Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A slow start to a “killer” day. Following a late breakfast, the Captain had the foredeck opened up at 10:30 for the best view sailing into San Juan Harbor. It is always a remarkable sight even though I have seen it three or four times. We let the crowds get off for the “excursions” as we took advantage of the cell phone service available since we were in a US port. After a sandwich we got off to discover that the warning about big crowds in the city today because of the Feast of Epiphany was no exaggeration. We walked up to the Central Square where Christopher Columbus stands on a high column, and then took a taxi up to El Muro for a look at the walls and the fortifications dating from the mid 1500s. (photo attached)

It was easy to spend an hour at the Fort which has quite a history and is now a US National Park. From the Fort we made our way down to a beautiful Avenue that is a pedestrian zone with holiday craft stalls set up for Epiphany. We walked around the bottom of the wall to the St John Gate and back up into Old San Juan and the tree covered street that leads from San Juan Gate to the Cathedral. Unfortunately the Cathedral was closed for the holiday. We stopped to get out of the heat and the crowd at a Restaurant I found on previous visits. The Restaurant is in one of the oldest homes of Old San Juan, and they serve a great pitcher of Sangria.

The taxi ride back to the ship from near the Cathedral was long and slow because of the traffic and one-lane narrow streets of Old San Juan. After 30 minutes in the taxi, I called it “quits” and to the relief of Luciano, our driver, we walked back to the ship leaving him to turn around and get out of the crowd. There was a great Caribbean Bar-B-Q on the aft Lido deck tonight as the sun set with a refreshing breeze. It was hot today, and having left my hat in the car back in Ft Lauderdale, I now have a burned head!

“The Hundred Foot Journey” was a movie we watched after supper, and I had not seen it before. It is a wonderful story, and a great film. Following the movie we made our way to the Vista Lounge for the evening show, a comedian who had us laughing for a full hour. Making fun of the clients who choose Holland America, he proposed that speedos be banned from the public areas because they frighten children, and then went on to say that one walk past either pool made him think it was the movie set for “Cocoon.” He also observed that the “Teeth Whitening Seminar” was a “drop off” and “pick up” session. He also insisted that on this ship children have no business nor any reason to be in the hot tubs. He thought that the only part of a child’s anatomy that might need the comfort of hot water would be their thumbs worn out from texting.

So this day of walking up hills and down hills in 85 degree plus temperatures left us worn out; but I knew this would be the toughest day. We set sail at 7:30 pm and will be at St Martin at 8:00 in the morning. Our call will be at Philipsburg on the Dutch side of the island. 15.01.06 San Juan Fort15.01.06 San Juan Old Town from the Ship

Father Tom Boyer