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MITSUGIRLY has a JEWEL of a time on my 1st RC cruise in years!

Day 10: Puerto Rico, another full day!

Day 3 in PR ... or whatever day it is. LOL I think I've lost track at this point.

 

Although I really didn't have actual plans today, I still didn't really get to sleep in. I was wide awake at 8:30am and thinking about breakfast. It wasn't as simple as walking upstairs, grabbing a plate, then making my rounds around the buffet to see what I wanted. I was already missing this, but hey, I had fresh cold pop sitting in my fridge waiting on me and there wasn't a locked door to keep me from getting to it.

 

The family woke up soon after and I mentioned I wanted to go to the breakfast place I had heard about the last time we were in OSJ and didn't make it there. We had found the location the night before, when walking around, and it wasn't far away. We headed out...CARTHAGE EXPRESS

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This is a cute little dinner with tables around the sides of the restaurant and then a U shaped table in the middle with a train track. I knew this would be something that Sakari would enjoy and she had no idea what was about to happen.

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Looking at the menu, they served breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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We placed our orders and I was happy to see that they had the Mallorcas on the menu.

 

I waited with anticipation...then it finally happened!!!!

 

Sakari's eye lit up and she was so excited!

 

They deliver your meal on a train right in front of you.

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Sakari was hungry this morning and insisted on both an omelette and pancakes.

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The hubs got a breakfast burrito and he said it was SO good that he wouldn't mind coming back again tomorrow morning for the same thing!

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We headed out very satisfied and the grocery store was right down the street. Time to get some pop for the rest of the day.

It was already very hot out today and it was only 9:44am.

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It cost $2.99 for an 8 pack.

We headed back to the hotel to put our goodies up.

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If you don't bring your own bags, you have to buy them. It wasn't much. I want to say around .10 and we decided to keep the bags...just in case we needed them again.

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I knew that I had a test due today. I decided that I should probably get it done and out of the way...just in case we had a very long day and I would be too tired to do it once we returned.

 

I got logged on and started to do the test. Then somehow the screen went blank. Um...rut row! The laptop was plugged in, but not all the way. Darnit. Well, the good thing about our test is that they "say" they can be started, saved, then resumed at a later time. However, they also say they are timed and you get an hour. There has been a lot of talk on our community college boards with students wanting to know can you actually start and stop it? Will it save it? Will the time stop? No one really knew or had tried. I guess I was going to be the first to find out because by the time I got the computer back up and running, the momentum of sitting even longer to do a test had already left my system. Nah...let's go visit the forts!!!

 

I looked up information on them (pricing and how to get there) and knew that one of the trolleys would take you there. We just had to find the trolley stop. I figured there would be one in the direction behind us, so we headed down to go find it.

 

Mr Canter Kitty was waiting downstairs and Sakari gave him some lovings.

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We started walking and there were even more sites and statues to see. We had never been this way before.

 

We came across Plaza del v Centenario. It is supposed to be at the highest point in OSJ and it is close to El Morro. It was built in 1992 and it is rumored to have cost $10 million. It was built to honor the 500 year anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the New World.

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Juan Ponce de Leon Statue. He was a Spanish explorer and was created in New York in 1882 using bronze collected from English canons that was salvaged when the English attacked San Juan in 1792. Leon sailed with Columbus oh his second voyage to discover the New World and looking for the Fountain of Youth, but ended up discovering Florida in 1513.

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At the upper level of the plaza, you'll find a 40 foot totem pole: Totem Telurico. The sculpture was designed and made of clay from across the Americas and is meant to signify the origins of the people of the Americas.

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More of the park area and we could see the ocean from here.

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We made it out to the street and this is what we seen.

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The fort was literally right there! I guess this means we weren't going to ride the trolley there because it was that close.

So everyone knows, I'm not a "fort-touristy-site seeing-historical buff" type of person. I honestly could care less about these types of things. It's not normally something I would do in any port. However, we were pretty much confined to doing things within the city because this time around we didn't rent a car like last and everything we could do had to be within walking distance. We do have a friend from here and last time we were here he said "You HAVE to go to El Morro" so I figured why not give it a shot. I also figured there would be a good opportunity for pictures as well.

 

One thing I DID want to see (and wanted to see last time and it got too late to go) was the graveyard there. I had seen pictures of it before and it is just beautiful. Not your typical graveyard. I took a photography class once and one of the assignments was architectural buildings and statues and I headed straight to one of our unique graveyards here in town. I love looking at the statues and stones. So, I knew I wanted to go here.

 

It's closer than the fort, so we would head here first.

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This is zoomed in on the fort. Everyone was flying kites that day. It was very hot, but very windy in this area.

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And this was really the distance to the fort not zoomed in.

