Monday, July 11, 2011

Puerto Rico

Wowzers, it's been over a month since I last updated the blog! I guess I needed a blogging break. It's also been so busy over here - most of which I'll get caught up and blog about soon.

So on to the best part of being busy - going on vacation! Back in April at my sister's wedding, my mom offered to keep Charlie for a week this summer if Brad and I wanted to get away. For a couple who spends so much of the year apart because of work, this was an amazing offer and we jumped on it!

Since Brad has so many frequent traveler points, we just needed somewhere we could get to on American Airlines that had a Ritz Carlton or Starwood hotels. Hello Puerto Rico! We decided to spend a couple of days in San Juan and then fly to the island of Vieques for 5 more nights.

There are non-stop flights between DFW and San Juan and we got to fly first class, so the flights were easy and pretty fun! Why YES, I WILL take some more champagne - thank you!

The Ritz Carlton in San Juan was really nice, though I wouldn't want to spend an entire week there. It's about a 10 minute cab ride to Old San Juan and is located near the airport on a strip of other big resorts. I think a lot of people stay there before or after they take a cruise from San Juan.

Anyways, for a couple of nights, it was enjoyable. We laid by the pool, tried some new cocktails, I hit up the spa, we played tennis, Brad went to the casino (but don't bring that up if you see him) - and we had some incredible food.

There was an Il Mulino New York in the hotel and it was some of the most amazing Italian food I've had outside of Italy. We ordered a ridiculous brunello and celebrated our first night on vacation with homemade pasta that made me want to cry it was so good.

Can you tell I like to eat?

The second night we went to this crazy restaurant at one of the resorts that was shaped like a clam shell. It was called Perla. Also very good. But crazy because you were sitting inside a clam shell! Listening to techno Caribbean lounge music no less.

We also spent a morning checking out Old San Juan - before any cruise ships docked and it got crowded. It's a cute little area, fun to explore, and plenty of beautiful views of the water. Man it was hot, though. I gave up on having anything resembling cute hair on that very first full day in San Juan.
On Monday (my birthday!) we flew to Vieques on this little connector airline. I was prepared for the plane to be rather small. I was not prepared, however, for it to be THIS small:
Yes, that is Brad sitting next to the PILOT.

All terror aside, it was kind of fun to see the islands and coastline from that vantage point. I was happy to land, though.

On Vieques we were staying at the W Resort that just opened last year. Vieques doesn't have much in terms of tourism just yet because the U.S. Navy had such a huge presence there up until a few years ago. The W is the first major hotel to open there.

Since the airport is a bit, ahem, rustic (no a/c, no concessions, etc.), the W has set up a lounge where you can wait to be driven over to the resort. It was nice. They had ice and air conditioning and even a full bar, if you were so inclined. We were so anxious to get to the resort, though. The ride there took all of 5 minutes from the airport.

When we were checking in they told us that we were getting upgraded to an oceanfront room. I had to try very hard to maintain my composure. When we got to our room, we were greeted with this view:
As soon as the bellman left I think I started screaming with glee! What an incredible birthday!! There were quite a few times during the week when I really just didn't want to leave the room. Just curled up in a lounge chair with a book - perfection.

We got ready for dinner at the resort and headed over for drinks on the porch overlooking the ocean. And yes, our outfits were color coordinated that night. Purple is the new blue.
We had dinner at the resort's signature restaurant, Mix on the Beach, and had a beautiful ocean view from our table.
I had lobster curry and Brad had seafood paella and we were just stuffed and happy afterwards. We walked back to the room listening to the ocean and just soaking it all in.

When we got back to the room I found champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and some birthday dessert that Brad had ordered up for us. So romantic! So thoughtful! So delicious I forgot how stuffed I was and made room!
Seriously, what an incredible birthday. There is nothing more I could have asked for... except maybe a hug and kiss from Charlie :).

Over the next few days we did a lot of this:
Some of this:
And enjoyed views like this:
We also rented a car for a few days and explored the island. There are two little towns and lots of beaches to check out. The towns were pretty rough around the edges but the beaches were amazing. Almost empty and pristine water.

The island also has a lot of horses. They just kind of wander around. Some of the local kids make harnesses out of ropes and ride them bareback. The horses do not appear to mind this.
One really exciting thing we did while we were on Vieques was to kayak and swim in the island's bioluminescent bay. It is filled with these single cell plankton that glow when they are disturbed. Everywhere you move in the water, all along the sides of the boats and even on the crests of the little waves in the bay was this soft light. It was a sight I won't ever forget.

On top of that, we were in the middle of this gorgeous bay at night and you could look up and see so many stars. The sky was so clear; it was stunning.

I wish I had some pictures to show. One man on our tour had a waterproof camera. He also has Brad's email address, but we haven't heard from him yet with the pictures. I have my fingers crossed we will.

When we weren't driving around and exploring, we were usually at the pool or the beach. We'd have lunch by the pool most days and it was so relaxing. They had the most delicious hamburger at the resort - gruyere cheese, grilled jalapeno and diced avocado. I think Brad ate one every day.

Oh my gosh, will I STOP talking about the food already?? Hope nobody is reading this while they're hungry.

We also played tennis each morning before it got too hot. That was fun. It had been too long since I'd played and I really do miss it. Felt nice to run around in between all the eating we were doing!

For my birthday Brad treated me to a spa package at the resort, which I enjoyed on our last full day there. It was absolutely heavenly. I felt like a very spoiled mommy all week long.

Mostly, though, it was just nice to go somewhere together, talk, relax and just be ourselves. That probably sounds weird, but we get so wrapped up in our stressful lives that it's easy to forget why we fell in love in the first place. We had a whole week to focus on each other and that's why it really felt like a second honeymoon to me. And Brad really made it all very romantic.

I did miss my munchkin quite a bit while we were there, though. We called and talked to him and my mom each day, just to see how he was doing. I'll write up another post on that because he had quite a few adventures of his own! I was so happy to get home to him, even if it meant leaving paradise. The big hug I got the morning after we got home felt even better than looking at this view. I mean, I'm not saying it wasn't close, but Charlie wins!
Bye Vieques! Thanks for an awesome time! xoxo

1 comment:

Megan Willis said...

Great recap of the vaca! I really enjoyed reading about all the fun stuff you guys did. I want to take a family vacation to Puerto Rico! We will bring our sons there one day ;)