Saturday, December 29, 2012

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Our port stop in San Juan was from 1 to 8pm.  My parents went off first and we stayed on with the kids for nap time.  I wandered up top the ship to get a few pictures in the daylight.

One of the Disney ships was in port next to us, the Fantasea.  They had a pretty sweet looking waterslide on the top of the ship...

My view of Fort San Cristobal from the front of the ship.

After my parents came back my mother-in-law, Cory, and I got off to see what could be seen in 2 hours... We actually got a taxi van with a really nice driver.  I think his name was Marvin Maldonado.  I'm sure on the last name as I went to school with some boys with that name, but I can't remember the first name for sure...

Cory wore his headband from Club Hal the night before so he was easy to spot...

Anyway, I had fun practicing my Spanish and I got maybe 60% of what he said.  He was giving us some history of the city so it was a bit hard to follow without a lot of context/pre-knowledge.

We said we wanted to go to the Fort San Cristobal, but he took us to El Morro instead.  Both of them closed just as we would have gotten there and I think he thought we would have better views from El Morro.  I have to admit, it was pretty spectacular!

While we didn't really get to go inside it was fun to walk around and think about this history that was there...

I don't get much time with just Cory so it was a good excursion for us even if it was getting dark and we had very limited time.

We visited El Catedral de San Juan Bautista - also sadly closed when we got there - which has the tomb of Ponce de Leon in it.

Then we turned around and walked down a pretty steep and narrow street to the only original gate to the city that is still standing.

A house along the way with Christmas decorations.

This was the gate that the dignitaries came in through.  The date on the door says 1749, but I either heard or read that it's not even the original door.  We don't have much history here that's that old so it's kinda cool.

Straight up through the gate and up the street is the church pictured above.

Walls to the old city, right on the shore.  Gate would be just out of the photo to the right.

Cory and Grandma in front of one of the giant trees there.  And the frogs were singing like crazy by this time!

Me and my silly son!

After this we went to one souvenir shop although it took me awhile to explain to the driver what I wanted because I couldn't remember the word for souvenirs.  Whoops!  He took us to a shop with native Taino crafts and we did find some cool stuff.  Cory picked out this mask called a vegigante.  They're made out of gourds traditionally and worn for carnival.  They all have horns of some kind which he thought was cool.  We just brought home a little souvenir one not a full size one though.

Then we took one last driving tour of a couple of streets (the square with a statue of Colon and the government buildings - they have a street with a bunch of US president statues on the sidewalk!) and then it was back to the ship.

Someday I would love to spend more than 2 hours in San Juan and/or Puerto Rico as a whole!  Brian and his dad did a rain forest zip line thing that took way longer than it should have due to some technical difficulties, but they got to see the tropical side of Puerto Rico.

Our bedtime turkey creation

And as we pulled out of port... the shoreline.  El Morro is to the far left, but it's a National Park and has no lights so you can't really see it. 

And that was Day 3...

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