Saturday, March 22, 2008

PR Trip - Day 3: Old San Juan, El Morro and the Wedding

We all started off the day at El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, which is a forts built to by protect San Juan from invaders in 1539. In 1589 the fort was rebuilt to its present layout
by San Juan Governer Diego Menendez. El Morro is somehwere I definately wanted to go so I was very happy when we decided we would start the day there. The big tall building in the first picture is a light house and the fort extends down 4-5 levels from that point. I don't think any of us explored them all, but Brian did go down to at least one of the lower levels. The picture of the garita (sentry box) on the corner of the fort wall is so much a part of Puerto Rico that it is even on the territory's license plate. We saw many of these garitas throughout the day at El
Morro and also on the other defensive walls around Old San Juan. What was really neat about the fort was seeing the cannons and even the metal tracks used to move some of the larger ones to aim at the enemy. After we explored the fort, we decided to head down towards the more commercial area of Old San Juan to try to find some dress clothes for Lars and ome lunch. I just loved walking through Old San Juan. Everything reminded me old being in Spain when I was in
10th grade... especially the narrow streets, tall buildings and pastel painted architecture. Also, religion, i.e. Catholicism plays such an important part in the lives of most Puerto Rican's like it does in Spain. There are all sorts of references to the bible and christianity just out in the open unlike in the continental US. I especially like this picture with all the one way signs right next to a image of Saint Fracis of Assisi that was part of the wall. While people shopped, Brian and I hung out in La Plaza de Armas and watched the pigeons squabble over bread tossed by locals. I did go into one shop called "The Poets
Passage", which featured small pieces of art made by local artists. They had walls upon walls filled with hand painted "doors of San Juan." Each one was a door and the front of a traditional building in one of many lovely pastels. They ranged from small doors on magnets all the way up to huge portrayels of well know buildings like El Convento. I liked these so much that I picked up one for each of our folks and the friendly woman running the shop said she would be happy to personalize them. So, with las casas de Jennings y Loranz in hand and the others' shopping done, the group went in search of lunch. We ended up eating El Meson which I am guessing was a local version of Subway, which was okay... I had ham and cheese on a sweet roll with fried corn sticks and the largest diet coke imaginable. Everyone else seemed to share my "meh" attitude about the food, but we had been treated to some pretty good food already, so it was bound to happen. After lunch we walked back up to El Morro and took a Taxi back to our respective hotels to get ready for Erin and Joel's wedding.


Tara said...

That last photo of the houses is AWESOME! I might want a copy to hang in my living room :-)

Bahston Beans said...

I agree! Love, love, love the pastel pic!