about the Cartagena fortresses and batteries in particular including the story of  the sinking of the Castillo de Olite.

When I caught up with Maggie she was reading a notice about the latrines in the fort and the development of 19th Century public health. The notice was in English.


  1. Hi! I am moving to Cartagena for 8 months beginning in mid-September. I was wondering if you could write a post about the culture and demographics of the different neighborhoods?

    Great posts!



  2. Hi: I'm hardly the person to write about the demographics or culture of the different neighbourhoods but if you're asking about nice areas to live then I can have a stab. You have to bear in mind it's like asking what sort of food I like. The list can be as long or as short as you like and no matter how much I love liver you may not.

    Cartagena is mainly made up of slightly down at heel but respectable neighbourhoods - places like Barrio Peral, Los Barreros, Los Dolores, Barrio de la Concepción etc. There are tens of them. Places that I was told to avoid include Lo Campano and maybe Santa Lucia (though I know people who think the liveliness of Santa Lucia makes it a great community) The problem is though that what's a "conflictive" area and what's really nice can be one street apart. For instance we live in the City Centre and it's great but maybe 300 metres away are parts of town that are really run down. On a map they would appear to be the same area but they are quite different. Nonetheless I know a high powered executive who chose to buy a flat there because he loved the building and says he never regretted the choice - some of his colleagues think he's mad

    Popular areas include Santa Ana which is a village maybe 8kms away from the centre, La Vaguada, Tentegorra and the area called Ciudad Jardin which is the area around Corte Inglés. Lots of people like that because it is within walking distance of the city centre, has good facilities but is a reasonably newly developed area. Of course lots of people choose to live further out of town on the coast or on the Mar Menor - it depends what you consider to be a reasonable travelling distance.

    If that's not what you wanted search me out on Facebook and make a friend request and we can talk that way.

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