We had no idea the rare gem we had mined when we chose San Juan, Puerto Rico as a lay-over between home and our ultimate destination, Antigua; our only interest was in finding a flight that would get us to the island during daylight hours.
Talk about hitting the jackpot when you weren’t even playing the lottery…!
My husband, once again relying on his "go-to friend in the travel business", took time to research the perfect place to spend the night in San Juan. He intentionally avoided the coastal resort high-rises since most of our anniversary trip was going to be ocean front. Because we considered our "real" trip was to begin once we were in Antigua, neither one of us gave much thought to the city of San Juan itself.
If we had, we might not have ever made it to Antigua.
The majority of our time was spent in Old San Juan, at 465 years old, the second oldest city in America (Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and it hadn’t occurred to me before visiting that our president is their president). The architecture of the buildings–some dating back to the 16th century– combined with colorful renovation bring this ancient city to LIFE! The seven-block area is paved with cobbled adoquine, blue stone cast from furnace slag; even the streets are works of art. I couldn’t help but make a mental comparison to "Rainbow Row" in Charleston, SC, but the buildings were even more colorful and more beautiful than those!
Streets are well-signed and maps are easy to follow; even directionally- impaired people–like ME–could find their way around.
Every local we met–cabbie, bellman, waiter–insisted we visit El Morro, a six-story fortress constructed between the 1500s-1700s. Situated on 75 acres, the massive structure overlooks a stunning view of San Juan Bay. With walls 18-feet thick, it’s a maze of tunnels and dungeons and barracks and outposts…and it’s difficult to imagine the reason it was originally built. In a word, it’s amazing.
Seeing the old cannons is an instant reminder that blood was shed here. I wonder if more people were killed firing the big guns than being hit by them….
Maybe that’s why they needed instructions–
Some of the views make you dizzy…
Everything they needed was right there…it was kind of like Vatican City, I suppose, except their goal was to keep people out. Wait a second, what’s the goal of Vatican City?
This is me calm, cool and collected at El Morro.
Well…….that’s not exactly true. Although I’m sure I was calm, I don’t know what "collected" means, and at 96 degrees and 159% humidity, I was wringing wet. Yep, there wasn’t anything lady-like about it, don’t let the skirt fool ya. There was no "glowing", no perspiring…I was sweating like a pig.
Which begs the question, do pigs really sweat? Exactly how was that expression derived?
See? This is how I think, how I write, how I clean, how I shop, how I do EVERYTHING! Total stream of consciousness, bunny trails galore, ai yi yi, and I’m not even finished with Puerto-flippin’-Rico!
But if I’m not mistaken, stick-a-fork-in-this-post, it’s DONE!