San Juan

We spent a couple of days exploring the city and getting some boat jobs done. The old city of San Juan is like a Spanish city, with colourful two storey houses on narrow streets. If you look inside the houses, you see they almost all have a courtyard, just like we saw in Cadiz. The streets are paved with blue cobble stones, which were used as ballast in Spanish ships on their way to the Caribbean. There is a lot of beautiful street art, on the houses as well as in the public space. Its completely different from the towns and cities we have been to in the Caribbean. We loved everything about this city, it was so tempting to get a fixer upper and just hang around here for a longer period of time. The Caribbean climate, the Spanish-American culture, the coloured houses, the friendly people..

On one evening, when we didn’t have internet on our phones yet, we got lost in the city. We had been shopping at Westmarine, which is an enormous marine store where we accidentally spent a couple of hours until it was dark outside. When we came out, we were carrying several bags and a boat chair and didn’t know the way back to the boat. We only knew it was very far away. There were no taxis. We decided to look for internet to get an Uber (taxi) and a place to eat. So we went to the first restaurant we found and ordered two menues and the wifi password. ‘Sorry, we don’t have internet..’ But we did get our stomachs full and moods lifted. On we went to a bar, where we ordered two beers and the wifi password. ‘Sorry, we don’t have internet..’ We explained our situation and the bartender went to see if anyone would share their internet with us. When she returned she had hustled us a ride with the bar owner!

Our ride smelled a bit like the touristic streets of Amsterdam and our chauffeur didn’t forget to bring his drink with him for the road. He made a whole tour out of it, including pointing out some places to be, introducing us to Puerto Rican reggaeton and his view on politics. Did you know that Puerto Ricans have an American passport but are not allowed to vote for presidency? He drove us around for 1,5 hours before dropping us off at the marina. We also got his phone number just in case we needed anything.

Thomas’ parents arrived to San Juan a few days after us. They booked an apartment in Fajardo, which was surprisingly hard to find – even with a GPS. It took them several hours, in the middle of the night, to find the nameless street which looked so obvious on Google Maps. They had already been up for more than 24 hours and getting more lost every attempt they did in finding the place. The B&B hostess was so worried that she kept texting and calling them through us, and eventually even picked them up once they knew where they were.

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Street life in Fajardo

We sailed to Fajardo as well the next day, and got a place in the marina. Fajardo wasn’t as interesting as San Juan, it seemed to be a touristic place for no obvious reason (other than pretty beaches). So we drove back to San Juan and showed them around in the city.

It was great to be able to travel by car for once, it took us all day to sail from San Juan to Fajardo, and by car it was just 1,5 hour! When we returned to Fajardo, we prepared to set sail to Culebra, an island just off Fajardo.

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