"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

February 22, 2020

Feb. 17 - (Part II) Old San Juan, PR

“The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” —Anna Quindlen 

Check in at our apartment in Old San Juan (OSJ) wasn't until 4:00 PM, so after our tour at the Bacardi Factory we drove over to OSJ and parked near the Coast Guard Station. We left our luggage in the car and explored the city a little, did a little shopping and had lunch at Café Madolin. After checking in we went back and got our bags. We walked from the parking lot along the Paseo de la Princesa to the Puerta de San Juan (San Juan Gate) and up to our apartment.

Old San Juan is actually an island connected to the main island by bridges on the eastern side. The historic city is divided into seven square blocks and is the second oldest city in the Western Hemisphere. The southern part of Old San Juan is the port area full of piers, shops and many restaurants. On the eastern side is Fort San Cristobal and the Paseo dela Princesa. The western portion of town, which is the oldest, has buildings and homes that are 300-450 years old and it's where the La Fortaleza (Governor’s Mansion) and Fort El Morro are located.

The Paseo de la Princesa is a promenade that skirts the curved old city walls on the southern side of Old San Juan. It was constructed in 1853. Paseo de la Princesa means “Walkway of the Princess”. It gets its name from an old 1837 building on the promenade known as “La Princesa”. This building served as the city’s prison in the nineteenth century and now houses Puerto Rico’s Tourism Company. The promenade is lined with antique street lamps, trees, statues and benches. It offers gorgeous views of the San Juan Bay and it ends at the San Juan Gate.
Puerta de San Juan (San Juan Gate) was built in 1635. For centuries Spanish dignitaries entered San Juan through this gate. From here they proceeded up the street to San Juan Bautista Cathedral to thank God for a safe voyage. Access to and from San Juan was controlled through five gates, or puertas, within the three mile wall that enclosed the city. Each gate had a different function. This gate was San Juan's formal entrance. Materials, supplies and everyday traffic entered through other gates. 
San Juan Bautista Cathedral was right across the street from our apartment.
The streets in OSJ and blue cobblestones, small and home to beautiful colorful buildings.
Our lunch spot...Café Madolin. We split the shrimp Mofongo, rice and beans and sweet plantains. 
Old San Juan is filled with countless hidden treasures within its ancient stone walls, one such treasure is Capilla del Cristo. An unassuming chapel that has offered hope to its visitors for over 250 years. It was built on top of the ancient stone walls that protected in 1753 to celebrate a miracle.  
Overlooking San Juan harbor from one part of the wall in OSJ. 
Our wonderful apartment in OSJ. It was centrally located to everything in town.
I call this the Statue Man, but locals call him the fifth season because he preforms on a fountain known as Four Seasons. It's located in Plaza de Armas, which is located just a few blocks from our apartment. In the video you can see him moving.

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