Back from my morning power-walk to Ocean Park, I am relaxing with a direct imported issue of Damernas värld, De Palmas and Axelle Red (French and Belgian music) on the stereo, a good cup of tea and thinking that life is pretty good!
It’s great to have our own providers of what we miss from Europe – P & M brought 3 Swedish magazines, tons of tea and Belgian dark chocolate (for baking my special chocolate cake). It is almost impossible to find black tea in Puerto Rico, except for Lipton Yellow label, which I absolutely hate, and Earl Grey sold at Starbuck’s, so I am so happy that the guests brought me tea – yummy tea from Mariage Frères (a French tea brand, actually mentioned in the last issue of Hus & Hem).
On Monday afternoon I brought the visitors to Old San Juan, and how they loved it! It is so beautiful with the pastel coloured buildings – it is impossible to get bored of strolling around admiring the architecture, taking photos… We walked up to El Morro – the fortress at the end of the peninsula, but it was closing time so the guests went back yesterday and visited it after their guided tour of the rainforest El Yunque. They said that it was definitely worth a visit, I haven’t actually done it yet!
The cemetery Santa Maria between El Morro (the fortress) and La Perla (the no-go slum outside the city walls of Old San Juan)
I was quite surprised to hear lots of European languages in the outlet shops on Calle del Cristo – Italian, French, Portuguese, German and even my own dialect – skånska!! I have never seen and heard so many Europeans in Puerto Rico, as usually you only see American tourists.
One of my favourite walks in Old San Juan, along Paseo la Princesa at dusk
After our walk along Paseo la Princesa at dusk, we arrived down to the piers and we found the explanation of the European invasion – there were FIVE huge cruise ships docked in the harbour. Among them, one called Club Med 2 and another one called Costa Mediterranea (French and Italian cruise companies). However, these ships were tiny compared to the huge, American ships we saw, and the lines to board the ships were loooong!
The guests and I discussed if we would like to go on a cruise… O and I have been recommended to do a cruise while we live in Puerto Rico, which I don’t understand – why would we take a boat and stress around the Caribbean when we could go for weekend trips to the different islands and actually have time to see something? I have a feeling that as a cruise passenger you end up in every tourist trap imaginable!? I have seen cruise passengers being herded around San Juan, El Yunque, the Bacardi factory etc with 5-minute stops for photo-ops in strange places (today even on my street when I came back from my power-walk!).
I also did a little internet research yesterday on Swedish bloggers writing about San Juan and Puerto Rico – I found quite a few who had been on Caribbean cruises, and had visited San Juan in an afternoon… (and lots of posts on Puerto Rico, the town on Gran Canaria!). I understand that cruises are a way to see as many islands as possible in a week or two, but is it the right balance between quantity and quality?
No, the three of us agreed that cruise travelling is not for us. We prefer independent travelling; being able to decide when, where and how long we want to discover new places! What about you, would you take a cruise?*
*) I know at least one blogger who went on a Caribbean cruise (and met her boyfriend) but I’m guessing that she was travelling in her role as a journalist!?