Old San Juan

Because we had some sight-seeing we wanted to do on the main island of Puerto Rico, we weighed anchor at 6:40 am on Thursday morning for the 4-hour, 27.2 nautical mile trip back to Sunbay Marina in Fajardo. The fishing lines were out, but we had nothing to show for it. We did have one hit on a line, but before we could start reeling it in, he was gone.

Sunrise in the Spanish Virgin Islands

Sunrise in the Spanish Virgin Islands

Leaving Culebrita in the early morning.

Leaving Culebrita in the early morning.

Hanging out on deck on our way back to Fajardo

Hanging out on deck on our way back to Fajardo

Securing the lines in our slip at Sunbay Marina

Securing the lines in our slip at Sunbay Marina

Upon our arrival back on the mainland, we quickly tidied up the boat, found a rental car and drove in to Old San Juan, the historic colonial section of the city. The original settlement in the area was founded in 1508 by Juan Ponce De Léon. That settlement was abandoned and moved to the present site in 1509, obtaining the name “San Juan” in 1521, honoring the name originally given to the entire island by Christopher Columbus (for John the Baptist).

The Streets of Old San Juan

The Streets of Old San Juan

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These blue cobblestones which make up the streets of Old San Juan are made from the slag which served as ballast in sugar-carrying ships in the 16th century.

These blue cobblestones which make up the streets of Old San Juan are made from the slag which served as ballast in sugar-carrying ships in the 16th century.

The Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) statue in Old San Juan.

The Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) statue in Old San Juan.

The ladies did the shopping version of a city tour, while Justin and I visited some churches and other historic sites.

Old San Juan Cathedral

Old San Juan Cathedral

The nave of San Juan Cathedral

The nave of San Juan Cathedral

Looking down the transept of San Juan Cathedral at a side chapel.

Looking down the transept of San Juan Cathedral at a side chapel.

One of the stained-glass windows along the side of the church in what appears to be an empty chapel.

One of the stained-glass windows along the side of the church in what appears to be an empty chapel.

The memorial marker of Juan Ponce de Léon, who is buried here in the San Juan Cathedral.  He died in 1521 after being shot in the stomach by Indians in Florida.  He was taken to Cuba where he died and then was buried in Puerto Rico.

The memorial marker of Juan Ponce de Léon, who is buried here in the San Juan Cathedral. He died in 1521 after being shot in the stomach by Indians in Florida. He was taken to Cuba where he died and then was buried in Puerto Rico.

The San José Church, one of the earliest surviving examples of 16th-century Spanish Gothic architecture in the Western hemisphere.  Unfortunately, it is undergoing renovations which kept us from entering.

The San José Church, one of the earliest surviving examples of 16th-century Spanish Gothic architecture in the Western hemisphere. Unfortunately, it is undergoing renovations which kept us from entering.

La Capilla del Cristo, a tiny chapel along the walls of Old San Juan, was built in the 1750s to commemorate a miracle.  A young man and his horse went off the cliff here when someone cried, "Christ of Good Health, Save Him!"  The horse died, but the young man survived.

La Capilla del Cristo, a tiny chapel along the walls of Old San Juan, was built in the 1750s to commemorate a miracle. A young man and his horse went off the cliff here when someone cried, “Christ of Good Health, Save Him!” The horse died, but the young man survived.

The exterior of Casa Blanca, the 16th century home of Ponce De Léon and his family.

The exterior of Casa Blanca, the 16th century home of Ponce De Léon and his family.

Who knew the Piña Colada was invented here!

Who knew the Piña Colada was invented here!

Dinner in Old San Juan

Dinner in Old San Juan

Dinner at the "Salty Bull"

Dinner at the “Salty Bull”

We finished the evening with tapas at a favorite restaurant of mine (from previous visits to Old San Juan) called Toro Salao (“salty bull”). Bullfighting posters decorate the two-story-high walls, setting the mood for enjoying their delicious tapas.

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