Since my wife is a wedding planner we get to travel for destination weddings and events. When I found out that we were going to Puerto Rico for a wedding, all I could think about was walking through the streets of Old San Juan. It’s been a bucket list item for me and I will say this, Old San Juan did not disappoint. Not one bit.
While the wedding party was going through rehearsals at Castillo San Cristobal, I took that opportunity to explore. What has always got my eye about Old San Juan were the vibrant colors. It reminded me of the Art Deco of Miami Beach. Just walking up and down the streets that is all you saw; vibrant colors every where. From the churches to the Spanish Colonial-era buildings and houses; every thing was splashed with beautiful, ornate colors.
As I meandered through the neighborhoods i couldn’t help notice the number of boutique shops, restaurants, bars and plazas this little neighborhood had to offer. The smell of the food was intoxicating and let me tell you, I had my fill of mofongo while I was in Puerto Rico. I did not turn down mofongo once.
The sounds of Salsa music echoed throughout the narrow streets as I walked up and down. I as I walked I could see old ladies hanging out on their balcony just people watching as the tourists stop and gawk at every corner. I just enjoy walking and exploring and this neighborhood gave me plenty to see.
I really didn’t have any real direction as to where I wanted to go. I just let my feet take me to where ever. I went from neighborhood bars down to Parque de las Palomas also known as pigeon park where tourists can pay a small amount of money for bird seed so the pigeons could flock to them. While I was there, there was this old man sitting on a stoop just playing his guitar. His face was weathered and behind him was a Puerto Rican flag. I envisioned this photo in my head and in my best attempt at Spanish asked him for his permission to take his photo. He said of course for a tip, which I obliged as it was only fair. Snapped a few photos and walked away knowing I got the shot I wanted.
The rest of the day was just me taking in the history of the old city. The inner geek in me marveled at how long some of these buildings have been standing there for. The city itself was founded back in the 1500’s and some of the buildings were from the 1800’s. All over town there were posters and signs celebrating the city being founded 500 years ago.
If you ever make it to Puerto Rico, Old San Juan is a place you have to experience, even if it is just once. You won’t be disappointed.