Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Our next stop was shamelessly touristy. This is not to say that it wasn't gorgeous, or an amazing way to spend the day (on the beach, drinking pina coladas, and playing in the 80 degree ocean, with our ship right in front of us), but it definitely was not the day to go looking for cultural experiences. This was our port at Grand Turks, in Turks and Caicos.
So when you arrive there you get off the ship and travel through a maze of extremely over priced shops.
Then you make your way to one of two places. The first option, the beach, white sugar sand beaches that stretch on forever, lined with bars and cantinas and the turquoise water that leads to our very own ship just beyond the buoys.
The second option, was the pool.
Margaritaville offered a perfect pool, complete with palm trees, entertainment and an abundance of drinks.
|A little fun at the entrance of Margaritavile|
Beyond that there is nothing. That is one of the reasons it was so touristy, there weren't really any authentic, or cultural experiences even if you wanted one, but the sky was cloudless and the sun was hot. So, to start off, Ryan and Kayla weren't feeling very well this day either so we ended up splitting up. Laura and I ended up choosing the beach.
Our day included watching people ride the banana boat, walking up and down the beach, making friends with a local pooch, and a whole lot of lying around
(there might have been a few libations involved as well).
It was the PERFECT way to spend the last stop on our trip, the day seemed to last forever, and our skin just soaked up the sun. It was so relaxing and even though, I felt sooooo touristy, I still loved it. Later when we were headed back to the ship, we ran back into Ryan and Kayla, they had chosen the pool option and said that it was a blast watching all of the little contests and shows they had planned. So no matter which option you choose, in Grand Turks you can't go wrong with drinks and the sun. :) After our tiring day on the beach we watched the boat leave port
|Bye Grand Turk|
and watched us sail away from the other cruise ship that had docked there,
|Bye other cruise ship.|
and the sun sink into the ocean.
We lingered a little longer hoping our vacation could just last a little longer, and then decided to get ready for dinner as we sailed back towards home. But just because the cruise was over, doesn't mean there isn't more to tell. I have a few more blogs to share about the experience, so get ready for some crazy food, and one last adventure day. So until next time...I'll be writing :) Oh and ps I'll give you a hint on the next post....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
So the next day was the day I decided that I like cruises. The reason for this being that the day before we spent the day in a tropical island paradise and the next we woke up in a vast city filled with cultural and historical significance. We were in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was so excited to go to Puerto Rico. The island has everything from castles
I was excited to explore. Sadly, my accomplices Ryan and Kayla weren't feeling too well this day, so Laura and I had to venture out on our own. We got off the ship, grabbed a map and just started walking. I wanted to get a feel for this place, really get to know it, so we just walked. No destination in mind, just wandered the winding cobblestone streets. It was gorgeous, every building was a different color. Oranges, reds, pinks, blues, purples, yellows, and greens lined the streets.
Beautiful wooden doors,
or white shutters accented each one giving each its own unique flair. It was stunning. Every once in a while though you would come across some urban decay, a run down building, but that in itself was beautiful as well as the vines and leaves intertwined with the peeling paint and crumbling walls. Looked as if straight out of an urban fairytale.
After a while walking, in the insane heat (oh I forgot to mention that we were walking almost entirely uphill in nearly 90 degree weather, one word SWEATY) we came across out first ledge. The city at one point was a military fort so at various areas around the city you will come across walls and ledges built as defense against ships. This first ledge we came across overlooked hundreds of run down houses right on the water's edge. It was interesting to see how some of the locals lived. Modest housing, but in the best location. As we started to continue on our way we ran into a local. She saw us looking down at the area. She said it was called La Perla
and that those were the slums of the area.
She said that it used to be government housing, and even when the government stopped funding it, everyone continued to stay because it was their home. Now the government is trying to kick everyone out so that they can bull doze it and turn it into luxury properties, but the locals are trying to fight this to keep their homes. She ended this story with the fact that we should not go down there, she said a lot of shady things happen down there and she wouldn't recommend it. We took her advice and headed towards a castle in the distance.
Now this wasn't actually a castle, it was more of a fortress. It is called El Moro and we toured the whole thing.
|Laura is so tiny!|
It was an awesome experience, and it was all the more authentic when it started to rain buckets. It rains a lot in Puerto Rico, and we got to experience what it would be like to have to run up and down the millions of staircases in El Moro in the rain just like a soldiers had to do in the old days. It was perfect. After we got our fill of ancient castles, we headed out to find some food. We wandered a while, seeking refuge in doorways when the rain became too heavy,
until we stumbled upon a restaurant called St Germain,
it had a bohemian feel to it and was very cool. I could picture myself going there all the time to get coffee and scones. It was very chill and very trendy and everything was made fresh to order. And they weren't kidding when they said fresh. Laura ordered a cobb salad and the hard boiled egg she got on top of it was hot because it just had been cooked. Everything was delicious though, especially the guacamole.
After that we wandered some more coming across another wall that lined a gorgeous beach,
an old church, some beautiful landscaping, a couple critters,
and some shops.
It was a perfect day in an old city. We never made it to the rainforest aspect, but that just gives one of many reasons to go back. You don't need a passport to get there after all so maybe I will return sooner than I think. That would be amazing because even though we spent the entire day exploring, I feel like Puerto Rico has endless adventures just waiting for me. So until next time...I'll be figuring out when I can return to Puerto Rico.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
So the next day we reached St Thomas. We didn't arrive at the island until around 11am so we had plenty of time to get some breakfast and watch as we sailed into port.
I was really excited about St Thomas, because I had heard so many good things about it.
When we finally disembarked, we went straight for the shops. None of us had really bought any souvenirs yet, so we definitely needed to get some shopping in. The first thing I realized as we were walking around was how hot it was, it wasn't until later that I realized that we were now closer to South America than North America, thus the heat wave.
|It's right by Puerto Rico if you can't tell.|
After we all had bought the last of our St Thomas t-shirts and postcards, we decided to head to the beach, so we jumped in a cab and told them to take us to the closest beach. The cab driver took us to Morning Star Beach. It didn't take us long to realize that this was heaven on earth. The beach was practically empty, except for a few beach volleyball players, there was a bar with drink specials and appetizers, but the most spectacular part was the actual beach.
The sand was soft. The waves were big enough to jump into and body surf on, but not too big.
The sun was hot and the water was crystal blue and refreshing. You could sit and watch sail boats float by and listen to the locals laugh as they sipped their beer.
Thinking back on it now, I am not sure why I left. We spent the rest of the afternoon there, frolicking on the beach.
It was probably half the day but it came and went in seconds. The cab ride back to the ship was a quiet one. Everyone exhausted from the day and sad about leaving. We did a little more shopping and then got back on the boat. We watched as the sun went down and St Thomas started to twinkle in the night.
The lights got smaller and smaller as we sailed away. We finally headed back to our room when they were just specks in the distance. Later in the trip, we all agreed that St Thomas was one of our favorite stops on the cruise and is most definitely a place I would like to go back too. And until next time, I will be dreaming about St Thomas.