Katherine Pajak ’23 and Benjamin Gisonni ’23, recount the groups first day experience in Old San Juan.
We started off our first day in San Juan with a walking tour around the old city. We began at Castillo San Felipe del Morro, where we got some background information on Puerto Rico, such as the country being American territory, and the two sides of the argument as to whether or not Puerto Rico should be considered a state. Barbara took us to the building near which the movie Dirty Dancing was partially filmed, along with a beautiful fountain that’s pictured below.
As we continued the tour, we noticed there were cats all over the streets, literally, everywhere. We visited the first military prison in San Juan, which is now a museum, and afterwards walked by the oldest church within the Americas. Similarly, we visited the old San Juan Bautista Cathedral that still had original paintings on the walls from when the cathedral was first built in the 1500s. Also throughout the tour we could see the massive walls surrounding the coast of San Juan which protected the citizens from the pirates that would attack the island. There were also only four massive doors that could let people in and out of the city, one of which we visited.
We wrapped up our walking tour with a view of the smallest house ever, and learned how the architecture of the homes would establish the wealth of the families living within them. We ended at the location of our restaurant that we would have a traditional Puerto Rican lunch in, Cafe El Punto. Following our lunch at Cafe El Punto, we visited the Castillo Del Morro. The fort has six levels, rising up to 140 feet above the sea and walls ranging from 18-25 feet thick. As said earlier, the fort was used to repel pirates and invaders attempting to enter San Juan. After concluding our tour of Castillo Del Morro, we headed back to the hotel where we met the US Attorney of Puerto Rico, Stephen Muldrow. Mr. Muldrow explained how his department aligned with a few of the SDGs and answered questions. Mr. Muldrow also went into a few cases with us discussing how the government determined punishment to people committing crime, how the government scales punishment for crimes, and how the Department of Justice deters bigger companies from trying to walk over the public and laws with money.
Concluding Mr. Muldrow’s visit, we went out to some food trucks and live music. The food trucks offered many different types of food and the live music was phenomenal. Our day came to a close with the group getting down time and eventually returning to rooms to prepare for the next day in Puerto Rico!
Check out biggreen.photos for more pictures of the Puerto Rico trip!