I left a huge chunk of my heart in San Juan. I am still trying to figure out how to get that piece back! My girlfriends Qui, Sly, Steph, Fuza , my sister Flo and I were in San Juan about a week ago for the Puerto Rico half marathon. We were all beyond thrilled and as we all finally met up in PR, there was tons of catching up to do, pictures to share, tea to sip on and so forth. We hadn't seen each other in a while so you can imagine our glee. By Friday we had all settled in and decided to see what Old San Juan had in store for us. First order of the day, THE FORT, or as the locals call it EL MORRO. I had seen many pictures of it on the internet, some saved on my pinterest board but there is nothing like actually being there!
The first time you see Castillo San Felipe Del Morro, your heart does a little flip. Well mine did!! I saw it jutting out from the corner of the horizon as our driver weaved his way on the tiny roads of Old San Juan. It is majestic! The name itself makes you want to stand attention and make a salute while you are at it. CASTILLO SAN FELIPE DEL MORRO or simply, EL MORRO. Before you approach EL MORRO, you are taken in by the blue waters that seem to surround it, crushing upon it's walls incessantly as if a lover longing for a caress. EL MORRO is unfazed. Unbothered and undoubtedly oblivious to the tourists gawking at it or the water surrounding it. It's unperturbed by the breeze, the nonchalant locals, the mighty winds, the car, the earth spinning on it's own axis, everyone!!!!
It's been around since 1540! That explains it.
Our driver had as alight the car on a round-about that had a tarmacked road that led you towards EL MORRO! The tarmac road was about half a mile long and was sandwiched by well manicured grass that extended towards the walls that surrounded EL MORRO. When you first fix your eyes on it, deep sense of wonder blossoms within you. Or perhaps it the awe. A fascination of some sort. Like bees drawn to nectar, we zero in on the fort. We headed towards EL MORRO armed with our phones and cameras not to conquer like armies of centuries past but to capture memories that would stay with us forever.
Built in 1540, by King Charles the fifth of Spain. It was to defend the port of San Juan by controlling entry to it's harbor. Over the next four hundred years, other complex structures were built to keep up with the new military technology. The walls that surround the fort took fifty years to build. A boy would be born and live to see his grandchildren while the fort was in construction.
As you enter in to the El Morro's courtyard, sunny painted yellow walls, with snow white arches and pillars stand there to welcome you. Within the arches are small rooms that housed the army, the kitchen, food storage areas, ammunition and other forms of artillery. Going down the steps as you approach the battlement walls which had been built to house in cannons that would be used on enemies approaching the harbor. There are endless labyrinths of vaults, bunkers, dungeons and walkways. get mesmerized by old structures. The walls, the doors, the little nooks and crannies. I love to take it all in. They all have a story to tell. A cool draught of air whips over the waves, bringing a taste of the ocean with it. I love heights, hence daringly stood on an inclined embankment to watch the waves pound the ancient rocks with it's white spray high in the air. Flo could be heard out there telling me to be cautious. Oh thy sister... :)
If you ever find yourself in Puerto rico, take a 10min cab ride to El morro. The entrance to the fort was only five dollars but the experience, the discovery, the journey to this centuries old pile of rocks left us feeling much richer.
Ahhhh here's the thing with travel, it lives you speechless then turns you into a story teller. I will have a post on the half marathon that the ladies and I did, the waffles we ate, and the absolutely amazing adventure we had!!! I am itching for my next adventure but for now, I will feed on the memories.
Bag: Maasai Market
Sunnies: Street Vendor :)
Thanks for stopping by!