Good Friday in Puerto Rico is more important than Easter Sunday: the sacrifice, my friends, the sacrifice. Unlike in Oz, the US and many other places where it’s the Resurrection that takes centre stage.
I was in Old San Juan, one last time before I head home, probably for good, on 1 June. I thought that the Easter weekend would be perfect, as I not only wanted to visit San Juan one last time, but also the island of Vieques just near the main island of Puerto Rico.
I had plans of wandering the marvellous blue cobblestoned streets, in and out of shops, picking up a few gifts for my family and friends back home. Imagine my disappointment when I emerged from yet another mallorca breakfast at La Bombonera to find the shops almost all closed! So I found a square next to a church, and just spent some time people watching as the man with the shaved ice van hand-scrapted the ice and then poured flavouring on, as the crowd gathered outside the temporary tent selling empanadillas, and just taking in the atmosphere.
Luckily, my favourite cafe, St Germain, was open and I enjoyed a marvellous mushroom soup and a “leaning tower” of mozarella, avocado and tomato, smothered with pesto and a squirt of caramelised balsamic. Total, utter bliss. And then there was the dessert…cakes to DIE for. A must for any visit to Old San Juan.
On my way out to find dinner I emerged from my room to find an enormous crowd outside my hotel, which is across from a large, beautiful church. They were enthralled by a re-enactment of the crucifixion, resplendent with Roman soldiers, the two thieves, and of course Jesus himself.