After our San Francisco Half Marathon training run, we decided to check out Old San Juan while we still had the rental car. (If you’re going to Puerto Rico – get a rental car! It was so inexpensive and really helped us see a few things that we might not have otherwise. We used Dollar Rental and each paid less than $40 for 2 days, including gas).
Our first stop in town was an old defense fort – Castillo de San Cristobal. The walls of the fortress go right up to the banks of the island. It was built by the Spanish in 1783 and covers over 25 acres of land. We wandered around for a while – taking in the sights of centuries’ old construction and the views of San Juan and the Caribbean Sea it provided us.
The Spanish sentries have been replaced by sunning iguanas and invading ships by cruise ships but the feel of the past was still all around us. The history nerd in me soaked it all up, along with the heat of the midday Puerto Rican sun. We were ready for a break after the castle tour.
You’d think two girls from Texas would be able to stand a few hours in the direct sun, but I think this is actually the closest I’ve ever been to the equator! We wandered into the heart of Old Town and stumbled upon a square with some restaurants. I picked a coffee house on the corner.
We enjoyed cold water and air conditioning while browsing a delicious menu of breakfast and lunch items. We’d eaten out a few other times previously on this trip, sticking mostly to native cuisine and I was ready for a break from fried seafood and plantains! I picked some incredible goat-cheese and chicken sausage filled sweet potato crepes. Delicious!
The cafe had a lot of charm and very friendly staff who served us. The menu was fresh and more familiar than most places we looked at. By the time we wrapped up and cooled off, it was time for us to return the rental car and hit the beach by our
resort Quality Inn.
Here’s to active vacations, y’all!