Despite the night long celebrations on San Sabastian Street I slept well my first night in San Juan. I was up before my alarm went off, hoping to see a sunrise. I thought I could see it near Castillo San Cristobol, the large fort to the east of my hotel.
Sunrise was around 7 a.m. and I hurried along the wall overlooking the ocean to be on time. Well, as I approached the fort I realized it was obscuring my view to the east and I would never get around it to see the sunrise.
Instead I walked back down toward the cruise ship pier again on the narrow cobblestone streets.
I came upon the Plaza Colon where a towering statue of Christopher Columbus overlooks the plaza. The plaza was surrounded by restaurants and gifts shops but there was no activity at this early hour.
I made it to the pier where I found a contrast of the old and the new, a sail ship and a gigantic cruise ship.
This is were you can also find more contrast between the old town and the new growth from tourism. There was a Walgreen store next to a Sheraton Hotel,
and there even was a Ralph Lauren store. Philadelphia doesn’t even have one of these anymore. Lot of tourists dollars flow around here.
I meandered through the streets of San Juan observing the colorful buildings and many shops and outdoor cafes and restaurants, of course, closed at this early hour.
I next walked back up the steep streets to Norzagaray street were the entrance to my hotel is located. It is the last street along the massive wall that was built to protect the city.
I noticed the many building located below the wall, next to the ocean and remember reading about this residential community, La Perla.
The guide books I read said to stay clear of this poorer neighborhood, so, of course, I had to visit. I walked through the narrow old gate into the village and found a few folks who were pleasant and friendly.
The buildings were run down and appeared damaged by the hurricane. Unfortunately it appears many of the residents could not afford to make repairs.
I walked to the ocean and enjoyed watching and listening to the waves crash along the rocky shore.
I also watched a large cruise ship enter San Juan Bay, giving an illusion it would crash into “El Morro” .
I made my way up the steep road to Norzgaray Street and back to my hotel. I spent some time exploring it’s many room. All adorned with the art work and sculptures created by the owner, Jan. I had a small breakfast and was soon off for more explorations of the wonderful city. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. Puerto Rico Day Two San Juan morning walk.
“Life is an experiment in which you may fail or succeed. Explore more, expect least.”
― Santosh Kalwar