With no signs of a letup in what many consider the coldest winter ever, my wife, Joyce, and I decided last week to leave our beautiful frozen valley for a brief vacation. We chose as our warm, sunny retreat the San Juan area of the island of Puerto Rico.
We shivered as we climbed into the airport shuttle in the parking lot of the Akron-Canton airport, but shortly, we were aboard our plane en route to the ecstasy of warm sunshine and tropical breezes. With a brief layover in Charlotte, N.C., in no time it seemed we accomplished our goal as 86 degree sunshine belted us as we taxied into the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.
After a brief taxi ride to our hotel, settling in and changing into summer attire, we were greeted with free drinks at poolside. The change from the polar ice caps in Ohio to this tropical paradise was overwhelming. The drinks and food at pool side were great, too.
The next morning after a breakfast at our hotel, we were off to meet our tour guide for our day's tour of the Bacardi Rum Distillery and Old San Juan, plus the famous old Spanish Forts of El Morro and Castillo de San Cristobal.
Our tour included four other people. Our tour guide was Ricardo, a very colorful Puerto Rican who explained in great detail every nook and cranny of his beloved island as we traveled in his van through crowded streets and into parks, ocean views, quiet beaches and capitol buildings before even reaching our destination of Bacardi.
At Bacardi, we were treated to two rum drinks, one before the tour and one after. The tour itself included much history of the proud Bacardi family and their original distillery make up. The company was founded 152 years ago in Cuba and to this day is a leading distillery where it revolutionized rum as a spirit. Of course, there was a souvenir and gift shop where one could purchase many types of rum.
Following this tour, Ricardo summoned us to continue on as we boarded his van, and off we went to the fort or castle of Castillo San Felipe del Morro or El Morro.
This fort was built in 1539 by Spain to defend the port of San Juan and controlling its vast harbor. It