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MITSUGIRLY has a JEWEL of a time on my 1st RC cruise in years!

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I took so many pictures that day. It was just so beautiful. These that I have shared are just a few that I picked out.


We decided to head out and over to El Morro.


Back up the small road we went...hoping for no traffic along the route.





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Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 16th century fort that began construction in 1539 with it's main purpose to defend the port of San Juan by controlling entry to the harbor. Its present look was completed around the 1780's. It consisted of 450 cannons. The outer walls were originally 6 feet thick and by the end of the 18th century, they were 18 feet thick. The city walls surrounding OSJ took 48 years to build. El Morro has 6 levels and is 145 feet tall. El Morro takes up over 70 acres.


In 1961, the US Army officially retired El Morro and it became a National Park and museum.




We headed out on our long journey to see the forts.




We spotted a tail going by...




I couldn't believe how close it comes to the fort. I was wishing I was up there at that time it passed. It was the Carnival Sunshine coming in to port.






Thank goodness is was really windy up here...otherwise, it would have just been too hot to walk out in the open like that.



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Four common sunscreen ingredients were shown to kill or bleach coral at extremely low concentrations (as low as one drop in 6.5 Olympic sized swimming pools).

  • Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3) - Sunscreen ingredient that disrupts coral reproduction, causes coral bleaching, and damages coral DNA. Oxybenzone is found in over 3500 sunscreen products worldwide.
  • Butylparaben - Preservative ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching.
  • Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) - Sunscreen ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching.
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) - Sunscreen ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching. Allowed in Europe and Canada, not in USA or Japan.

We have had great success finding common (cheap) sunscreen like Banana Boat without these ingredients. It is hard to find spray without oxybenzone, though - I have only found one.


There is a new Sunscreen out there now made specifically without all the above ingredients. It is made by Sea2Stream. It works great. It comes in different strengths plus they have shampoo & body wash. I suggest you check them out.

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Almost there...




Hours open and pricing...




When you pay for your ticket, they tell you that this ticket is also good for the other fort.



When you first walk in, it's like an open courtyard. We weren't sure where to start.




There were all kinds of little places to go in, read about the history, then many had areas with holes in them to look out.






Then we found this:




Ok, so it suggest that you start up 1 level on level 5. We just walked all the way up the hill to the fort and it looks like we were walking up some more.




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But first a potty stop. I'm pretty sure this isn't what it looked like back in the day.




Then up we went.




Beautiful up there and plenty of picture opportunities.




They even had one of these to take a closer look (and it was free). Sakari said she was searching for whales.






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Oh my gosh the breeze blowing in the windows felt so good I didn't want to leave!











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This is the Lighthouse. It was the first lighthouse built in Puerto Rico. The original lighthouse was built in 1846 and the newer lighthouse was built in 1876. Then it was hit in the Spanish-American War in 1898 and rebuilt in 1899. But it soon developed some structural problems and was demolished in 1906. The current lighthouse (below) was built in 1908.







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We headed back down to the 5th floor.






A golf course.....(according to above) and what it used to look like. I'd like to know where that swimming pool was about now.





We decided to head down to the 3rd level. No elevators here. You will encounter 77 steps leading down to the next level.




Sakari decided to not take the steps. It is actually steeper than what it looks and I warned her that if she tripped and started to tumble, there would be no stopping her, therefore, making her a human bowling ball and I was hoping there wouldn't be any pins in her way if it happened.




I was already dreading going back up them.




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So after confirming that the animals were still ok, Kolin informed me that although Loki was still alive and well...but, he was refusing to come in and there was tornado sirens going off.


Now remember that 2 days ago it was snowing. Today it was in the high 70's and there was a report of a tornado...about a mile away from my house that touched down.


Loki would not come in. Sakari was so worried that night and this would be her drawing of the night.


Her details included flying furniture, the roof is off the house, and poor Loki is trying to take cover under flying objects.





I packed our beach bags for tomorrow and we hit the bed actually pretty early tonight: 11:30pm


Up tomorrow would be a day in Martinique. A new place for us. :D



HI Kim,


You must live near Grove City, My Husband Works for AEP and was helping clean up all the damage from the Storms


Love your reviews

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I have absolutely no idea what these were or what significance they had. I would have thought there would be something there to tell you.




Beautiful site!




You see those steps in the distance?









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Well alrighty then. I guess we have discovered the real restrooms here.


I'm still scratching my head at this one. Do they lean up against the back wall and everything goes into that hole? Which flows out and around the fort in the area that was dug out about 4' deep that we seen while walking up here? (In the above pictures)





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Down to the 3rd level.









The "rooms" were on one side and the breeze was plentiful over there. The opposite side (which was the kitchen and dining) had absolutely no breeze. I can only imagine cooking in it.







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Somebody is missing somebody...




I guess we were about to head to Level 2, which was part of the original tower.













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And yet there's another level. So down we went to Level 1 .






No idea what this was and there was absolutely nothing down here to see. What a waste of steps I'll have to climb back up.







Whew I was wore out.




We made it back up to Level 3. I could have done without seeing level 2 or 1. It was SO hot in there. But, at least I can say that we were able to see the "original" part of the fort.




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Ok, here we go!!!





It took awhile with a few rest stops for the hubby, but we made it. We are both so out of shape these days.


The church





Hmm, do I really want to try to conquer the other fort after all that?




We headed out and I can finally say I've been to a fort/historical site before. I can't say I have changed my mind or point of view about seeing these types of things. They really don't interest me. But, trying to kill a few days on foot in OSJ and I'm glad I did it. I know there's a lot of history buffs and people that will go here during a port stop, so I figured it might benefit them to get an idea of what it's like.


