Cartagena de Indias may be chock full of tourists but for me it was still a fairy-tale city. In the UNESCO World Heritage walled colonial city every turn breaths an atmosphere of romance and legends. I would scan the Caribbean sea from atop the battlements, half expecting to sight a pirate ship about to attack. The historical legacy of Cartagena is still very much alive today, creating a richer, more enticing environment for it.
If money is tight Fremantle’s bohemian atmosphere make it a great destination by Australian standards. This compact city can accommodate backpackers even on the tightest budget. Here are my top 10 cheap ideas ranging from completely free activities stretching to bargain $10 prices.
Fishing Boat Harbour
Take a stroll along the boardwalk at Freo’s working harbour, home to hundreds of fishing vessels. Enjoy the waterfront lined with restaurants and find the statue of Bon Scott from AC/DC. In winter keep warm with a bag of hot chips, just keep an eye out for the hungry seagulls!
Fremantle Prison is Western Australia’s only UNESCO World Heritage listed building. Built using convict labour in the 1850s, the prison was in use up until 1991. That means you may be lucky enough to be given a tour by a former guard or even to be joined by a former prisoner. I was given an extremely informative and entertaining tour through the maze of courtyards and cells by guide Matthew, giving an insight into prisoners’ lives within Fremantle Prison.
I have a tendency to wander around graveyards. Reading epitaphs can give away much about a place, its people and history. It may seem like a morbid activity but cemetery’s aren’t really the dark, scary settings from horror stories but rather memorials to life and individuals’ achievements. In fact Fremantle has designed a signposted trail around its cemetery highlighting notable and notorious Western Australians for who this is their final resting place. As part of the Heritage Festival I took a guided tour of Fremantle Cemetery, including a few speeches by the ‘residents’ themselves!
I spent a month in the city of Cuenca in the highlands of Ecuador. Its centre is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to an abundance of beautiful colonial buildings. However, even looking away from the city at the surrounding imposing mountains may leave you awe-struck. Here are my top recommendations for a day or two in Cuenca.