Turret at Castillo San Cristobal
There is just no easy way to get to Puerto Rico from California. It is a long day of changing planes which gets you to the island late in the evening. After finding our hotel, John and I searched for a place to eat that was still
open and we ended up in a casino. The next day we met for breakfast, planned our day and finished up our work in San Juan. We needed drive to Aguadilla which was on the other side of the island but first we had some sightseeing to do.
needed to buy some supplies for some hiking he would do at the end of our trip. Our first order of fun was to go shopping. I was the navigator via GPS. He was driving so fast on the little streets and deciding he knew a better way that
the GPS could not catch up. I asked him to stop and park a minute so I could get a sense of where we were and where we were going. Once we got our bearings we started up again only to be stopped by the police. Apparently we were driving in
the buss only lane. The police started to speak in Spanish and we replied ”tourista.” It was pretty obvious we were not locals. Luckily they were fluent in English and started to explain our traffic offense. We apologized and told them
we were Americans trying to make our way to the shopping mall. Instead of a ticket they gave a police escort to the mall. “Welcome to Puerto Rico. “ It was pretty funny and a bit embarrassing.
After our quick shopping
trip we found our way, by ourselves to Castillo San Cristobal. This was an important outpost built by Spain in the 1783 to fortify the West Indies and to protect the city of San Juan.
This is an expansive fort that originally covered 27 acres.
After years of peace, part of the fort was destroyed to ease traffic around the city. It is still quite large and sets right on the edge of the Ocean. From the fort’s long walkways you can see far down the coastline, the wide open expanse
of the ocean and some pretty impressive city views. We happened to be there on a bright beautiful sunny day and it felt good to be out the rain and fog soaking up the sun a world away from home. The fort is a World Heritage Site and has a
rich and storied history and I was pretty happy to be playing hooky for a few hours as we wandered through the living quarters, the jail, the chapel, the turrets and the sentry boxes. Just imagine parts of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, being
filmed here. The filmmakers could not have picked a better setting.
After losing a few hours wandering the castle we had to face the music and get going to Aguadilla. It would have been nice to spend another day exploring the city of old San Juan
but we were working after all. It was at least a one and half hour ride on a good day. We started going one way around the island and John abruptly stopped and turned around to go the other way stating emphatically that it was shorter.
I gave up the navigation duties. By the time we found ”The Rincon Beach Resort” it was about two and half hours later and we were both tired and hungry. We checked into our rooms and then met up for dinner at the hotel restaurant to
discuss the next day’s meetings. After dinner we explored the hotel grounds. The pool and the beach were pretty nice. We had planned well for this trip, work during the day and swim and snorkel in the evening. It was pretty tough duty.