San Juan, Puerto Rico

2018 HAL World Cruise

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

We were curious to see San Juan again.  The 2017 Hurricane season was very damaging to Puerto Rico and the repairs are on-going!  Ironically, just a few days ago, a contractor managed to knock down a critical power-line and wipe out the electricity!  Happily, power was restored by the time we arrived and Old Town San Juan looked as lovely as ever!  The buildings had been cleaned and many were newly painted.  Although lots of street signs were missing, the overhead electric wires were firmly replaced and in working order; the roofs were repaired; everything was neat and clean!

We awoke in San Juan to a bright and sunny morning.
We awoke in San Juan to a bright and sunny morning.
Old San Juan looked as lovely as we remembered.
Old San Juan looked as lovely as we remembered.
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It’s an easy walk off the ship and into town–which is, literally, right across the street.
Columbus Square
Columbus Square
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A tiny park across the street from both San Juan Bautista Cathedral and the El Convento Hotel. Love the old tree!
The San Juan Bautitsta Cathedral, containing the tomb of Ponce de Leon.
The San Juan Bautitsta Cathedral, containing the tomb of Ponce de Leon.
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The El Convento Hotel was once the nunnery of the Cathedral. Today, it is a lovely hotel and restaurant across the street from the Cathedral and just up the hill from Pigeon Park and the Chapel of Christ the Savior.
Looking towards La Forteleza, the Governor's Residence.
Looking towards La Forteleza, the Governor’s Residence.
Looking towards the Governor's Residence at the end of the street.
Looking towards the Governor’s Residence at the end of the street.
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The San Juan Gate. There are five gates in the Old City Wall. This gate was used by Spanish dignataries. They would enter the city and then walk up the street to the Cathedral and thank God for their safe arrival.
Shoppping in Old Town.
Shoppping in Old Town.
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Looking at Harmony of the Seas on the pier as she prepares to depart San Juan. We will follow her out a little later.

 

This was our last port-of-call for the 2018 HAL World Cruise!  We’ll be home in a few days and must now get busy packing up for the disembarkation!  Thank you for joining us on this adventure.  We love to hear from you as we travel; and it is our sincere hope you find these destinations as interesting as we do!

See you, again, next time!

Praia, Ilha de Santiago, Cape Verde

2018 HAL World Cruise

Thursday, April 19, 2018

It was the Portuguese who settled the island of Santiago in 1462.  Antonio da Noli discovered the island and built a garrison in what is now Cidade Velha (Old Town) but was known then as Ribeira Grande.  It was transcontinental slavery that made Ribeira Grande the second richest city in the Portuguese realm.   Praia, which means “beach” was a coastal community about 9 miles away.  So, when French pirates attacked Ribeira Grande in 1712, the inhabitants moved to the plateau above Praia.  Today, Praia is the capital of Cape Verde.

We found Praia to be charming and more Mediterranean than African.  Many of the buildings date to the Portuguese era, the sidewalks are decorated with the signature Portuguese designs, and although U.S. dollars are accepted and English is widely spoken, the music is exotic and reminds you there is an African influence.

We took the ship’s shuttle up to the plateau and spent the entire day walking around, shopping, visiting the sites and enjoying the local brew!!!!

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On the dock in Praia, Cape Verde looking at the city before us. The original “Praia” is on the coast and the fortified city is on the plateau.
Taking the shuttle up to the plateau.
Taking the shuttle up to the plateau.
Seen while on the shuttle to town.  Talk about great posture!
Seen while on the shuttle to town. Talk about great posture!
Looking back at the MS Amsterdam.
Looking back at the MS Amsterdam.
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The cannon along the old fortified city wall looks like it’s aimed directly at our ship!
looking down to the coastal part of the city.
looking down to the coastal part of the city.
The Church
The Church
Interior of the Church.
Interior of the Church.
The Presidential Residence
The Presidential Residence
Walking through town.
Walking through town.
The colorful market!
The colorful market!
Everything looked good!
Everything looked good!
The people were very nice!
The people were very nice!
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As we entered the square, we found a concert taking place! We quickly snagged a table and spent a lovely time sampling the local brew and enjoying the music! Morna is the music of Cape Verde. Sounds like an Argentine tango with Cape Verdean lyrics.

 

We are now on our way across the Atlantic and will arrive at our final port-or-call, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday.  The party is almost over.