Old San Juan

Monday, July 13, 2015
Having slept for 12 hours, Jordan and I awoke at 7 a.m. with vigor for life! We sprung out of bed, and headed down to breakfast. We were treated to a complimentary breakfast from the hotel, and it was pretty good. Breakfast runs from 7-9 a.m., with the lightest traffic at 7 a.m. Upon entering the line, we were asked how we wanted our eggs, as a chef cooked them up for us. We then were able to choose from a buffet style assortment of pancakes, fried potatoes (which were amazing), sausage and bacon. We then moved down the line and picked up some donuts. Being a self-proclaimed donut enthusiast, I feel pretty confident in saying that these were some of the best donuts I’ve ever had. They are made fresh at the hotel and are sprinkled (and by sprinkled I mean drenched) in sugar. You pick that donut up, and sugar delicately crumbles off of it, reminding you of the deliciousness that you just consumed.
We awoke to a beautiful sunrise. I love our view
After eating, we returned to our room, and got ready for the adventure of the day. We were anxious to explore Old San Juan. The roads in Puerto Rico are really confusing, so I’m incredibly thankful that Jordan’s phone was able to connect to the Internet so we could utilize the GPS. We parked our car in a dank, unventilated parking garage. The air in the garage was so thick and musty that it made breathing difficult.
The streets of Old San Juan are paved in blue

We moseyed the streets of San Juan, taking in all of the cute, colorful homes. One thing we immediately noticed were all of the cats. Little housecats are everywhere. The local government protects the cats, so you aren’t allowed to touch or feed the cats. Some of those kitties were looking a little worse for wear, missing ears and having patchy fur. I am normally a big animal lover, approaching all animals I find, but we lost no sleep having missed an opportunity to touch those scruffy felines. The alleyways smell of cat urine and feces. With the hot, humid air, breathing becomes very difficult with that aroma filling your nostrils.

Old San Juan has a couple of fortresses, with a wall lining the outside of the city. The aesthetic architecture around the city alone, made the trip wonderful. The forts have such rich histories and are so interesting to walk around. The Puerto Rican people seem to take great pride in their history and culture.

After taking photos for a while, we became rather famished, so food was a necessity. We decided to try some local dishes from some of the food trucks. We tried Bacalaítos and Pastelillos. Both dishes were fried, as is how most Puerto Rican food is. The Bacalaítos are made out of fish and dough, and then fried into a fritter. The Pastelillos were filled with meat and wrapped in a pastry shell. Both dishes were fine. They weren’t anything too amazing, but that could have been because of the place where we tried them. We were both glad to try the local dishes, though.

With food in our bellies, we hit some of the souvenir markets in the area. We ended up buying a painting from a local artist. We also purchased some Christmas tree ornaments (Madison and her mother collect them from around the world). Jordan purchased some playing cards with Puerto Rican decorations, as he collects cards. We had a good time wandering around and checking out the shops.
By this point, we were both exhausted from walking through the heat. On the walk back to the car, we passed a pizza shop called Las Tortugas. We ordered a couple of slices, and enjoyed the air conditioning as we ate. After eating, we returned to the hotel, to escape the heat.
This is where we bought our painting
We found this easel and painting station in the loft
This wall and these hanging pots were just too cute to not photograph
From 5-7 p.m. the hotel has free snacks and drinks, so we decided to take advantage of that, getting popcorn and sprite. We sipped our beverages and walked through the grounds of the hotel. Once we had finished, we took a stroll along the beach. The beach has a cove of large rocks that go into the ocean. Jordan and I carefully climbed across the rocks and admired the setting sun. The sky was the color of a nectarine, with tinges of pink smearing through the clouds. Just as the sun was about to reach its peak location, it disappeared behind heavy fog, masking the glorious sunset. Despite our inability to experience the setting sun at its prime, we had a great time watching the waves crash against the rocks.

-Madison and Jordan


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