And We’re Off!

We left a little later than planned, which meant that I took the dogs to the kennel alone. Indy didn’t throw up (amazingly) due to the Dramamine, but she cried all the way there. I felt really bad. Once we got there and she was able to get out of the car, she was fine. Both Indy and Allie raced down the steps to go see Miss Deb.

We spent the night at the Doubletree Inn and had dinner in their restaurant, Jacksons. Dennis ordered the All-American burger, and I got the Chipotle Lime Shrimp tacos. They were incredible! I highly recommend the food at Jacksons. If we had stayed longer, I would have had their pizza. They had an open fire pizza oven behind the bar, and the pizzas looked great.

Our alarm went off at 4 a.m. We had no problems with the hotel shuttle and only a few minor problems checking in with American Airlines. I thought we got one free bag and was irritated that we had to pay $25 for each bag at the airport. We could have had a free carry-on, but don’t usually take any. Both flights were smooth and our lay-over in Charlotte was short. As we flew into San Juan, we could see the forts down below. Sit on the left hand side of the plane if you want this view.

The white Taxi Touristicos were easy to find and extremely efficient. It was $24 to take us to our hotel in Old San Juan. The roads are very narrow–I would not recommend renting a car if you are staying in OSJ. Our taxi driver did not know our hotel, but we found it. There was no sign out front. It’s an extremely interesting place–more on that later!IMG_8766


Our Plans–Three More Sleeps!!!

Since the people reading this are all family (for now), I’ve decided to share our trip information.

We are planning to leave around 3 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, dropping the dogs off at Rocking K Kennel in Adamsville on the way.  I booked a Park and Fly package at the Doubletree Inn Pittsburgh Airport. They have 24 hour shuttle service to and from the airport and free parking for up to 14 days. I usually book our hotels through, but decided to call directly to make sure parking would be available. It’s only $99 plus tax–we’d definitely spend as much or more on parking at the airport. Since our flight is at 7 a.m., spending the night seemed like a no-brainer. I mean, who wants to drive to the airport at 3 a.m.?

Our first flight is American Airlines #2093 which leaves Pittsburgh at 7 a.m. (started at 6:45, then 6:50, and now 7) and arrives in Charlotte, N.C., at 8:33.  We leave for Charlotte at 9:50 a.m. and arrive in San Juan at 1:23 p.m. If you sit on the left side of the plane, you should be able to see the forts (El Morro and San Cristobal) as you are flying over Old San Juan and preparing to land. By sheer luck, we’re sitting on the left side and hopefully I’ll be able to take some aerial photos of the forts. Puerto Rico is on Atlantic Standard time, but because they don’t use daylight savings time, it will still be the same as home which makes life easier.

Our reservations for our two nights in San Juan are at the Gallery Inn, 204 Norzagaray. This hotel was created from six interconnecting townhouses and only has 25 rooms. There are 19 different “gardens” and five art studios scattered throughout the mansion. I admit this hotel wasn’t my first choice (El Convento was), but it was half the price of El Convento and looks really interesting and historical. It’s on the street that connects the two forts, so it’s a great location and a good rating on

I’ve planned a walking tour for our first night–“Tales of Old San Juan” through Legends of Puerto Rico from 6-8 p.m. Since we really don’t know much (or anything really) about San Juan or Puerto Rico in general, I thought this  give us a nice overview before we started exploring on our own.

For Saturday, I was a wonderful wife and thought “What would Dennis really like to do today?” I thought about ALL the cooking shows he watches and thought “He’ll REALLY like a food tour!” So, I booked the 3 p.m. Flavors of San Juan “Old San Juan Food Tour.” On this tour you go to up to five different restaurants and sample ten different foods and drinks. Since I want to try mofongo, but not order an entire plate of it, this seemed like a good choice. We’ll also visit the forts on Saturday and explore the city.

Sunday is the day we cruise–more on that in my next post!

How It All Began

Welcome to my first attempt at a blog! Dennis and I are getting ready for our next big adventure–we fly to Puerto Rico this Friday and then leave for a Southern Caribbean cruise on Sunday evening.  I’m all packed and ready to go. Dennis, not so much.

When I first started researching for this year’s trip, I thought we’d go to Texas. I was on a quest to visit all fifty states by the time I turn fifty (2 years–eek!).  While looking at the different cities in Texas and deciding where to go, I stumbled upon Galveston and cruise ads. Many, many cruise ads. CHEAP cruises. And I thought–five days on a cruise is less money than we’d spend for a hotel and to eat out for the same amount of time. And that is how my search for a spring break cruise began.

Dennis drives a lot for work and I didn’t want him to have to drive for the majority of this vacation (not like the 10 states in 9 days we did for Christmas of 2015).  I thought cruising would be a great way for him to relax. Neither of us have ever been to Puerto Rico and the prices were great. We (okay, really me) decided to book a seven night Southern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Fascination. This cruise is port-heavy. Six ports in seven nights with only one day at sea. I was excited about the opportunity to visit San Juan, St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten.  Other than booking flights and a hotel in San Juan, I didn’t do much research until about a month before the trip. At that time, I started getting nervous. You see, we’re not really beach people. We’re good for about two hours. That’s it.  So I started to look at tours. I’ve probably overdone it now–we have seven tours booked!