Tag Archives: puerto rico

Symmetry in Architecture & Design

Symmetry in Architecture & Design

I’m not one prone to haunt beaches.  I did spend a few days on Ambergris Caye in Belize a few years ago, but that’s about the extent of my tropical vacations.  My visit to Puerto Rico was mostly limited to San Juan and a few outlying areas, including El Yunque Rain Forest.

I do like wandering cities.  Walking the streets, enjoying the street art and graffiti (Athens), but mostly for the history.  Old neighbourhoods and buildings are a delight, sometimes even more so when looking up.

Shanghai Pudong Airport

It’s modern, and it’s huge.  Standard airport with lots of glass and seemingly endless shopping and eating experiences available, if you have time to kill.  Looking up, this was the delightful ceiling in departures.

The symmetrical ceiling in the departure area of Shanghai Pudong Airport.
The symmetrical ceiling in the departure area of Shanghai Pudong Airport.
Keleti Station, Budapest

My last day in Budapest.  I have checked out of my apartment rental, and took the long walk, suitcase dragging, to the train station, bound for Vienna.  Keleti station opened in 1884 – a glorious building from outside.  Inside it’s another story.  The platforms seemed a bit grimy and dark, but looking up provided two lines of sky.

Keleti Station, Budapest
Interior of Keleti Station, Budapest. The symmetric lines of light meet at the open end.
Lincoln Cathedral

Located in England, building began in 1088 and it was consecrated in 1092.  Part of the original cathedral remains, although there were many additions throughout the Medieval period.  It was the tallest building in the world for 238 years.  Perfect symmetry, even at this height.

Lincoln Cathedral
Interior view, Lincoln Cathedral
Hyde Park, London

Sometimes, symmetry can be found right in front of you.  Hyde Park was directly across the street from my hotel when I stayed in London in 2011.  I was at Bayswater Road & St Petersburgh Place, and the bike share was immediately inside the entrance.

Bike Share, Kensington Gardens, London, UK
Bike Share, Kensington Gardens, London, UK
York Minster

The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, known by it’s common name, York Minster.  Although there were previous churches on this site, this building was began in 1230 and completed in 1472.  Note the dragon on the right.

The York Minster, York, England. Note the dragon on the right hand side.
The York Minster, York, England. Note the dragon.

So I have provided a sample of some of my favourites encountered during my travels.  There are many more.

 

 

 

 

 

El Yunque Rainforest

A trip to Puerto Rico wouldn’t be complete without a trip to El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System.

There is a visitor’s certre to visit, and as you drive in, a place to leave your vehicle.  From here, your trip will be on foot.

Visitor's Centre at El Yunque National Forest
Visitor’s Centre at El Yunque National Forest

This is the path at the entrance.  Beyond here, it is mostly paved access.

Entrancce to El Yunque Rainforest
Entrancce to El Yunque National Forest

Part way through, you will encounter La Coca Waterfall.

El Coca Falls, El Yunque Rainforest
La Coca Falls, El Yunque Rainforest

It is a long trip up the path.  Very hot, and very humid.  People coming down the path tell you that you’re almost there, but you’re not.  It’s a very long slog, with a reward at the end.

Top of the Rainforest
Top of the Rainforest
Top of the Rainforest
Top of the Rainforest

I stayed at the top for about an hour, chatting with the locals (thanks for the info, George!).  From here, one can see San Juan, Loiza and Fahardo.  That dot out in the Atlantic Ocean is St Thomas.

Clouds blow past your head.  There was a brief rainstorm.  Returning takes less than half the time it takes to get there.

Puerto Rico 2010

Way back in 2010, I happened to stumble upon a great deal to Puerto Rico.  I was living in Sarasota, Florida at the time.  The trip was for a four day weekend, included return flight, hotel, and a car rental for $500.00.  I couldn’t resist.

The flight was uneventful.  I arrived at the airport and went outside looking for the car rental place.  The heat and humidity hit me like a sledgehammer.  Turns out, there are no car rentals at the airport (although there was a closed casino).  I had to take a shuttle to somewhere in San Juan to pick up my vehicle.  This also meant I had to remember where this place was to return the car.

Lucky me, I got a white Toyota Yaris.

Coral by the Sea
Coral by the Sea, Carolina, Puerto Rico

This was my hotel on the coast, east of Puerto Rico.  Two short blocks from the ocean, and free parking.  I had a decent room on the top floor, facing the street.  On the lower left of the building was an ice cream parlour, on the left a restaurant.  This was used a lot by people for an overnight stay before boarding a cruise ship.  I have never seen travellers with so much luggage before.  I brought a backpack.

101 Bar
101 Bar, Carolina, Puerto Rico

Between the Coral by the Sea and the Ritz Carlton, this was my hangout.  Wonderful owners and patrons, cold beer, good food, inexpensive.  A quick search today tells me it has since been closed.

El Morrow
El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Guard Station, El Morrow, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Guard Station, El Morrow, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Castillo San Filipe del Morro is a Spanish citadel built to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay in the 1600’s.  Construction began in 1539 by order of King Charles V of Spain.  Many improvements were made over time.  The original 1.8M thick walls were increased to 5.5M by the end of the 18th century.  Puerto Rico was awarded to the US at the end of the Spanish-American war in 1898.

In 1961, the US Army officially retired El Morro, and the citadel was declared a World Heritage Site by the UN, and is a US National Park.

Guard Station, El Morro, Puerto Rico
Guard Station, El Morro, Puerto Rico
Entrance to El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Entrance to El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

Abandoned Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Abandoned Hotel, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan is mix of modern structures and also a place where time has stood still.  This old hotel had been abandoned for some time.

North Shore, San Juan, Puerto RIco
North Shore, San Juan, Puerto RIco

The rocky shore of San Juan, Puerto RIco, below El Morro.

San Juan, Puerto Rico 2010

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Downtown San Juan is old, crowded, and noisy.  Tight streets, I couldn’t find anywhere to park my rented Toyota Yaris except at the parking garage by El Morrow.  Beer costs more in these crowded streets.  Stumbled across this old wreck of what was once a hotel.  Long abandoned.

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Reminds me of Belize City, with its burnt out, abandoned or otherwise derelict buildings.

 

Puerto Rico, 2010

 

 

Continuing with my trip to Puerto Rico, I drove to the El Yunque Rainforest.  It’s a long drive in, and after parking the car, a short walk to the entrance to the walking trail.

Thought I’d take a short walk in, but it was not to be.  After what seemed like an eternity, I made it to the top, with the help of some friends I made along the way.

 

 

Here I am, with my head in the clouds.