Ponce

We arrived at Ponce and checked into our hotel, which was Hotel Melia.  This place is very old, and has been run by the same family for over 100 years.  The rooms were a little dated, but it was clean and affordable, and the people working there were great.  It also has an absolutely unbeatable location right on the main square.  The main square is, of course, dominated by the cathedral.
 Ponce also has a lot of really cool architecture in the historic center.  Here is a typical street scene.
 The main attraction is the Parque de Bombas, the old firehouse.  This structure was built for an agricultural exposition, and later served as a firehouse for a long time.  It is said to be one of the most photographed buildings in PR, and you can see why.  Inside is a small museum to local fireman.
We also took a tour offered by the museum which took us around the historic part of the city by bus, while a tour guide explained the sights.  Our tour guide, Israel, was fantastic!  He was friendly, and, even though we were the only people on the tour, he really gave it his all.  He waved to every single person we passed, stopping to talk to several, and everyone seemed to know him. He was really fun, and his obvious love for his town was contagious.  I highly recommend this tour, particularly since it only cost $2 per person.


 Another interesting thing we saw were these houses.  Many years ago the fireman saved the town from burning down, and in recognition the city granted them an area where they built these distinctive houses.  The descendants of the people still live in them.  They are painted red and black, just like the Parque de Bombas above, because that is the traditional color of firehouses in PR.  We indeed did see modern firehouses painted these colors.
Next, the Ponce Museum of Art.

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