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The trip that almost wasn’t!

J and I got to Union Station on Friday night thinking we were plenty early for the 7:53 pm train to New York.  And we were…except for the fact that train service had been cancelled (a fact that we didn’t realize at the time).  After waiting in the bus line for an hour, then trekking up Science Hill to pick up a Zipcar that had not been returned, I had decided to call it quits.  But then we made one last attempt, with J driving me to the South Norwalk train station.  We weren’t sure if we would make it, but the train turned out to be delayed anyway…  I finally arrived in the city at 1 am – leaving very little time for sleep before we had to catch a 4:30 am train to JFK (by the way, How I Met Your Mother really captured the “ambiance” of the late night/early morning LIRR train).  But all was good.  Because a short nap on the plane led to this view:

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Our hotel (the Marriot Stellaris) was a short drive away from the airport.  We had a great view from our room on the 20th floor:

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And direct access to the beach!

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After lounging outside for a bit (and a brief stint in the ocean – the waves were super strong!), we wandered down the road in search of food.  We found Orozco’s, which didn’t seem too touristy.  We had our first mofongo of the trip – mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish of mashed fried green plantains mixed with meat.  It’s really delicious.

Chicken mofongo

Chicken mofongo

The pork was really good too – very tender and flavorful.

Pernil with sides of rice & beans and fried sweet plantains

Pernil with sides of rice & beans and fried sweet plantains

Then we tried walking to Old San Juan because the waiter told us it would be about a 30 minute walk.  Well, we ended up taking a cab after walking for half an hour and not seeing Old San Juan in sight (but we did get some pretty pictures along the way!).

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(You can actually see the Marriott near the right edge of the photo.)

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The cab dropped us off right by this beautiful fort:

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Castillo de San Cristóbal

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We proceeded to wander around Old San Juan for a bit – the area had a very European feel with painted houses and cobblestone roads.

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Then we sat and rested before cabbing back to our hotel, where we showered and got all prettied up for dinner.  And then we cabbed right back to Old San Juan for dinner at Dragonfly.

Cocktails

Cocktails – I had the Dragon Rum Punch in the lower left corner

Sushi combo - two threesomes and a lounge

Sushi combo – two tropical threesome rolls and a lounge roll

Along with the above, we also had an order of Flor de Atun (crispy fried sushi rice tostadas topped with tuna sashimi and served with ponzu seaweed salad) and a big bowl of Dragon Fried Rice with chorizo.  After our leisurely dinner, we cabbed over to Club Brava…where we were super early (which meant we didn’t have to pay the cover charge – hurray!).  We danced for a bit, then called it a night.  Whew.  Twas a long, but very fun day.

Sunday, we decided to be smart and take a bus to Old San Juan.  We got suckered by this guy into eating at his restaurant.  The food was good though.

Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice)

Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice)

More mofongo!

More mofongo!

Then we took the ferry and another short cab ride to visit the Bacardi Distillery.  We were a bit early, so we cashed in one of our free drink tickets.

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Wolfberry! Woof woof!

And then it was time for our tour.

Too bad we didn't get to go inside the actual distillery.

Too bad we didn’t get to go inside the actual distillery.

So much Bacardi!

So much Bacardi!

After the tour, we used the second of our drink tickets.

Enjoying our drinks under the bat.

Enjoying our drinks under the bat.

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Rock Coconut

And then it was back to Old San Juan, where we had a super early dinner at Punto De Vista.  (Yes, all we had done this day was eat and drink.)

The beer selections in Puerto Rico really impressed me.

The beer selections in Puerto Rico really impressed me.

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Argentinian skirt steak wraps

Argentinian skirt steak wraps with fried sweet plaintains

After our granny dinner, we tried to take the bus back to our hotel, but failed, and ended up taking yet another cab.  Ah well.  We walked along the beach before sunset and then spent a little time in the pool before heading back to our room and chatting on the balcony (with a bottle of champagne!).

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Around midnight, we got hungry and walked down the block for a snack.  It’s been awhile since I last had a grilled cheese sandwich!

Monday was our last full day on the island, so we had to spend it wisely.  How?  By lounging on the beach, of course.  We did take a “break” for a snack at Buns.

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Massive hot dog topped with sauerkraut, relish, ketchup and mustard

And then it was back to the beach!

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Monday, I convinced my friend to take a walk with me to a local coffee shop – Hacienda San Pedro.  So much better than Starbucks!!

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Cappuccino and a quesito

We wandered around for a bit before having our last lunch at Pinky’s.  Too bad they were out of mallorca.  So I got a smoothie instead – papaya, strawberry, and banana.  I got a whole lot of smoothie – they handed me the actual blender!

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It was a fun time – and it’s back to the airport tomorrow for my trip to London with J!

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