DAY 2: Monday, January 28, 2019
After eating a simple breakfast at our Airbnb, we took an Uber to Old San Juan (which cost around $10) for our food tour with Flavors of San Juan.
We all had taken this tour on our prior trips, but the experience was so great that we knew we had to do it again. Paul and I have done many food tours during our trips, but Flavors of San Juan’s tour tops them all.
We were pleased that the tour was a little bit different this time. We got to visit some new-to-us sites in the historic Old San Juan area.
We started our tour at Cuatro Sombras, a coffee shop that roasts their own Arabica coffee beans that come from the mountains in Yauco, Puerto Rico.
There, we sampled a small cup of coffee and a half sandwich: ham, swiss, and guava butter on a mallorca bread — a Puerto Rican sweet bread that is fluffy and pastry-like. That sandwich was incredible.
Next, we walked to Señor Paleta — Mr. Popsicle.
They had MANY flavors to choose from, but we had guava. Mmmm!
It really hit-the-spot in this gorgeous 80-degree weather.
The streets in Old San Juan are so pretty. Here is a street that was decorated with colorful umbrellas. Our tour guide, Carmen, told us that this form of street art was started in Portugal in 2011. Since then, the fad has caught on in many different places.
This apartment used to be the narrowest in the world at 64 inches — but has since been beaten by an apartments in Warsaw, Poland. When we saw it back in 2014, it was painted a pale yellow. It’s much brighter now!
Carmen also pointed out to us three different balcony styles, all three of which you can see in this photo: the French wrought iron style on the far left, the Spanish style covered balcony on the right, and the “Franish” combination in the middle.
Some of the original cobblestone streets in Old San Juan remain.
The bricks are bluish — a result of oxidation of the slag leftover from Spain’s iron foundries. The material was used as ballast weight in ships coming to Puerto Rico, and then recycled into blocks.
We saw some cats around!
This one was particularly friendly.
We stopped into the Caribee gift shop for some tastings.
We stopped at a place the locals call “Marilyn’s Bar” (due to the Marilyn Monroe memorabilia) for some rum punch! It was so delicious.
At the Vaca Brava restaurant, we got to make our own mojitos!
Here, we also ate our main meal: monfongo — a dish analogous to mashed potatoes back home, but made with plaintains — with chicken, and rice and beans.
Did I emphasize enough how pretty it is to walk the streets in Old San Juan?!
The final stop of the food tour was Corte Chocobar. Here, we sampled a piece of chocolate, hot chocolate (SO delicious). We were also given a small slice of cheese to drop into the hot chocolate, and a churro to dip into the drink and cheese. It was so fun to get a taste of Puerto Rican chocolate! We later bought more Corte chocolate from the CVS Pharmacy to enjoy back at our Airbnb.
After the food tour, we walked around Old San Juan some more, checking out a few shops along the way.
When we had our fill, we took an Uber to pick up the rental car we had reserved for our adventures tomorrow. We drove the rental back to our Airbnb, and then walked to Luisa street again for dinner. We found an Italian restaurant that had outstanding pizza. Paul and I split a pizza that had prosciutto and honey truffle oil. It was delicious.
We enjoyed another quiet evening and went to bed early. Stay tuned for Day 3!