San Juan, Puerto Rico

We arrived in this port at noon after passing the impressive fortress of Castillo
San Filipe del Morro, started in 1538, (photo) which guard the entry to the harbour.  Christopher Columbus landed at Puerto Rico in 1493 with Ponce de Leon as a crew member.  Ponce de Leon was then assigned by Spain to colonize the island in 1508. San Juan was established as the capital in 1521.  The island is now a U.S. territory and the residents are U.S. citizens.   I had been here twice before and hoped to go to the newer part of town to visit the various art museums found there, but they are closed on Mondays so I once again took the always pleasant stroll around the old town where there are a lot of high end outlet stores in addition to the usual jewellery stores and souvenir shops along with restaurants and museums.  I did not go to the fortress at the other end of the old town, the Castillo de San Cristobal, but I happened to have a photo on a camera card from a 2009 visit so I include it here along with one that I took from the ship today as we docked.  The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The buildings are brightly coloured and usually have iron balconies (photos).  Two other landmarks are the old convent, now a hotel (photo), and the San Juan Cathedral (photo).  I also found an aptly named Pigeon Park (photo). Tomorrow we dock in Saint Maarten where I am taking a tour to various local artist’s studios.

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