The weekend passed quickly as usual, but for once I recorded quite a few of our activities with the camera. Here’s what we did:
On Friday evening O came home relatively early, i.e before 7 o’clock. Not as early as I expected as he called me around 5 to say that he was on his way but then he had stopped to talk to a colleague on the way to the car… That is why I usually tell him to not call me until he is IN the car!! When he came home we headed straight to Costco in Carolina (15-20 minutes away by car) for a big grocery shopping. Our Mexican friends were arriving this weekend so we needed to stock up on food!
After leaving the groceries at home, we walked to our favourite burger place – Fuddrucker’s. O has figured out that buying one BIG burger is much cheaper than ordering two small (saving 4-5 dollars). So, we order a one pound Portabella mushroom burger and then share it! Yummy!
Saturday morning was spent relaxing and having breakfast by the balcony – we have our breakfast-making tasks divided; O makes toast with cucumber, tomato and cheese (plus salami for him) and I make the cappuccino. We also eat porridge or cereal, and fresh fruit and drink juice. The only thing missing from our weekend morning ritual is a newspaper! But at least this way we talk instead!
After a relaxed few hours, we started tidying up the apartment in anticipation for our Mexican guests. However, all of a sudden they called us to tell us that they were still in San Diego! I immediately thought that they had been refused to board the plane because of the swine flu! Fortunately not at all, the flight has just been overbooked and they had taken the offer of two free future tickets, upgrading to business all the way to San Juan the day after and a hotel paid for in SD. Not a bad deal!
I discovered when we parked in OSJ that you have a great view over the beautiful houses on street Recinto Sur from the 4th floor of the parking garage! Photo tip for visitors!
As our guests were not arriving on Saturday afternoon, we decided to go to the Old San Juan for a walk. I had been told by my French friend E that there was a nice French café that we should try. The only thing I remembered from the directions was that it was in the crossing of Calle del Sol and another street, and that it had a French name! I told O that we only needed to walk down Calle del Sol and we would find it… and we did – Saint Germain on Calle del Sol – Calle San Justo, but unfortunately it was just closing (at 15.00). It looked nice though so we will come back another day.
Calle San José
We continued our stroll in the old town and ended up at Plaza de Armas, and we couldn’t resist nipping into Marshall’s to see if we could find some bargains… An hour later we came out, $60 poorer but with two Ralph Lauren hand towels (at $2 each and matching some RL towels we already have), a Pottery Barn interior design book (for my collection; I now have Photos, Bedrooms, Kids’ rooms, Bathrooms and Work spaces), a cute Calvin Klein onesies-set of 5 for a friend’s newborn baby, a plain white sauceboat (såsskål), a Nike exercise top, a Kitchen Aid egg slicer (finally!) and two striped cushions for the sofa.
Plaza de Armas, OSJ
O suggested that we get a “fika” in La España, the bakery and café in Isla Verde / Villamar, which I thought was an excellent idea! The place was almost empty, 5 o’clock is apparently the slow period between lunch and early dinner, but the glass counters were as full as ever with delicious-looking pastries and cakes… O chose a big quesito and I went for a mil hoja (mille-feuilles / thousand-layers cake / tusenbladstårta) together with our cafés con leche. We really like La España, it is quite cheap, the staff is almost entirely Spanish and it has this cosy old atmosphere despite the location along the big road to the airport and the flat-screen TVs…
When we were leaving the bakery we realised that the tv-screens were showing the Eurovision song contest on TVE! We stopped to watch for a few minutes and could conclude that Norway was going to win with a big margin! Eurovision is kind of special for us since we met at a Eurovision party four years ago, but actually we are not huge fans!
The bakery is just next to a graveyard, where the ad announces that there are graves and tomb niches available…
In the evening we went to the cinema… can it be the first time in 2009? Maybe we went to the cinema in January but this was definitely the first time since we came back from Europe in March! O chose the film, The Soloist and it was better than I expected. The film tells the true story of the unlikely friendship between a LA-journalist (Robert Downey Jr) and a homeless but very talented musician (Jamie Foxx).
Our Sunday morning looked more or less like the previous morning… Breakfast, tidying up, O made a banana cake (pan de guineo as the Puerto Ricans call it) and then the Mexicans called – to tell us that they had arrived 1h15 early from Chicago! I guess the Sunday flight doesn’t have the exact same timetable as on Saturdays. We picked up D & J at the airport, and it was great to see them again – we visited them in Tijuana last year. O knows J from his Erasmus (exchange) year in Haarlem, the Netherlands ten years ago!
After a simple lunch at home, with Swedish B who came by for coffee and banana cake, we went for a walk on the beach. I love the light and atmosphere on the beach just before sunset… A few people are lingering on the beach but the hotels have packed up their beach chairs, the surfers are waiting for one last break and the sand is a little cooler than during the day. At Ventana al mar, the local square by the beach in Condado, some women were doing yoga!
The beach in Condado before sunset
The day was finished off with dinner and a stroll in the Old San Juan. O and I were a little disappointed with the restaurant we tried for the first time, but at least the visitors got to hear the coquís (frogs) while having dinner and taste some Puerto Rican mojitos!
A street light in the Old San Juan
An evening walk in the Old San Juan is not complete without a stroll on Paseo la Princesa outside the city walls. At the moment there is a beautiful photo exhibition of the French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand – I love his photos of the earth from above (I got the book for my 30th birthday). Check out some of his amazing photos from Puerto Rico (and other countries) on the following link*. I actually told our visitors to visit the Mar Chiquita beach (second photo) on their way to the Arecibo radio telescope (fifth photo) today…
The Raíces fountain by Paseo la Princesa, Old San Juan
*) You can even download the photos for free as [computer] wallpaper for your personal use.