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

February 24, 2020

Feb. 19 - Old San Juan, PR

“Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets” ―Oscar Wilde

We began our day like we did yesterday...coffee and guava pastries at the little coffee kiosko in the Plaza de Armes. After breakfast we headed east to explore a little beach close to the El Capitolio (Puerto Rico's Capital building), it's a beautiful area of town with lots of official buildings. From there we visited Castillo San Cristóbal.

In 1634, almost a hundred years after starting construction on El Morro, the Spanish began construction on the even larger Castillo San Cristóbal. This fort would stand guard at the eastern gate, the land entrance, to the walled city of Old San Juan. It took over 150 to finish the fort, although modifications were made well into the 18th century. San Cristóbal is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World, covering 27 acres. The fort is actually a number of different units connected by tunnels, each unit being self-sufficient if another part was invaded. Walking around the fort gave us a lot of exercise and offered wonderful views of the coast from Old San Juan to Condado and beyond.  

We spent the afternoon slowly wandering through the streets of OSJ taking in the beauty of the buildings and enjoying the views of the water. We walked over 17 miles the last three days in OSJ...that's a real workout, but what a place to explore. Today was our last full day in Puerto Rico, but it won’t be our last. We have fallen in love with the island, Old San Juan and the people of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico capital building (El Capitolio).
This beach was across the street from the capital building...sea glass beach.
Castillo San Cristóbal
Aerial view of the large Castillo San Cristóbal. 
Tunnels like this one were an important part of the fortifications like San Cristóbal. They protected soldiers from enemy fire and enabled commanders to move large numbers of troops to new positions, unseen by the enemy. This is the largest tunnel in the fort and leads to the main plaza. 
Janice having fun with the soldiers. 
Exploring Castillo San Cristóbal
Looking west towards El Morro. 
Looking south from Castillo San Cristóbal over Old San Juan. 
View from Castillo San Cristóbal looking east towards the capital building and the beach we visited in the morning. 
Calle (Street) Norzagaray looking back at Castillo San Cristóbal. 
Plazuela La Rogativa overlooks the San Juan Gate and La Fortaleza (Governor's Mansion). 
The beautiful streets of Old San Juan
The Methodist church in Old San Juan
Our last dinner in OSJ was at Ostra Cosa 
Cute little plaza across the street from San Juan Bautista Cathedral and close to our apartment. The whole town is full of cute sculptures. 

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