I've mentioned this a few times now, but I have to mention it again and I'm sure this won't be the last time: I'm so freaking lucky!!
I'm not sure if I've talked about this yet, if I haven't I will at some point. Anyways, I'm associated with KonaK Vienna and Christian Cwik, Austrian historian and KonaK's sorta-boss-person who knows people all over the Americas because of his work sometimes gets me in touch with people when I go to the Caribbean. When I told him I was coming to San Juan he gave me the e-mail address of Antonio Gaztambide, a very good local historian.
I figured I'd write him a message and he'd give me a few tips about the city, you know, where to go and what to see. I did not expect at all what actually happened.
First I got a full page e-mail with recommendations of what to do and where to go and what to eat and when to do what and even how to get places. And he invited me to participate in a City Walk he was planning for Friday. What I didn't know was that he'd mainly planned that thing because of my visit, I'd though that was just something he regularly did with his students! In the end that was over three hours of walking around the old town with him explaining everything from architecture to relations with other caribbean islands and the US. Wow! And he did the whole thing in English because I brought along Abdiel and Yunus, who doesn't speak Spanish. And the Monika came too and it was so wonderful because he explained and explained and everyone got their questions answered and it was so interesting! Seriously, wow! Not only did he take a whole afternoon and evening to spend with me and my friends to give us an insight into Puerto Rican history and culture, he really went out of his way to make sure everyone had a good time. Again, wow. WOW!!
Am I freaking lucky or not? Seriously, sometimes I can't believe it. How many people go to some place on what's really a holiday and end up being given a private city tour by a historian from the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe who usually spends his time writing books and teaching PhD courses?? That's right. None. Only a few lucky ones. And more often than not I'm one of them. I could scream, that's how happy that makes me.
So, anyways. I'm not going to write all about history and architecture and culture in here, that's what books are for. I'm just going to post a few pictures from that wonderful afternoon spent in academic company.
The building with the largest inner courtyard.
El Morro. Those clouds made the day perfect, because it was warm but we didn't have our city tour in the scorching heat.
The entrance into San Juan bay.
San Juan Gate, the only still existing gate in the city wall.
The Piña Colada was invented in Puerto Rico, that's a very important part of any history lesson!!
And to think that just a few weeks earlier, right after graduation, I was telling everyone how I'd never study anything ever again and that I was forever done with university... I got way to excited about being in that library and getting to hang out with the professor for that to be true.