We were already packed and ready to leave when we woke up the next morning. I made a papaya and banana frappe to use up the last of our rotting fruit. We gathered everything into Charlie and went to breakfast at a neat little place called Aromas. It sits in the heart of Luquillo, which is densely packed with cars. Cars everywhere, every spot on the street, corner to corner (and some around the corners). It sounds odd to describe it by the cars, but that’s all I could see!
We sat ourselves on the patio and ordered two cafe con leche, eggs, bacon and toast. The star of the show was our breakfast dessert: a dulce de leche crepe. We really and I mean really, loved it. The dulce de leche was so much thicker, darker and richer than the stuff you find here.
Our drive back through the green rolling hills of Puerto Rico to San Juan was quick, beautiful and uneventful, a perk to driving early Sunday morning. Finding gas was another story, but we still had the car back by 9:30am. The shuttle van dropped us off at port right where we were picked up and we walked to our hostel to drop off our bags.
With five hours to kill before we could check in we set out onto the street. There was an ironman on throughout the day, and right outside our hostel was mile two of the marathon. We walked along side the track to El Morro, and watched families fly kites on the expansive lawn in front of the fort. This is a very popular Sunday activity, as the wind is always strong and the weather always beautiful. I wore a dress, having picked it out the night before and not at all thinking about how windy it would be right on the ocean. I spent most of the day holding down my dress with two hands, which made taking pictures tricky, and I think on more than one occasion my knickers may have been shown. But Shane says not, and he was trying hard to see!
The sun was intense as we toured all six levels, 140 feet tall of El Morro, a fort which was started back in the 1500’s, when Puerto Rico was first discovered by Spain, in attempt to ward off the likes of the English and the Dutch who were obsessed with having it. The currents draw all ships straight through Puerto Rico, making it the gateway to the Caribbean and all it’s treasures. We watched them fire a canon (loud) and a musket (loud!). But then it was time for lunch.
We were good and worn out by the time we reached El Jibarito for lunch (second time). We had two amazing glasses of fresh squeezed lemon/limeade, and an equally great plantain and beef pie.
We spent a while sitting in the shade of a plaza drinking a mango-pineapple frappe. These things are seriously delicious!! When it was late enough we checked into our hostel, which is set on the 6th floor of beautiful building on Plaza Colon. It has great views, a nice breeze and the oldest elevator in San Juan. Our room was bare bones - a fridge, chair and bed. That is all. But we never mind that.
We went, armed with our notebooks, to a fantastic cafe called Cuatro Sombras. Here we had the best latte frappes of our lives. (Coffee frappucinos) We spent a glorious air conditioned hour writing before we made out way to a very busy Paseo de la Princess. We sat on a bench watching the sunset behind the clouds, which isn’t as nice as a sunset without clouds, unfortunately.
We left as the sky darkened quickly, the last of the light falling behind 200 year old trees that dipped down towards the ocean and soared overhead. The city walls lined us on one side and the calm seas guided us on the other and we walked back home.
We tried to find a restaurant we hadn’t already been to, but in very touristy old San Juan authentic Puerto Rican at a sane price isn’t easy to find. Not only that, but there were four cruise ships in port, which made the town very very busy. We explored a few other options, got caught in the rain and finally ran to Restaurante Airenumo, for our second dinner there. The service was marginally better than the time before and again the food was outstanding. We were enjoying ourselves so much that Shane and I ordered two Cuba Libres, that we figured “couldn’t be more than $6, tops”. Famous last words. Imagine our surprise when the bill came and our drinks were $8 each! Not impressed!
Finally, to end the night on a high note, we ducked into a bar called Patio de Sam (which was a straight up bar), that came recommended for flan. We ordered flan and two coffees and had our socks knocked clean off! We loved this flan, much more than the one previous. Soft, smooth and lovely. Delicious and done.