After my tour of the historic Castillo San Cristobal, I again wandered off to explore the streets of old San Juan. I first made my way through the now familiar Plaza Colon and it’s towering statue of Christopher Columbus.
Like all the streets in old town it was paved with blue cobblestones. These pretty stones were brought from Spain and used as ballast on the ships. Once in San Juan they were removed from the ship and were replaced with gold for the journey back to Spain. The residents used the discarded cobblestones to pave the streets.
The street is now lined with many small shops and upscale stores, selling all kinds of souvenirs, clothing, electronics, luxury goods and any other thing that can be sold to tourists from the cruise ships,
I remember very little Spanish from my high school days. The nun spoke no English. She was kind and friendly and we communicated through gestures. She lead me to a beautiful chapel and she left me alone to take photographs.
A third older nun now appeared. I again tried to explain to them my schooling by Bernadine nuns. Finally the young nun got the caretaker, who spoke English and we had a wonderful conversation with the help of our translator. We laughed about the nuns who thought me and how they hit us with a ruler when we were bad. One nun laughed and pointed to the oldest one. She shook her head, no, not her. We all laughed. We also talked about the the 1960’s television show, the Flying Nun. They, of course, all heard about it.
Now I was their friend and the oldest gave me a tour of the facility which was a convent and hospital for the old and poor. She took me to a balcony with spectacular views of San Juan bay, and the Governor’s Mansion. It was truly a blessed experience which I will always cherish. I learned the building was built in 1524. The nuns cared for the sick here for over 125 years. Here is a link to some more photographs of my wonderful encounter with the sisters and their mission. . Puerto Rico Day Two San Juan Convent February 9 2018.
I meandered through the pretty streets, revisiting many of sites I saw the day before. I wish I had time to visit the many museums in the city. I did stop for a nice, and reasonably priced snack, calamari and rice, with all the lemonade you could drink a restaurant located in one of the museums.
I returned to my hotel mid afternoon and spent some time editing photographs and exploring the many art filled rooms at the Inn. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike through old San Juan. Puerto Rico Day Two: San Juan afternoon hike.
I wanted to see the sunset and decided the best place would be the high ground of “El Morro” It was a beautiful evening in Puerto Rico. Huge billowing cumulus clouds floated on the ever present trade winds.
I spent a few minutes taking in the serene scene. And I was delighted to watch a rainbow appear over the ocean. Here is a link to a video I uploaded to YouTube. Cemetery video.
I walked up to an old battery wall near the fortress and joined a group of local residents and tourists also waiting for the sunset. Unfortunately clouds moved and we only caught a brief glimpse just before it set. It was still a great place to be.
I walked back along Fortaleza Street enjoying the sounds of tourists and residents at the many cafes, bars and restaurants. I ate dinner at a quaint French restaurant, Trois Cent Onze, recommended by a friend. The food was excellent. I finished my meal and returned to the streets which, despite a passing showers were still alive with the sounds of folks enjoying the warm tropical evening.
It was an uphill walk to my hotel but I soon heard the crashing of the waves of the Atlantic Ocean on the rocky shore. Here is a link to some more photographs from my evening walk. Puerto Rico Day Two San Juan evening walk. February 8 2018.
I also listened to the music rising up from San Sebastian street from a balcony in my room. I was tired and soon fell asleep listening to the sounds of music and partying that lasted until sunrise. Here is a link to a video of the sounds of San Sebastian Street from my room.
“Fall in love
with the energy
of the mornings
trace your fingers
along the lull
of the afternoons
take the spirit
of the evenings
in your arms
kiss it deeply
to the tranquility
of the nights.”
― Sanober Khan