Sunday, August 21, 2011

Puerto Rico Day Trips - Old San Juan

Our trip to Old San Juan began in a driving rain that forced us to shelter in restaurant doorways while trying to read our tourist map and make our way to the sights. We watched as the rain filled  storm drains to capacity and gushing rainwater bubbled out of manhole covers. We sheltered at Senior Frogs, then dashed across the street to avoid ankle deep puddles, and waited for the rain to stop again at the tourist information center. That's when we struck gold (as in rum) and saw Casa DonQ!

If we were going to get wet, why not quench our thirst, too, with the #1 rum in the land of Puerto Rico! Stepping over a low barricade across the entryway to keep the water out, while letting  tourists in, we dried off in the warm ambiance of the tiny storefront museum. We followed the history of the art and science behind making DonQ Rum described in posters along the walls, laughed at a collection of Don Quixote statues (hence the name "Don Q") and ended up at the tasting bar! Who knew? I know we were there at least an hour if not longer.  While chatting it up with a young couple from New York on their honeymoon, we all sipped generous shots of the rums distilled under the DonQ label. I savored DonQ Coco, an exceptional coconut rum, on the rocks, while Chris compared the Anejo to the Brugal we purchased in the Dominican Republic. He didn't think it was as smokey flavored (such a conossiuer he is becoming)!  For his grand finale, he tried the DonQ Passion...use your imagination!

The rain let up long enough for us to search out El Arsenal (The Arsenal Museum). Built in 1800, it was a naval station and then home to the Spanish military following the Spanish-American War. We couldn't even get close because of the "lake" of rain water flowing through the gates. An about face pointed us in the direction of sculptures and verdant terracesof the centuries-old fortifications of old San Juan.

Meandering along in a light drizzle, we entered the city gates dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1508 Juan Ponce de Leon founded the original settlement. We found this tidbit of history serendipitous because we spent our first year refitting Troubadour in Ponce Inlet, FL (so named after the famed exploreer).

Once inside, the real charm of the old city comes to life with its Spanish style flat-roofed architcture and blue cobblestone streets. Small store fronts revealed modern stores like Ralph Lauren and Coach nestled among museums and art galleries, boutiques, bars and restaurants. 

The aroma of burgers on the grill grabbed at our tummies and followed our noses to a place called Booty's on a sloping hill where we split a yummy, sloppy burger with fries, and a side of onion rings, along with beers (of course).  The day trip turned out be a lot of fun and we are thinking of going again, because after all that waiting in the rain, we just weren't up to going through the museums and forts (to be completely honest about it).

1 comment:

  1. Love it guys. Keep it up. We are about a year or two behind you.


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