Tag Archives: Parque de Bombas

Summer and Brandom Fun

Posted by Cassie

Summer and Brandom visit
First time at the beach in PR for Brandom!

We’ve been having fun with our niece Summer and her boyfriend. We were at Pollo Tropical and they asked his name for the order. He said “Brandon” but they couldn’t understand him and put “Brandom” instead. So that is his new name and I am sure everything has been very Random for Brandom seeing as this is his first time to Puerto Rico!

Ride in the truck
The mustang is still out of commission so we had to pick them up in the truck!

Summer Brandom us
Fun in Ponce at the famous Parque de Bombas

We’ve shown them around Rincón a little and took a trip to Ponce because Summer enjoyed it the last time she was here visiting us. Today we are off on more adventures with them, so stay tuned!

Ponce church
Beautiful Church in Ponce

Pinchos parque
Pinchos and Piraguas

Britton mask
Checking out the tourist shops

Cassie lion flags ponce
Lions, but of course

Britton pincho fountain
Enjoying his pincho

Cassie summer serralles
Summer and me in front of the Castillo Serralles

Cruz above
The cross was closed but we still wandered around the area

Hop fence
And jumped the fence to see the Japanese gardens

Cross overlookIt’s a really cool view up top

Cassie japanese
At the Japanese gardens

Koi fish Lily pads
They even had koi, water lilies and a pagoda!

Hector La Voe and Summer Cassie
Then we went down to La Guancha for a bit and hung with our friend Hector La Voe

Cassie eyes edit
We SAW it all

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Ponce Es Ponce…

Posted by Cassie

It has been a while since we explored Ponce. Known as the Pearl of the South, it is home to beautiful museums, grand architecture and an interesting history. It is also a little self-obsessed. One of the expressions about it is “Ponce es Ponce, lo demas es parkin’” which translates to “Ponce is Ponce, the rest is parking.”

Ponce es ponce
Seen on a t-shirt in Ponce

It is the 2nd largest (non-metro) city in Puerto Rico and named for Ponce De Leon. Leon means lion in Spanish and that has become the spirit animal of the city where you can see it as a design element in many things around town.

Lion-theme throughout Ponce

Britton, Summer and I left Rincon mid-morning with our friends John and Fran to explore it a little more. The first time we came to Ponce was on our honeymoon and you can read about that crazy time here. As far as touristy things in Ponce go, not a whole lot has changed in the 10 years that have since passed but they were fun to see again. We were, however, able to get a little more in depth inside the parque de bombas, the great plaza, the Armstrong-Poventud house, and the Don Q Museum also known as the Castillo de Serralles and we ended the day at the boardwalk of La Guancha.

Ponce has some awesome colonial architecture and is just beautiful to simply walk around.

Ponce Architecture (2) Ponce Architecture

Great Ponce Architecture!

The first stop was downtown to visit the Parque de Bombas and the church. The Parque de Bombas (the Pump Park) is the old firestation turned museum that is painted in a bright red and black. It looks almost circus-like especially because they had some pretty wild art displays inside.

Ponce Parque de Bombas Mask

Parque de Bombas (2)
Inside the Parque de Bombas of Ponce

Ponce Church
I kind of wanted to check out the inside of this lavender church, but it looked closed

As we were taking in the church we noticed this beautiful building and came in for a closer look:

We saw that it was operated by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture so we decided to go inside. It was a great museum called the Armstrong-Poventud Museum. There was a free and extensive tour which was super cool. We saw the old Fogon cooking room and how the husband and wife had separate but adjoining rooms (the husband’s room was far superior). They had built the house right across the street from the church because that was a sign of being wealthy during those times (late 19th century). Many of the wealthiest people in Puerto Rico lived in Ponce throughout much of its history.

Armstrong ceilings
Tin ceilings and stained glass in the Armstrong-Poventud House


We had a quick lunch and also a coffee break and headed up to the Castillo Serralles also known as the Don Q museum.

Don Q museum
Castillo Serralles
Indoor Fountain Dining room

Group photoView overlooking Ponce from the Castillo Serralles with our group

Don Q statue
Don Q Rum is named for Don Quixote

Fountain pool at the Castillo
A pretty pool/fountain and gardens and the view all the way to Isla Caja de Muertos

Old rums
Old Don Q Rums from the past

The Castillo de Serralles is definitely impressive. To have been able to build a mansion of that scale during the midst of the Great Depression would have really been something. The history and importance of the sugar cane industry was also really interesting to learn about. I felt, however, especially since we had had such a great FREE! personalized tour in the Armstrong-Poventud house just prior that the tour of this huge building was pretty short, that the tour guide had done that tour way too many times and that we were missing a large part of the house.

