CHASING THE MAP

Visiting The Municipal Cemetery in Isabel, Vieques

I have found cemeteries to be both fascinating and creepy at the same time. But despite the latter, I find myself searching them out, especially in unique, historical parts of the United States and around the world. On a trip once to New Orleans, I visited the famous Saint Louis Cemetery 1 in the hopes of finding Marie Laveau’s crypt, the renowned Queen of Voodoo. The cemetery is rather large and I was miserably unsuccessful.

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On this trip to Vieques, I decided to visit the Municipal Cemetery. It’s just a short 5 minute walk west of Isabel Segunda, on Calle Canon. If you pass a large, rusted barge listing in the ocean, you’re on the right track. It’s a fascinating way to take a look into the lives of the deceased and of how the living honor their dead.

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I was the lone visitor to the cemetery on this day. It was intensely quiet and I was immediately overcome by a sense of peacefulness. Although they’re really compelling to walk around, there’s also a great measure of respect that I feel towards the departed and where they’re interred. I’m careful where I step, and my presence is hushed.

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The cemetery is on a huge piece of property with a million dollar view of the ocean. Gorgeous views of Puerto Rico can be seen from here. If I were to be buried, I’d consider this place a top contender. I can’t even begin to guess how many crypts there are, but there’s a lot, and they’re very close together. The pathways in between are quite narrow, but there’s still space to respectfully move past them.

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Some crypts have been here since the late 1800’s. Many have all or most of their markings wiped away due to age and weather. That’s always made me sad. Nobody should lose their identity, even in death. There are many artificial flowers in pots and urns, adding bursts of color here and there, before they fade in the harsh sunlight.

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There’s also a small building in the center that I imagine is used for funeral services. There were plenty of folding chairs to accommodate mourners.

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A cemetery may never have been a landmark that you considered visiting. I think they provide great insight into the place you’re vacationing at, and are often quite interesting. The crypts in a cemetery are also incredibly varied. Some are more elaborate than others. Some have interesting quips on them. Sadly, some look like they’ve been forgotten. They all have an interesting story to tell, and I really think you just might want to listen up.

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