So it was back in 2006 that I had lots of time on my hands and nowhere to really go. I was in Kansas City, grateful to my friend S. for letting me stay at his house. But there is only so much one can do and see in good ol’ KC, and I was getting itchy feet. Where could I go???
Miss S. lent me her travel guide to the Caribbean, why not go explore some places there, you can get cheap deals via Expedia. She was a huge fan of jamaica, which I will talk about in another post. But I wanted to go somewhere totally random. I looked through and found a place called Santo Domingo. It instantly struck a chord with me. The more I read the more I was amazed. Why hadn’t I heard of this place? I guess being so far away in Australia this region of the world doesn’t really factor into our geography classes. We all knew of Christopher Colombus and that he discovered America, but that’s about it. Little did I know that the Dominican Republic, and quite specifically Santo Domingo, is abound with history from this era.
I arrived to the hustle and bustle that is the airport, caught a taxi to my hotel which was smack bang in the historic heart, on the corner of the plaza de armas (main square). I was rapt! With my map in hand I explored such amazing places as Diego Colombus’ residence (Diego was Christopher’s Son). I explored the ruins of the oldest hospital in the america’s, the hospital of St Nicholas. The amazing tower and fort at the mouth of the Ozama River was also a gem, with cannons and other historical features. The main cathedral was also amazing, although according to history a lot of the riches and artefacts had been looted by the notorious pirate Francis Drake.
With so much history, it got me wondering. Why isn’t this place more on the tourist radar? Half the time I had all these sites to myself. I was definitely 1 of only a handful of “gringos”. I know many people, Americans especially, go to the all inclusive beach resorts such as Punta Cana, but why don’t they stop here? There is so much amazing history. So many amazing stories. A place you where you can go to a museum with authentic cannons, muskets, swords etc that the Spanish used against the marauding pirates. It was the type of place that bought me back to my days of playing with pirate Lego when I was a child. So much amazement, one of the best vacations ever!
It ended up being 5 days of pure fun! The locals were friendly, it was great drinking fresh juices in the cafes, and of course, awesome coffee. Lazing in the tropical heat, watching locals smoke cigars, young women strutting their “booties” in front of the boys. Sellers along the main shopping strip selling all sorts of junk. It was an all new sensory explosion for me, and a great introduction to Caribbean life!!