A few weeks ago we travelled to a place that we have been dying to explore – Puerto Rico! It was every bit as sunny, vivacious, and dreamy as we had imagined. We were lucky enough to catch up with a college friend and her sweet family. Our evening with them was without a doubt the best part of our trip.
The evening began with a drive through the very narrow, colorful streets of Old San Juan to reach “tio’s” (uncle’s) house. Tio, the spry 93-year-old patriarch of their family and gracious host, lives in a picturesque Spanish style apartment which boasts the most enviable ocean views. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that not only did Tio love to entertain, but that his enthusiasm for life is contagious attracting everyone -- young, old, family, friend, neighbor and passerby. Our friend’s high school age brother and his friends regularly find an excuse to hang out with him at his home. After enjoying the sunset, sampling all of the Puerto Rican rum, salsa lessons and conversation, we headed around the corner to El Jibarito restaurant for the best mofongo (mashed plantains stuffed with meaty or seafood goodness) we had the whole trip. On our short jaunt to the restaurant, we received multiple friendly greetings from friends of Tio’s, of course. We tried and shared all sorts of delicious Puerto Rican dishes, drank copious Medallas and pina coladas, and popped into the lively La Sombrilla Rosa (a bar that’s not to be missed if you want to enjoy local music and drinks). We were overwhelmed with the warmth, from not just the sunshine, but from the people of Old San Juan. In Old San Juan, everyone is like family and the area radiates an inclusive enveloping warmth and pulses with life. It was the perfect Puerto Rican night!