San Juan, PR

We piled the Kraken family, and our two cats, into the car for what may prove to be the last time. This time it was a different car, but somehow we fit six people and two cats into a tiny Kia sedan.

We rented a place in Old San Juan, and somehow miraculously found parking right outside, on what turned out to be one of the very few streets that was not residents-only. So we unpacked the car, got the cats settled in, and went around the corner to Barrachina for dinner. They sent us upstairs to wait for a table, so we sipped piña coladas and listened to some unexpected live music.

We had a lovely dinner, and somehow these are the photos we ended up with. (…?)

On the way back, we passed by the governor’s house, prettily lit up for the season. We were told we could visit if we came back on a weekday. And we did, on the last morning – but sadly they don’t allow photos inside.

And because it was Old San Juan and we were mere blocks from the best bar in the city, we went out to La Factoria for “just one or two drinks”. And stumbled home at about three in the morning. La Factoria is less a bar than a constellation of several bars, one of which has live salsa music. We were pretty amused by the rules for making a request.

On day two, we visited the Museo de las Américas. It’s got an excellent location, next door to a big open park and the Morro fort, as well as a pretty water fountain. And there was art, too – many different kinds, some of which we liked.

The sheer creepiness of that last one…

We spent some time walking around, looking like the tourists we were, enjoying the pigeons and cats, graffiti and colorful brick streets.

For dinner, we met up with the inlaws of a good friend of mine from college, who had done us the huge favor of receiving some mail for us (most importantly, the new motor for our windlass!), and the even bigger favor of braving Saturday traffic to drive into the city and meet us. We’d met briefly at my friend’s wedding, the last time we were in San Juan, and we had a great time catching up with them. After dinner, a smaller contingent split off for drinks, and somehow managed to have a late night of it, ending up once again at La Factoria. What’s that last shot? Riding up the elevator into the apartment in the early hours.

The next day was Don’s birthday, so after a slow morning breakfast at the house, and Captain helping himself to our leftovers…

… we went on a brewery tour. A man after my own heart! We visited Ocean Lab and Old Harbor, and both had offerings worth stopping for.

Then we fought our way back into the old city, through horrible rush hour traffic, to visit one of the two coastal forts, Castillo de San Cristóbal. We hadn’t figured on traffic coming into the city for Sunday dinner, and we crawled along the streets, and then crawled through the many packed levels of the parking garage looking for reverse lights, but we managed to find a spot and we made it to the fort before closing. The tunnels and catacombs were interesting, but the highlights were all views from the top of the walls, out over the ocean and the city with the beginnings of the sunset.

We went out for a birthday dinner, and then came back to the house to eat the birthday cake that our super sweet friends had dropped off that morning. And then, of course, a parking spot opened up in front of the house, and we scrambled and moved the car from its spot in the garage. 5 hours of paid parking isn’t bad for a long weekend.

Then in the morning, we visited the governor’s mansion (no photos), packed ourselves back into the car, and drove back to Salinas. Back on the boats! Onward and eastward!