San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

Went over to Puerto Rico for Pan American Masters Weightlifting Championships and had a couple of days to hang out & look around. Being on an island - the breeze was incredible the entire time - something we don't always have in Central Florida.

 The view from the hotel room balcony was rough...

The view from the hotel room balcony was rough...

It wasn't a vacation since the competition was important. Castillo San Felippe del Morro was a must, since we both lover castles & fortresses. Traffic was busy getting to it - so the cabbie parked a bit away, which was perfect - beautiful walk on a nice day through some old streets to a huge fortification.

The scale of the fort itself is deceptive - it was a pretty long walk since it's huge. I love the dark solid look. Very medieval.

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On the interior, there's a central plaza off which walkways branch off to different areas. Gift shop, bathrooms and some exhibits are under those arches.

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The fort is epic & even larger than it looks, since it's up on a cliff/hill and has more layers on the ocean side.

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Views were fantastic in all directions.

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Looking back at Old San Juan with Castillo de San Cristobal way out on the left, which is where were heading next.

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Shaded square with a statue on the way.

Obviously had to stop in. 

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The old San Juan with it's colorful houses and narrow streets wasn't as nice as the photos show it - sidewalks are very narrow with quite a few large trash cans on them and when someone else is coming your way - you pretty much have to step into the traffic (there's quite a few cars there) or bully the "opponent" into doing that. So we just moved on to the Castillo de San Marcos, which is a bit smaller, but still was very cool with some World War II fortifications within as well.

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Castillo del Morro in the distance with historic San Juan on the left.

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It was still quite a large fort.

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Looking over the city from one of the castle walls.

Overall it was a nice trip. Puerto Rico is definitely plagued by the same as pretty much all the islands I've been on in the Caribbean - some nice areas, lovely weather, but quite a bit of sketchy areas, decay, and disrepair even in the nice areas.

The view from our hotel was epic, but right next to it was a graffitied husk of a building with no windows or doors. Very Chernobyl-esque. 

I do hope that Puerto Rico recovers from Hurricane Irma (which devastated Florida as well) and prospers in the future. It's a gorgeous place with so much potential.