Cartagena – Torture and Mud

We’ve been in Cartagena since last Sunday – it’s incredibly hot and humid and it took us a few days just to aclimatise and work up some energy. We were staying in the roughest area of the city, where all the drug dealers and pimps hang out, but they didn’t cause us any trouble when we told them “no gracias” to whatever they were selling. The old town, inside the city walls is very cute – old buildings, lots of metal sculptures and statues, horse-drawn carriages and people selling hats, necklaces and artwork on the street – great for people watching.

On Tuesday we went to the Museum of the Inquisition, which has a chair for weighing suspected witches and a list of the questions that were asked to them, such as:

– How long have you been a witch?
– What demons and people attended your wedding?
– What evils have you caused? To whom and how?
– How can you fly through the air?
– What worms and caterpillars/slugs have you created?

There were also plenty of horrible-looking instruments of torture, including; a rack, some kind of pincers for gouging genitals, a chair with a metal band around it which was tightened, crushing ribs and internal organs, a kind of head vice with saw-teeth on the edges of it and this double-ended fork which was strapped to the neck and meant the victim had to keep his head right back, or he would be impaled (not exactly Alexander-technique approved, Dad!)…

There was also a guillotine and gallows in the garden of the museum, which visitors could take silly pictures with – so we did! I should imagine anyone who’d been in the torture chambers would have been relieved to be hung or had their head chopped off – at least that would have been quick.

On Thursday morning we went to Vulcan Totumo, which is 50km outside of Cartagena and is a relatively small “volcano”, filled with mud that goes down 250m deep inside it. We all got into our bikinis/trunks and climbed up and into the warm mud pool at the top of the volcano. It’s a very strange experience, as the goop is so thick, you literally can’t sink or swim. We were all sort of suspended in this thick, warm stuff that looks and feels like chocolate custard.

The mud is full of minerals that are supposed to be very good for your skin, so we all slathered it on over our faces and bodies. There are men there who will massage you in the mud (for a tip) and another who looks after everybody’s cameras and somehow remembers whose is whose, in order to take pictures of us (again for a tip). Because the mud is so thick and covers everything, you don’t feel exposed at all, despite wearing next to nothing. It also means that, in order to move anywhere, you have to either find someone to help pull or push you through/over the mud, or grab hold of the nearest leg/shoulder/elbow and haul yourself along – there was no shyness in the mud pool! Ise completely submerged himself and it took 6 cotton buds to clear the mud out of his ears even after a wash in the lake and a shower…

We’re now in Bogota (looking several years younger post mud bath) and it’s much cooler than Cartagena because it’s higher above sea level, so my thermals are back in action.

More pictures here
Love Gude x

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12 Comments so far

  1. mum and dad C on September 12th, 2009

    You’d pay a lot for that at Ragdale!  I bet it was murder to get it out of your hair too. lovely to see the video. Love, Mum xxxxx

    Great blog and pictures again. You really are seeing the sights. How did you get from Cartagena to Bogota and how long did it take? Dad XX

  2. N 'n N on September 12th, 2009

    How would the masseur massage you – wouldn’t you have slipped through his fingers like the soap in the shower? I like the looking younger bit…..maybe I should come to Cartagena?

  3. Gude on September 12th, 2009

    i was careful not to put my hair in!  took a while to get it out of my bikini tho!  Cartagena to Bogota was less than an hour and a half flight, costing £60 for us both (about £10 more than a 20 hour bus journey) – Colombia’s version of Ryanair gives leg-room and free soft drinks and leaves on time  😎

  4. Gude on September 12th, 2009

    They are very experienced masseurs and they only charge a $1 tip, but I preferred Ise rubbing my feet  :-[
    There’s also a guy who rubs you down afterwards and he doesn’t get a tip – I think he has the best job there, though he spent alot longer rubbing the girls down than he did the men!  😉

  5. Karen & Jessica on September 12th, 2009

    Hi Unkey Ikey and Auntie Gude,
    Thank you ever so much for my birthday present, I wore the T-shirt today when I went out with mum.  I loved talking to you today – let’s do it again soon.  I didn’t recognise Unkey Ike in the mud.  Mum had to tell me who it was!
    Lots of love

  6. Gude on September 12th, 2009

    We are very glad that you like your pressie and loved talking to you today despite the dodgy connection!  Your reading is very good now – we were super-impressed  🙂

    Doesn’t Unkey Ikey look like a swamp monster in the pictures?!  The funny thing was that he smelt better than usual..! x

  7. Duncan on September 15th, 2009

    All those questions for witches are very apt and fair.  I’m going to have to hide my ant farm – otherwise I’ll be branded a Warlock, interrogated by Spanish pear technique and then burnt alive (if the Spanish pear doesn’t kill me). 

    They are talking about getting a wormery for the canteen here Gude!  I wanted to be the worm master, but that would be simply provide EVEN MORE incriminating evidence against me!!!!!!

  8. David on September 16th, 2009

    My goodness you have told us quite a few different torture stories now and I love the detail you enter in to with each one. I think you’ll be settling down to write your first horror story when you get back… You sure have enough material. Those poor witches. Hehe. I laughed and laughed at the vid of you climbing in to the mud and love your description of it as chocolate custard. Clearly the taste was quite different judging by Ise sptting it out on the fab pic of him. Didn’t happen scoop a jar for me for me to use in Rio did you? Getting fed up of ironing my face every morning… Can’t be good for the skin either! Hey, the boat trip sounded amazing and I am glad to hear it was a friendly shark that hubby came face to face with. With all this time spent in beautiful blue waters and making friends with all the sealife I think I will start calling you my little mermaid. Do miss you SO much but that’s just me being selfish. Love and a BIG hug to you both. Mwah. xxx

  9. Gude on September 17th, 2009

    Just don’t go flying round the office on your broomstick and you’ll be okay…  ;o)

  10. Gude on September 17th, 2009

    You don’t need any mud my lovely, just make sure you put on the factor 15 in Greenwich park!  😉
    Missing you lots too, but know you’ll have a ball in NYC and Boston and can’t wait to see your pics – enjoy!  😎  x

  11. Stine on September 18th, 2009

    Hello lovelies
    Well check you mucky pups out! I’m not sure I’d have gone the Ise route, though that is a most hilarious picture! And so much for spending a small fortune on Clarins stuff – bring me back a jar please. I need all the help I can get!
    Things are good here, though we’re missing you terribly. We’re going to start some serious house hunting soon, which is exciting!
    We’re in Sunday night (after Nick’s done his parachute jump!) if you guys can get to Skype. Let me know!
    Lots of love xxx

  12. Gude on September 19th, 2009

    Yes, that stuff is good on the butt, thighs, face and decolletage, but but not so great in the ears, eyes, nose or teeth!  😉

    V exciting about house-hunting and jumping out of planes – tell NickNick to be careful!  Will definitely try and Skype you, but we’ll be at Macchu Picchu on Sunday, so will have to try Mon or Tue instead…  Miss you guys lots x