Saturday, March 5, 2011

Puerto Rico!

Hi everyone,

Willow had a very exciting second birthday: she had her first airplane ride! We went to Puerto Rico for a week with the Jenson's, Auntie Jill, Janna, and aunt Joan and uncle Ray. We had a great time and I have a whole lot of pictures to post.

We drove to Hastings on Friday, Feb. 18 and our flight left early Saturday morning. it was a direct flight from MSP to San Juan, and thankfully we had no delays or other flight issues. We were a little nervous about flying with Willow, but she did really well on the way down (the way back, not so much, but I'll spare you). Here she is in her seat with a snack. She enjoyed the takeoff and the landing and said "wheeeeee!" and then "again, again!"

We stayed at a luxurious resort called the Gran Melia about a half hour outside of San Juan, near Rio Grande. It was on the ocean. Each couple had their own condo with a full kitchen and a nice deck. This resort is not all-inclusive, so we did a lot of our own cooking in the kitchen.

The first full day down there, Josh and I left Willow with the family and went to San Juan to meet up with our friends Yesianne and Carmello, who live in Cayey, which is about 45 minutes from San Juan in the other direction. We met them in Houghton when Carmello was going to grad school at MTU. They moved back to PR last year. We were very grateful to have such knowledgeable tour guides to show us around!

Here are Yesi and Carmello:

They showed us around Old San Juan. It was very beautiful and historic. San Juan is a very old city...I am almost certainly botching the historical details here, but it's either the oldest or the second oldest city in the Americas, I think it was founded by Ponce de Leon in like the 1400s or 1500s. It was attacked many times by varous countries and the city is surrounded by these huge walls with these turret things called garitas (I think). The garitas are where the sentrys would watch for ships coming to attack the city.

These cobblestone bricks lined many of the streets and they're also very, very old. They were apparently made from leftover iron ore from a mine. They're very pretty, smooth and blueish.

We toured one of the city's two historical forts, which was very interesting. I took a lot of photos there but I just can't include as many photos as I'd like to or I'll be writing this post all day. The photo of Yesi and Carmello above was taken by the entrance to the fort.

I like this photo of one of the narrow streets of old San Juan. A lot of the buildings were bright colors. I wish some of the suburban subdivisions in this country would have each house a different bright color like would be a lot more interesting than the boring shades of beige that they use, ha!

Thanks again, Yesi and Carmello, for a great day and for being such wonderful tour guides!!

The rest of the week was mostly spent lounging by the pool and/or the beach. It was very relaxing! I was able to completely forget about work for at least a few days. Ahhhhh.

Here's Willow on the beach:

...and in the pool. There were a few different kiddie pools.She had a great time going in and out and in and out and in and out of the pools. Luckily, with six adults around to watch her, it wasn't too exhausting of a task to keep her safe.

Here's Willow and Janna rinsing off their sandy feet in the shower by the pool.

The beach had a lot of cute little hermit crabs, which we had fun catching and inspecting. Here's me and Willow watching one crawl (you can see him on the ground in front of us if you look closely). One day we put a couple in a pail with some sand and shells. I asked Willow what she wanted to name her pet crab, and she said "ya-ya", which is what she calls Linda. I think she really missed Linda that week.

Here's Willow and Grandpa walking together at the resort:

Willow's first kiddie cocktail (this was a pina colada - yum!)

Sometimes the stress of chasing a toddler got to us (or a least me) a little. ;)

Here's Willow feeding an iguana. They had iguana feeding for kids every day at 10:00. We went a few times. Willow enjoyed it. Iguanas were wild there, darting in and out of bushes. It was pretty cool to see.

And also feeding the koi. She was the only child that showed up for this one the few days we went. She seemed to take the job very seriously.

The resort had a kids playground that wasn't much at all - just one little slide and a plastic playouse. It was more than enough for a 2-year-old though, and Willow played there at least once every day we were there. She loved the slide.

In addition to it being Willow's birthday when we were there, it was also Jack and Jill's 60th birthday (they're twins). There was a lot of cause for celebration! We went out to a couple nice dinners at the restaurants at the resort. Once for Italian and once for sushi. Having Willow in fancy restaurants was not ideal, but it worked out ok. We took turns taking her out for walks outside the restaurant while we waited for food, etc. Here's Willow in once of the restaurants looking at one of her birthday cards.

Here she is modeling the new sweater that Auntie Jill made her for her birthday. It wasn't needed down there because it was so tropical, but it was nice for the restaurants, which had the AC blasting.

One day we went to the El Yunque rainforest, which was only a few miles from our resort. We went on a little hike up a hill to a lookout tower. It felt good to get out in nature a little. Willow ended up falling asleep in the baby carrier.

Here is the one photo I have of the whole group (minus Josh; he took the photo).

Thank you to Jack and Jean for a wonderful vacation!!


Nicki said...

Great pictures Linsday. It looks like you had a great time!

sharon + andy said...

Great post! Looks like fun and WARM! Willow looks wonderful; can't wait to see her again. And you guys too.