Our “Amazing Race” Moments at the Old San Juan Pitstop

IMG_9965 web Confession. We are Amazing Race (AR) wannabe’s. We have TIVO’d every single episode since the series began. We tell all our friends about it in hopes that we may find fellow AR junkies and reminisce together about the latest adventures. Unfortunately, it is an impossible dream for us given my husband’s citizenship (must be U.S. citizens). But on the way to our vacation destination, we experienced an AR moment in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and it was eye-opening…especially since we consider ourselves travel veterans. One of the pit stops during the show was at a fort in old San Juan. Ever since that episode, my husband has wanted to visit that location, if we ever had a chance…and that chance came along during a 4-hour layover in San Juan, en route to St. Martin.

After leaving our carryons with the Admirals Club desk at the airport, we grabbed our camera and headed out to find a taxi to the fort. On the way out of the airport, a poster with an image of the fort adorned the wall. How cool! Must be a major tourist attraction; we shouldn’t have a problem finding the place.

Whoops! We spoke too soon. Only moments later, we were a bit frustrated…as was the taxi coordinator and, as we found a few minutes later, so was the taxi driver. My Spanish was rusty and I didn’t know the word for fort in Spanish. We tried several ways to describe where we wanted to go and we were flabbergasted that the taxi driver couldn’t say for certain, whether he knew where we were going or not. An Amazing Race moment. We were frustrated that we couldn’t clearly communicate our destination with certainty. So, we headed in the direction of old San Juan, thinking that if we just drove through old San Juan to the end of the peninsula, we would run into it. The taxi driver agreed.

As we got to old San Juan, we spied an old fort and excitedly told the taxi driver that was it. He looked at us with a quizzical expression but stopped dutifully. We thanked him and patted ourselves on the back as we headed up the entryway. When we bought our tickets, the park ranger asked us if we wanted to purchase a pass to both forts. Both forts? Huh? Uh oh. Another Amazing Race moment – we were at the wrong fort! Oh well. We explored this one anyway (Castillo de San Cristobal), leaving time to hop on the trolley to the next one. Whoops! Imagine the valuable time we would have lost if we were in the race! The park ranger said it was about a 20-minute walk to the other fort OR we could hop on the trolley for a free ride…which we did. But to lose 20 minutes in a walk to an AR pit stop could have been deadly.

Both forts were impressive but the grounds at the second one, Castillo San Felipe del Morro were far more expansive and exactly as we remembered on the show. A perfect day for kite flying, several people controlled their flyers in the distance. Off to the left were several trailers – which we assumed belonged to whomever was filming a movie on location. We didn’t have much time but the views from that fort, as well as the architecture held our fascination. We wished we’d had time to explore a little longer but we had to head back to the airport to catch our connection to St. Martin. And as we know on the show, we’d better leave enough time for any eventuality to ensure that we didn’t miss that plane.

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An original It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog post.

You may also find MommyTwinGirls at Silicon Valley Moms Blog telling tales of parenting in Silicon Valley, at Mad About Multipes recounting the ups and downs of raising twins and at Solheim Photography posting favorites from her latest photo shoots.


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