We made it outside and actually sat for awhile and rested...in the sun. But, the wind was still blowing and it felt good. I had to take off my socks and shoes to air things out and it felt so good.




When I come back to Old San Juan and if we do stay here before hand, I will bring Sakari a kite to bring here. It was just so perfect.




The Dutch Attack of 1625 monument.




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We made it back down with no problems (down is always easy right?). We decided to take a different route back (hubby wanted to, once again, try to see if the skate shop was open).






BALLAJA is a sculpture commemorating the rescue of Ballaja by the Puerto Rican people and is located in the Plaza del Cuartel de Ballaja.


This sculpture has 3 bronze figures that are intertwined in a struggle. It depicts the rescue of the district of Ballaja. The figures are on top of a cloak, which represents "the forgotten" and a women represents "the district". The old man is presented as a predator bird of prey who has neglected the district. Between them is a young man who is rescuing the woman and symbolizes the new spirit of a generation of Puerto Ricans struggling to rescue his past and affirm the value of their identity.


This sculpture was installed in 1992 at the old barracks where Spanish troops were quartered.










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This is the Eugenio Maria de Hostos sculpture. It commemorates this famous Puerto Rican educator, philosopher, intellectual, lawyer, sociologist and independence advocate. It is located in the plaza near Case Blance (which people call it "skateboard park" due to the teenagers that hang out there skateboarding). <--how ironic since we were headed to the local skate shop around the corner.






I just love all the bright colors of all the places in OSJ.




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We finally made it to the skateshop and they were actually open. We met the owner and his friend that also hangs out there a lot (he's a skateboarder) and the hubby and them talked for hours.




It was a very small place. They talked about the local skateboarding and shops around there and the parks. They talked about the pro's from the area and business. They hubby showed them pictures of his shop and website and gave them pointers on "business" stuff.


They were really cool people and we enjoyed chatting with them.




The owner took me out back to show me the building. The store lined up and down this street were just stores and then you had a back door, which lead into an enclosed alley-like type of place. Everyone shared the same restroom at the end of the alley. The top was completely open above and they store things out there. No way for anyone to get to it unless you were renting the building.





Hubby continued to talk and talk and I went out and took a few pictures outside.








We finally decided to leave and the hubby did his share to support this local skate shop and small business owner and purchased a shirt with their skateshop name on it. Then off we went.


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The hubby ordered the Apple Pie A La Mode and said it was very good. As stuffed as I was...I had to try it and it was amazing!!! The apples were cooked just right!




After dinner, Sakari was off to the kids club to spend time with her own people and we were off to the casino for a bit. I won $32 and called it a night walking out a winner. LOL


We picked up the munchkin and headed back to the room where I wouldn't have homework tonight because I had planned ahead and did my test for the week last night. Go me!


Here was our towel animal.




The hubby would watch a little t.v (I might add that EVERY commercial was in Spanish for some reason) and I wanted to check in with my son...to see if the dog and fish were still alive. You see this pattern of non-trust here?


Our dog, Loki, does not like Kolin for some reason. From the minute we brought him home last year he has never liked Kolin. Kolin has never done anything to him but I can only speculate that he must have been abused by someone that either looked like Kolin or something. (Trust me, there's a story behind me thinking he was abused).


He loves his mini-human though and has a fit when she's out of his site (at least according to my blinds that I've had to replace several times).




Kolin has a hard time with him as far as getting him to come inside from going potty or anything else. He pretty much has to hide for Loki to walk past the door and into the house or go get my neighbor to call him in. It gets frustrating. He's a Husky...so he's a runner too and can not be caught.




But we love him just the same and Sakari would have a fit if anything would ever happen to him. She takes good care of him and she says "He's my brother too". So I guess I actually have 5 kids. :o


So far...Loki was doing just fine.


Loki looks just like our female Skyekura. We had her for 12 years & my hubby misses her everyday. She would throw a fit every time he came home from work, running from room to room and screaming. She was very vocal.

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We were getting pretty hungry by now and we had passed this little restaurant/bar, called Marilyns, several times when walking to the skateshop. They had a bar inside and seating outside with umbrellas and flowers and plants. It looked cute. I told the hubs we should stop and eat there.






The menu:






We placed our orders and enjoyed the breeze along this closed-type street.




Before long, our food came out. The hubby had ordered 10 wings, Sakari ordered 10 wings, and I ordered the chicken quesadillas.


The hubbys food looked good.




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My food definitely looked and tasted good.





Sakari's food...well, it never came. Daddy shared his with Sakari and when the waitress came back out, we let her know that Sakari didn't get her food. I guess there was a misunderstanding and she thought they were sharing. So, she brought out another order and then Sakari shared with daddy.


We had a visitor. I guess he didn't get his order either.




After eating, Sakari found a friend.




We paid our bill and off we went.


Here's the cigar house that we went to the day before.






Here's the outside of the pizza/Italian place we were at before. They also have seating upstairs.





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I did a little bit of shopping and found a change purse I just had to have.




Still walking around...like we didn't do enough of that earlier today.


I keep ending back around this area for some reason. I guess we just always cut down that alley.




And those dreaded stairs...




I wonder if you can have it your way here?







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Circling around and back toward the park.




Sakari wanted to stay for awhile. There is a drug store on the corner here and my head was pounding for some reason. I decided to go in to get some Aleve while she played with the birds and daddy rested on the bench.


Someone brought some type of hard cereal type food or something. They gave her a piece to feed the pigeons.




Too much fun!




We stayed until it was almost dark out.




It was time to head back to the hotel. After all, I still had a test to complete.




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