Hey, that rhymes. Ponce, pronounced “pon-say”, is the second largest city in Puerto Rico. It is named after Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, and thus the city emblem is the lion. There are lots of lion statues about the place. My favourites are the newest ones. We saw them dotted around the historic city square. Chicago has its cows; San Francisco, its hearts; Vancouver, its orcas. Ponce has its lions.
Most of the day was focussed on errands. Top of the list was laundry. TripAdvisor gave us a good recommendation for a wash-and-fold but it took some sleuthing to find the place. (Reviewers: Spelling does count. Google maps doesn’t know that “Express” is the same as Xpress.) For the record, Xpress Laundromat is on Ave. Eduard Ruberte across from a post office. Tel 939-397-7731. We got a bit lost returning to collect our laundry at the end of the day; we found the shop at 3 minutes to closing. Whew. (Tony was already down to some funny outfits and the rest of us were running out of choices; good thing we didn’t have to wait until Monday.)
Next priority was finding the Coto Laurel post office. We (big thanks to Gayle who found and sweet-talked PR’s best post office employee — seriously) had arranged for mail and packages to be sent “general delivery” to the Coto Laurel post office outside of Ponce. I didn’t know that general delivery still existed. One of our packages had arrived. I hope the others will arrive on Monday.
We did a noon time stroll around the old colonial center of the town. Some nice old buildings and some that are in disrepair and some vacant lots and some new infill. Not much was open at 11:45 am on a Saturday in low season. Happily, the famous King’s ice cream shop was open. P & G chose chocolate, and T & I enjoyed the tamarind.
Also in this town square is the fascinating Parque de Bombas building — built for an Exhibition Trade Fair and used as a fire station after that. It is now a museum.
We completely failed to find the first hardware store recommended in “crazy man’s guidebook”. I think the store had closed. But, we did, eventually, find the House of Screws or rather La Casa de los Tournillos. We took a number and queued for a long time and it was hot, but in the end it was worthwhile — a successful shopping outcome.
In the evening, after more shopping and shlepping and stowing followed by a little primping, we met Paul in town for a lovely meal at Isabel 46, a restaurant in an historic house in the centre.