Old San Juan – 28 September

Pam/ October 11, 2007/ Travel

On our first full day in San Juan we set out to see El Morro, the fortress at the tip of the peninsula that protected San Juan for hundreds of years. As we were walking up to the ‘front door’ it started to rain … and rain hard. A storm came off the ocean without much warming. By the time we got to cover, we were soaked to the skin. I stayed that way all day.

The silver lining was that nobody else was there. We looked at some of the displays inside and, in just the sprinkles of the end of the rain, we explored the fort. Eventually, the rain blew over and blue skies appeared. We got a good feel for the fort, took some pics, and watched the short film about the fort’s history.

The Spanish started building the fortress in 1539 and spent 250 years fortifying it. They made this a base to control access to ‘the new world’. The English and Dutch attempted to take San Juan but failed. During the Spanish-American war the US won Puerto Rico from the Spanish and it has been ours since 1898.

But, you would hardly know it save for a few things. Everyone still speaks Spanish. The road signs are in Spanish. The streets in Old San Juan are narrow, like European towns, and there’s the fact that it’s an island. I guess we have Hawaii, too, but that seems so unlike America also. Many people speak English and easily go back and forth. And, the currency is the dollar … so that’s the first clue PR belongs to USA.

It’s hot and humid. Daniel and I were in a hat store and when we came out, our glasses fogged up.

Over 11,000 steps on the ped for the first full day in San Juan.

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