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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A bike tour through San Juan!

Our first port of call, and a short one! As far as day light hours goes, that is….we pulled into port about 3pm, and we were there until 11pm, but we only had 3 hours of daylight left to cram in all we could!

Being as I had lots of beach time and boat time and snorkel time on the last cruise ((Quickly translate that into SUNBURN time, ya’ll!!)) and was not really in the mood for repeating those activities, DH and I did something REALLY fun this time ---we planned bicycle activities for THREE of our port days!

This should be easy-peasy! After all, I was just ON a bike last---- ummm---- well ---- JULY!?

All of a sudden I had the feeling I should have packed bike shorts! A little padding would have been a welcome addition, and I’m not talking about the kind of padding I’ve gained from too much travel food over the past year!

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It was hot when we disembarked….only about 90 degrees! We met our group at the end of the pier, and we were walked over to where our bikes were ready and waiting for us. My first sigh of relief! GRANNY BIKES with large comfy seats….no gears, pedal backwards to brake. This is a good sign!

But the San Juan traffic is hot and heavy and hectic! Our guides were quite the dare-devils getting right in there and stopping traffic for us to cross intersections, etc! The one hard thing for me, the shutter bug that I am….it is impossible to take pictures when you are pedaling like mad to keep up. I kept seeing things that I wanted to take pics of…houses with cool tiled fronts! Oops, there it goes!! Zoooom---maybe we’ll catch that on the way back? Oh heck, just quit worrying about it and ENJOY THE RIDE!!

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One of the first landmarks we did stop at was the capitol building. Beautifully constructed of marble, The capitol building was started in 1919, and inaugurated in 1929. It’s also commonly referred to as Palacio de las Leyes, or the Palace of Laws.

I took several pics of the inside….of course, phone cam pics are not the greatest in inside light..but check out the inside of the dome! And I loved the marble staircase as well :

There’s even a pic of DH looking up as the guide tells us what all the different corner depictions represent ---it was just beautiful!

On our bikes again and off we went, riding single file through the city, traffic being stopped for us, just soaking up the feel of what San Juan is all about!

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This was the one pic I managed to catch of DH and our guide on the bike path section ((We didn’t always have this)) telling him little bits about San Juan ---as for me..it was all I could do to pedal pedal pedal to keep up!

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We stopped at a park for a water break…..thank heavens! My legs needed it! Granny bike or no, did I tell you this was a 12.5 mile tour?

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Little snaps of local buildings --- we stopped at one local place for fruit smoothies. Clear out of the touristy area, into the REAL San Juan. I’m sure all the locals out enjoying the evening were thinking….crazy tourists! It’s too hot to be on a bike today! They were enjoying the shade of umbrella tables, families out enjoying the Sunday evening beauty.

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A lot of businesses are not open on Sunday afternoons….but that was fine with me! How was I to shop, and how could I get anything back to the ship on that bike anyway!?

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I just love colorful buildings! There is a time and a right place for it I guess. I’m not saying I’d be happy if my neighbor painted their house purple, but when I am somewhere where it is part of the culture, I just love it!

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Hello, pussy gato!! This little girl was just there in the midst of all the people in the marketplace where we got our smoothie! DH says…don’t pet the animals!! I know…but she is so beautiful, I at least have to get close enough to get a picture! Look at those eyes!

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We rode past more beaches as the sun quickly began to set. Our guides said we needed to really pedal fast to get back to where we started by dark time. Our guides had lights on their bikes, but ours didn’t! Oh pictures, I got so FEW of you on this day!

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Getting darker still….we are waiting for the slow pokes to make it up the hill behind us..LOL

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Quick, DH! Take a pic……can you see the cars with lights on over my shoulder? And believe me…the hair is so sweaty it’s a better idea to leave the helmet ON to hide it!

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Our final photo shoot place! This is the statue of John the Baptist, whom San Juan is named after. He looks ANGRY doesn’t he? Pointing back over his head, out to sea? What’s the deal with this? :cD

So…our guides had us all mimic him for our silly group photo…

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Don’t we look JUST LIKE the statue? LOL! What a fun fun tour! I’d recommend this one to anyone…we saw a lot of the city, we got away from all the touristy areas, and had a blast while getting some beautiful ocean views and great exercise!

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One more of us all in front of the Capitol building! Awesome!

It was completely dark by the time we got our bikes back to the starting point, and we walked our way through piles of cruising tourists to get back to the ship, sweaty, tired, and exhilarated. There was another ship in port besides ours, the Carnival Victory. What a nice ship that was too! Our first thought was that we would go back to our room, take showers, get rid of the sweaty clothes and sweaty helmet hair and go back out to dinner in Old San Juan….

But we were both so tired by this point that we wimped out on finding some San Juan night life, grabbed our dinner in the Windjammer and spent a quiet evening on the ship instead.

Afterall --- the next port of call was just the next morning in St Thomas, and we had bike excursion #2 to deal with.

Yep --- at this point I was REALLY wishing for those bike shorts I’d left back home!

9 comments:

  1. Bonnie....you're in great shape....you probably were leading the pack! That Capitol building is beautiful....what a great idea to bike your way through the islands. You'll see so much more than on foot.

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  2. A biking tour! What a great idea!

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  3. I wish I could have taken that ride with you. It sounds like great fun. One question, did they have tandem bikes as an option? We love riding ours and it makes those hills so much easier to tackle.

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  4. We loved our time in San Juan. We were staying at a resort and spent two days in Old San Juan. The first day was with a tour guide who extended the time for those of us who wanted to stay with him. It was fascinating! Ours was a walking tour so we did get to take photos!

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  5. Too funny! Guess maybe you should add spinning to your workout routine. Can't wait to hear how ride 2 went the next day.

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  6. Anonymous11:48 AM EST

    There were so many lovely things in this post, but what really caught my attention was the capitol building: "Palace of Laws." For some reason, I find that name strangely beautiful and evocative in a noble, 'democracy-as-an-ideal' sort of way.

    Thanks for showing us a little slice of a culture that many of us will never see in person. Leah Shannon

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  7. Bonnie - I just love how you are always game for an adventure! What an amazing way to see the city. The problem with granny bikes is, no gears! So, you gotta huff and puff up those hills. I can't wait to hear how the other 2 rides turned out :-)

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  8. I LOVE going on virtual vacation with you. THANK YOU.~

    Lucy~

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  9. Hey, I liked the ride through the town without breaking a sweat. Thanks.

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