Old San Juan

At Puerto del Rey Marina, we hauled out to add a few new coats of paint.   The haulout and blocking went well.  Island Marine took care of the painting on time.  In the meantime, we rented a house near the El Yunque national forest, Estancia El Yunque.  It is on about 4 acres and has a pool with a nice view.  Well, if you’re going to spend a few nights on land again, this was a nice place.

Estancia El Yunque

Estancia El Yunque

We visited old San Juan twice, once with each set of grandparents.  First, we saw Castillo San Cristobal, the largest fort in the U.S. built by the Spanish.  Here is a view of the main plaza in the heart of the fort.

Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan

Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan

Down in the bowels of the fort, lies the dungeon.  These paintings were from some of its unfortunate former inhabitants.

Dungeon, Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan

Dungeon, Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan

The scale of the fort is breathtaking.  And, in its day, it is not hard to imagine why it was a formidable barrier guarding Old San Juan from attacks via land.   This is the view to the south from the core part of the fort from a WWII watch tower.  So, almost this much fort lies again to the north.

Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan

Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan

On trip two, we visited Castillo San Felipe del Morro.  The Spanish began construction in 1539 making this the oldest fort in the U.S.  del Morro was designed to guard the entrance to San Juan harbor and occupies the tip of the peninsula of old San Juan.  It has seen action against the French, Dutch, British, and Americans.  Now, locals still guard the walls.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro , San Juan

Castillo San Felipe del Morro , San Juan

Of course, the view of the narrow entrance to the harbor is spectacular.

San Juan Harbor, Castillo San Felipe del Morro

San Juan Harbor, Castillo San Felipe del Morro

The sentry boxes are also quite cool.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

And, who can resist looking at a piece of a projectile from the Spanish American war lodged in the oldest part of the fortress.

US Projectile, Castillo San Felipe del Morro

US Projectile, Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Of course, by 1898 the defenses were woefully outdated and while the Spanish made an attempt to resist the US naval power, their positions were hopeless and the fight didn’t last long.  Fortunately, the bottom painting didn’t last long and we were soon off again to Culebra.

 

 

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