Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Puerto Rico - A Quick Port

Old San Juan

This was the ship's first port in our Eastern Caribbean tour.  We arrived late on day three counting day one as the day we departed. Having already done the downtown forts, I wanted to see the Old City of San Juan. 

I know that the Puerto Ricans people are a proud people that have rich history, culture, and exceptional food.  They live on a beautiful island that is still recovering from Hurricane Maria that hit in September 2017.  My first cruise was in the late spring after that storm and much damage was still visible in the city of San Juan. This visit, most of the downtown cleanup had been accomplished. However, from what I read there still is much to be done in-land, especially with their electric grid.   

Thunderstorms occurring just as we were coming in, helping to make for a somewhat cooler afternoon walk. I loved seeing the old building with the rows of different / tropical color paint on the outside. There were open air restaurants, and office building many of which share a wall with the fort.  Almost every corner was a park with a fountains and statues of Puerto Rican heroes.  A stop in a restaurant provided tasty authentic food.     

Walking around Old San Juan you become very much aware that is a walled city.

According to the US Nation Park Service

"Masonry walls fully encircled the city of San Juan by 1783, now Old San Juan, as part of a major system of fortifications that once defended the whole islet. It was considered one of the best fortified cities in the Caribbean.  

The walls served San Juan well, thwarting pirates and foreign invaders for hundreds of years. That includes the English, the Dutch and the Americans.

These walls range from 20 to 100 feet tall and some are between 50 feet wide at the base to 24 feet at the top. The San Juan Gate was restored with special attention to the historical significance of the fortified walls and today, skilled masonry workers preserve the remaining walls using almost the same techniques and materials as the Spanish did centuries ago."

A fun quick afternoon and early evening walk / excursion. 

The view from the ship, entering The San Juan Cruise Port Terminal

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