I arrived in Cartagena late at night, desperately in need of a wash and some sleep. I struggled again finding a hostel with a vacancy and ended up taking one right at the bottom end of the market. It was by far the dirtiest room I had stayed in. There were lots of suspicious looking stains on my sheets. I used a t`shirt as a pillow case and didn`t move all night for fear of a part of my body coming free from my sleeping bag (which I had cocooned myself in) and touching the sheets. I moved to a new hostel the next day and then explored the city. A large part of Cartagena, and the majority of the colonial buildings, are surrounded by a huge wall that was constructed in the 16th century. It is really pleasant within the walls. However, it is very touristy and there is obviously a lot of money in the area. But it is a cool place to go in the evening to watch the various street performers or just people watch whilst having a beer. The rest of Cartagena, outside the walls, is a bit run down.
There is a mud volcano (Volcan de Lodo el Totumo) near to Cartagena that you can bathe in. It was one of those quirky things that I thought would be good to do. It was a bizarre feeling, the mud was really buoyant. In the nearby lake there were women offering to wash the mud off you for a small fee. You don`t really get a choice, they just grab you and start pouring buckets of water over you. When they have cleaned the parts you can see they then insist that you take your shorts off so they can clean the rest, and they start trying to do so. I politely declined. Had she been younger and better looking and not a large middle aged woman I may have gone along with it, just for the experience obviously!