At $8.50/person I would have thought the tour would have been a little more complete and would have at least included the gardens. Also, it seems like we were partially paying for an advertisement for their rum since the waiting room was also a bar and sold Don Q rums (For the price of admission we could have bought a lot of rum -haha!). None-the-less, it was worth doing once and when we were here on our honeymoon 10 years ago it had been closed, so it was nice to finally be able to say we saw it.

Finally to end our great excursion into Ponce we went to La Guancha, a boardwalk area. People were buying bags of fresh sardines for a dollar to toss to the tarpon fish below and the seagulls above.  We enjoyed walking up the pier and the weather cooperated by staying nice and cool and overcast.

La Guancha
La Guancha

A friendly fearless Pelican on the pier

tarpon at la guancha1 Here birdy birdy

Tarpons and seagulls ready and waiting for sardines

We had a great day in Ponce but are glad to be back to our home sweet parkin’ in Rincón ;-) .

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Flashback to Puerto Rico: August 15-16, 2005

Posted by Cassie

This is the 6th Part in the Honeymoon Flashback Series. I would like to finish sharing this whole journal that we wrote on our honeymoon in 2005 before we leave to start our new Puerto Rico life adventure this fall 2013. Go here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

The Vortex of Ponce

Well, we left Parguera and headed to Ponce. We stopped for more super healthy groceries (beer, cookies, nuts) and for some fast food because we were having a hard time picking somewhere good to eat. Because Britton was driving, he had to order in the drive thru…in Spanish. I tried to help him, but it was hard to transfer the information across the car all mumbled through the speaker, so we ended up having to drive up to the window and talk face to face. When we tried to leave, we apparently went the wrong way because a policeman drove up and told us to turn around. This was the first of many police stops this day.

Dryland Forest
Puerto Rican Dryland Forest with cacti and everything!

Britton was a little shook up, but we managed our way out. We took a long detour and saw the desert part of the island and drove around where we could almost see Gilligan’s Island that I thought had a pretty cool name. It is just a small island about 100 meters off from Guanica.

Then we drove into Ponce, the Pearl of the South. It is probably the biggest city in south Puerto Rico. We got a little lost trying to find downtown, but once there, it was as if it had a vortex that sucked us in and we couldn’t get out.

Parque de Bombas

We saw the Parque de Bombas, the awesome old red and black firehouse. We also saw the old church and we drove all the way up the hill to the mansion and cross that overlooks the whole city and you can see all the way to the ocean!


100_1887 100_1889 100_1888 100_1881 100_1883 100_1885
The streets were all under construction so when we decided to leave downtown when it got dark, we got really turned around and didn’t know north from south. There were no mountains like in Colorado to guide us east or west. We drove around for a while and since it was getting dark we again decided to see a movie. When all you have is free time on vacation you realize how much time you actually have to spend! We were finally able to get in and see the movie, the Island! It was a little hard to find the theatre too, but we managed and it was a fun movie.

After the movie, it was late but not as late as the other night, so we started to look for a good place to sleep. We left the theatre but somehow ended up in the vortex that took us right back downtown by the firehouse. By now it was 12:30am and there was construction on almost all of the streets and a ton of one-ways or TRANSITOS. We would try to go one way, but either the construction blocked it or the one-ways prevented it. We accidently ended up going the wrong way down the TRANSITO and got pulled over by the police now for the second time this day.

The policemen were nice and understanding giving us tourist free-passes I think. But they didn’t speak very good English and so I at first tried to help Britton by speaking across him in the car. But the policeman insisted in trying to speak English and so I stopped trying. He didn’t know the difference or words in English between his right and left so when we tried to leave and follow his directions out we ended up RIGHT BACK in downtown Ponce!

The vortex had swirled on us again! Britton thought he was going south when we were actually going north. It got a little tense in the car. We were tired, hungry, nervous from being pulled over and utterly lost. So we were more than ready to escape Ponce! Britton tried to leave and again went down a road against traffic on a one-way, and was AGAIN pulled over by the police! The police are, to say the very least, friendly and forgiving and didn’t give us ticket for any of these mistakes. The other confusing thing about being pulled over was that we didn’t even know if we were being pulled over because they drive around with their lights on at all times!

Finally after sticking to the cardinal rule when lost of going in one direction (as much as we could with all the one ways and closed roads due to construction) we were able to get out of the vortex. We were so tired we just parked up on the side of a jungle mountain road. It was much easier to sleep with the coquis instead of the dogs barking, although it was a bit creepier and dark.

This morning we got up -and lost- again trying to find breakfast. We finally got turned around and visited Tibes Ceremonial Indian Center. It was nice to learn about the original indigenous people from the island.

Re-created Taino style huts at the ceremonial village

Then we drove up to where we are now: the Coamo thermal springs. We are tired and we’ve just returned from a dip in the natural hot spring pool and are hanging out in the room watching Puerto Rican MTV.

At the Coamo Hot Springs

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