Friday, July 10, 2015

Checking Out Santo Domingo

This was it: our last full day in the Dominican Republic. We decided that the history and touristy sites of the capital city Santo Domingo sounded too cool to pass up. Plus I think we'd all had enough time in the water by this point in our trip.

We pulled the same trick as yesterday, telling our tour guide to pick us up in front of a nearby well known resort. Our bus was unfortunately much more normal than this one.

Our guide had us stop to take a peek of the Chavón River. Our guide listed off several movies that included scenes that were shot here including Apocalypse NowRambo: First Blood Part II, and Jurassic Park.

The local shoe shop.

One of our gripes about the tour was the crazy amount of time they made us spend in gift shops. Like hours.

Taking pictures of souvenirs is so much better than buying them.

Our first stop was at this baseball training camp. I've read a bit about these places and they sound a lot like baseball sweat shops, with young kids quitting school to try to strike gold in the MLB. Here's an article about it.

We got a little tour of Los Tres Ojos (The Three Eyes) at the Parque Mirador Del Este.

The "eyes" are underground lakes.

We passed this street with lots of big water tanks, power washer looking generator things, and dudes sitting around on plastic chairs in the shade waiting for customers. I finally figured out that these were car washes.

The Columbus Lighthouse (Faro a Colón) in the distance there is bright enough to be seen from Puerto Rico.

The National Palace

Even Santo Domingo has a Chinatown. There are a lot of Chinese people to go around.

Cristopher Columbus' brother Bartholomew founded Santo Domingo in 1496, and according to Wikipedia it's "the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas, and was the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World."

We went on a guided tour of Alcázar de Colón, which was the residence of Columbus' son, Diego. Christopher was promised all sorts of things for finding the New World, including money, titles, and power over the lands he found. Not long after his discoveries he lost favor with the Spanish Crown and so lost many of his privileges. His son Diego's life seems to have largely consisted of trying to reclaim said lost goodies that he felt were rightfully his with amounts of success. Diego was named Viceroy of the Indies in 1511.

Fun fact: there are no known contemporary portraits of Christopher Columbus which means this painting, and any other you've ever seen of him, are completely made up.

The Panteon Nacional, where many of the country's heroes are buried. This whole tour of Santo Domingo was supposed to be in English, which was half true. It was in both English and Spanish. Our guide changed languages literally every other sentence. It was hard to listen to because he had to talk so fast that sometimes he would be half way though a sentence before I even realized it was English.

Parque Colon in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo

Our last stop was the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, which is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, begun in 1512 and completed in 1540.

The next day we packed up our bags and said goodbye to our condo.

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