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We went over to the wall to look down into the graveyard. I said "let's go" with excitement and the hubs was like "Really? You're going down there?"....YEP!

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This is the road leading down there.

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It's a very small road with a small tunnel. I was hoping we wouldn't run into any cars along the way because there's a big turn right before you get to the tunnel and it would be hard to see anyone.

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We made it and here was the entrance.

The beautiful statues were everywhere.

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Santa Maria Magdalena is the name of the cemetery. It was built in 1863. The wall around the graveyard averages around 40 feet tall. At the time it was built, Spanish superstition viewed death as a mystery and with fear. So, they decided to build the cemetery to overlook the Atlantic Ocean to symbolize the spirit's journey to cross over to the afterlife.

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Some of the most prominent Puerto Ricans are buried here and you were considered lucky if you got a spot here in this one of a kind cemetery.

 

The cemetery is divided into two parts, the old and new cemetery. Walk through the beautiful gate painted in yellow and white, and there you’ll find the oldest burial sites including the ones of notable and important personalities in Puerto Rican history. Among them are Jose Ferrer, Jose de Diego, Rafael Hernandez, Jose Celso Barbosa, Salvador Brau, and Pedro Albizu Campos.

 

There was a lot of destruction after the hurricane and the graveyard was not spared either. Workers have been trying to repair gravestones that toppled over and there is still a lot of evidence in the destruction it did.

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Most of the destruction consisted of the sites closer to the sea wall.

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I can't even imagine the type of money you would have to have in order to be buried here.

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Walking over to the other section. I had read that it is the older section.

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I took so many pictures that day. It was just so beautiful. These that I have shared are just a few that I picked out.

 

We decided to head out and over to El Morro.

 

Back up the small road we went...hoping for no traffic along the route.

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EL MORRO:

 

Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 16th century fort that began construction in 1539 with it's main purpose to defend the port of San Juan by controlling entry to the harbor. Its present look was completed around the 1780's. It consisted of 450 cannons. The outer walls were originally 6 feet thick and by the end of the 18th century, they were 18 feet thick. The city walls surrounding OSJ took 48 years to build. El Morro has 6 levels and is 145 feet tall. El Morro takes up over 70 acres.

 

In 1961, the US Army officially retired El Morro and it became a National Park and museum.

We headed out on our long journey to see the forts.

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We spotted a tail going by...

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I couldn't believe how close it comes to the fort. I was wishing I was up there at that time it passed. It was the Carnival Sunshine coming in to port.

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Thank goodness is was really windy up here...otherwise, it would have just been too hot to walk out in the open like that.

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Almost there...

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When you pay for your ticket, they tell you that this ticket is also good for the other fort.

 

 

When you first walk in, it's like an open courtyard. We weren't sure where to start.

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There were all kinds of little places to go in, read about the history, then many had areas with holes in them to look out.

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Ok, so it suggest that you start up 1 level on level 5. We just walked all the way up the hill to the fort and it looks like we were walking up some more.

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But first a potty stop. I'm pretty sure this isn't what it looked like back in the day.

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Then up we went. It was beautiful  up there and plenty of picture opportunities.

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They even had one of these to take a closer look (and it was free). Sakari said she was searching for whales.

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Oh my gosh the breeze blowing in the windows felt so good I didn't want to leave!

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​​This is the Lighthouse. It was the first lighthouse built in Puerto Rico. The original lighthouse was built in 1846 and the newer lighthouse was built in 1876. Then it was hit in the Spanish-American War in 1898 and rebuilt in 1899. But it soon developed some structural problems and was demolished in 1906. The current lighthouse (below) was built in 1908.

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We headed back down to the 5th floor.

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A golf course.....(according to above) and what it used to look like. I'd like to know where that swimming pool was about now.

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We decided to head down to the 3rd level. No elevators here. You will encounter 77 steps leading down to the next level.

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Sakari decided to not take the steps. It is actually steeper than what it looks and I warned her that if she tripped and started to tumble, there would be no stopping her, therefore, making her a human bowling ball and I was hoping there wouldn't be any pins in her way if it happened.

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I was already dreading going back up them.

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I have absolutely no idea what these were or what significance they had. I would have thought there would be something there to tell you.

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Beautiful site!

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Well alrighty then. I guess we have discovered the real restrooms here.

 

I'm still scratching my head at this one. Do they lean up against the back wall and everything goes into that hole? Which flows out and around the fort in the area that was dug out about 4' deep that we seen while walking up here? (In the above pictures)

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The "rooms" were on one side and the breeze was plentiful over there. The opposite side (which was the kitchen and dining) had absolutely no breeze. I can only imagine cooking in it.

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Somebody is missing somebody...

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I guess we were about to head to Level 2, which was part of the original tower.

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And yet there's another level. So down we went to Level 1 .

