San Juan

Trip Start Dec 14, 2013
Trip End Dec 22, 2013

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Flag of Puerto Rico  ,
Thursday, December 19, 2013

We set our alarm for 6:30 but we were up before that. We watched us come into San Juan from our balcony.  We got dressed and went to breakfast and were ready to head into San Juan for a day on our own about 7:30.  We walked west along the Marina.  We saw a CVS and Erin got some Advil.  We walked until we came to Paseo de la Princesa a walkway on the way to Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro.  We walked under a canopy of trees to a beautiful fountain on the edge of the bay.  Then we headed more north passing banyan trees and statues and flowers.  We came around a corner and could see San Juan Gate which took us into Old San Juan.  We walked up a quaint tree-lined street and came to a small plaza with some interesting sculptures that looked like a conglomeration of different animals.  We saw one of the same statues in another plaza.  I was beginning to wonder if I was in Puerto Rico or Spain because we saw a Tapas Bar, a bull on a Spanish flag, and the architecture was very similar.  At the top of the plaza was the San Juan Cathedral which was small but still very beautiful.  Everything was all decorated for Christmas. We walked to the Plaza de Armas where we sat for a bit and it rained a little bit.   

We went back down to the city wall and back to the gate where we got Piragua that Emily recommended.  It was great.  It was very humid and hot and even misted off and on making it more humid.  From there we walked along the wall around a small point to El Morro which is out on a larger point of land.  We went to the entrance and wished we had brought our National Park passes as it is run by the Park Service.  We got a ticket to get into both forts.  Inside we saw the lighthouse, the triangular staircase, various rooms and storage areas, and great views of San Juan Bay.  We then walked to Castillo San Cristobal.  On the way we saw the Cemetery of Maria Magdalena de Pazzis , the Bastion and the Embrasuras Troneras. 

Inside the fort we saw many levels to explore.  We headed for the top level for the views.  At this point we were very close to the Glory.  We got great views of the coast and Old San Juan.  On the other levels we saw tunnels, the dungeon and lots of storage rooms.  When we left the fort we walked to the Plaza Colon with a statue of Christopher Columbus and lots of Christmas decorations.  Then we went into some souvenir stores and Erin found a magnet of the flag of Puerto Rico.  We walked back through Old San Juan and found a place to have a bite to eat, a tapas bar called Triana.  There was a girl dressed in a Flaminco dress.  We went in and she told us the building was the first US bank in San Juan.  We ordered a chorizo sausage dish and croquettes.  When they brought it out they brought octopus instead of the croquettes.  So we ate the chorizo dish first and then they brought the ham croquettes.  When we left we walked back toward the ship until we came to a place we could walk down to the marina.  It wasn't long until we were waiting in line to get back on the ship. 

When we got back on board we collapsed on the beds with very tired feet.  Erin went and watched the Sail Away on Lido.  We blogged until it was time to go to the spa.  Erin got a pedicure and I got a manicure as all of our activity had ruined our nails.  We went too supper and sat with a couple from LA.  We had the same waiters as the first night and they were slow.  We were ready to leave and eat on Lido when our waiter came.  Erin and I both had the Port of Call appetizer, pork with cilantro and lime juice which came with fried plantains which were way to crisp.  It was okay for me but Erin didn’t like it.  I ordered the Port of Call entrée, red snapper and a side of roasted broccoli and carrots.  The snapper came with potatoes, sweet and regular, which were done al dente, a little undercooked.  Erin got a grilled chicken breast with macaroni and cheese as a side.  We skipped desserts.  So far I have to say that I am not impressed with the food at any of the meals. 

Since there was no piano bar tonight we decided to go to the lobby to hear a guitarist from Australia, David Lazarus.  He was really good and played a mix of music but mostly pop rock both classic and contemporary.  We sat and blogged while he played.  I got one blog posted and then didn’t have internet.  He played for about an hour, then we went back to the room and talked about choices for tomorrow.  We are probably going to do different activities on Grand Turk as Erin wants to do another Catamaran and Snorkel and I don’t.  Then we went to bed.

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