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No idea what this was and there was absolutely nothing down here to see. What a waste of steps I'll have to climb back up.

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Whew I was wore out.

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We made it back up to Level 3. I could have done without seeing level 2 or 1. It was SO hot in there. But, at least I can say that we were able to see the "original" part of the fort.

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Ok, here we go!!!

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It took awhile with a few rest stops for the hubby, but we made it. We are both so out of shape these days.

 

The church

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Hmm, do I really want to try to conquer the other fort after all that?

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We headed out and I can finally say I've been to a fort/historical site before. I can't say I have changed my mind or point of view about seeing these types of things. They really don't interest me. But, trying to kill a few days on foot in OSJ and I'm glad I did it. I know there's a lot of history buffs and people that will go here during a port stop, so I figured it might benefit them to get an idea of what it's like.

 

We made it outside and actually sat for awhile and rested...in the sun. But, the wind was still blowing and it felt good. I had to take off my socks and shoes to air things out and it felt so good.

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When I come back to Old San Juan and if we do stay here before hand, I will bring Sakari a kite to bring here. It was just so perfect.   The Dutch Attack of 1625 monument.

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We made it back down with no problems (down is always easy right?). We decided to take a different route back (hubby wanted to, once again, try to see if the skate shop was open).

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BALLAJA is a sculpture commemorating the rescue of Ballaja by the Puerto Rican people and is located in the Plaza del Cuartel de Ballaja.

 

This sculpture has 3 bronze figures that are intertwined in a struggle. It depicts the rescue of the district of Ballaja. The figures are on top of a cloak, which represents "the forgotten" and a women represents "the district". The old man is presented as a predator bird of prey who has neglected the district. Between them is a young man who is rescuing the woman and symbolizes the new spirit of a generation of Puerto Ricans struggling to rescue his past and affirm the value of their identity.

 

This sculpture was installed in 1992 at the old barracks where Spanish troops were quartered.

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This is the Eugenio Maria de Hostos sculpture. It commemorates this famous Puerto Rican educator, philosopher, intellectual, lawyer, sociologist and independence advocate. It is located in the plaza near Case Blance (which people call it "skateboard park" due to the teenagers that hang out there skateboarding). <--how ironic since we were headed to the local skate shop around the corner.

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I just love all the bright colors of all the places in OSJ.

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We finally made it to the skateshop and they were actually open. We met the owner and his friend that also hangs out there a lot (he's a skateboarder) and the hubby and them talked for hours.

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It was a very small place. They talked about the local skateboarding and shops around there and the parks. They talked about the pro's from the area and business. They hubby showed them pictures of his shop and website and gave them pointers on "business" stuff.

 

They were really cool people and we enjoyed chatting with them.

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The owner took me out back to show me the building. The store lined up and down this street were just stores and then you had a back door, which lead into an enclosed alley-like type of place. Everyone shared the same restroom at the end of the alley. The top was completely open above and they store things out there. No way for anyone to get to it unless you were renting the building.

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Hubby continued to talk and talk and I went out and took a few pictures outside.

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We finally decided to leave and the hubby did his share to support this local skate shop and small business owner and purchased a shirt with their skateshop name on it. Then off we went.

We were getting pretty hungry by now and we had passed this little restaurant/bar, called Marilyns, several times when walking to the skateshop. They had a bar inside and seating outside with umbrellas and flowers and plants. It looked cute. I told the hubs we should stop and eat there.

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We placed our orders and enjoyed the breeze along this closed-type street.

Before long, our food came out. The hubby had ordered 10 wings, Sakari ordered 10 wings, and I ordered the chicken quesadillas.

 

The hubbys food looked good.

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My food definitely looked and tasted good.

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Sakari's food...well, it never came. Daddy shared his with Sakari and when the waitress came back out, we let her know that Sakari didn't get her food. I guess there was a misunderstanding and she thought they were sharing. So, she brought out another order and then Sakari shared with daddy.

 

We had a visitor. I guess he didn't get his order either.

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After eating, Sakari found a friend.

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We paid our bill and off we went.

 

Here's the cigar house that we went to the day before.

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Here's the outside of the pizza/Italian place we were at before. They also have seating upstairs.

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I did a little bit of shopping and found a change purse I just had to have.

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Still walking around...like we didn't do enough of that earlier today.

 

I keep ending back around this area for some reason. I guess we just always cut down that alley. And those dreaded stairs...

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I wonder if you can have it your way here?

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Some paintings on a building

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Circling around and back toward the park.

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Sakari wanted to stay for awhile. There is a drug store on the corner here and my head was pounding for some reason. I decided to go in to get some Aleve while she played with the birds and daddy rested on the bench.

 

Someone brought some type of hard cereal type food or something. They gave her a piece to feed the pigeons.

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