It is such a luxury to sleep in and to be located where there are so many interesting places I can walk to. I was a bit concerned about sleeping well because my room is on the first floor facing a narrow road but it was not a problem. (You can see my view in the photo.) I slept ‘til 10 and just got a lovely, leisurely start to the day.
I was finally able to connect with someone at Compassion Dominican and we will now use What’s App to communicate the details for Monday’s visit with my sponsor child. Apparently all the details are in place and it’s a “go” so now I get very excited. They will tell him now, I think, about our visit/excursion and I know he will be over the moon. So funny. At the Miami airport, security took the harmonica I bought him out of its box, placed it in a metal dog dish, and X-rayed it separately.
I’m using my DR pesos this trip. Last year I didn’t bring enough (200 are worth less than $4 USD) so this time I brought lots, I think, to manage most of meals out and a few gifts as well.
Had a delicious desyuno-Americanos with cherry juice (orange juice was not an option) for about $8 this morning at the Parque Colon. A girl was standing in the park with pigeons on both her hands but she shook them off and went to sit down before I could whip my camera out. Later in the afternoon, though, I got these pictures of the pigeons.
After brunch, I went to inquire about the little tourist train that leaves from the tourist information spot on the square. I will probably take it tomorrow. Then I walked across the street to the 14th century cathedral called Catederal Primada de America. It was only 50 pesos to go in and like most places, all the photos you want — just no flash, no video. It doesn’t look gothic from the outside, but inside it has all the alcoves along the side (transepts?) and incredible art work although there is a rather odd-looking nativity staged in one. The section with the wrought-iron gate has a sign requesting silence and saying that the chapel is for prayer only. As you will see from my photos, this is a beautiful old church, airy and bright, no flash required.
Afterwards, I shopped the other side of the square before heading down Hostos St. toward the ruins of the Dominicans of San Francisco. I also got some photos of the ruins of the Hospital San Nicolás de Bari built in 1673 and the first hospital built on the island. At the end of the street, before the Dominican ruins, the street goes uphill with lots of stairs and colourfully painted houses. I chose to go to the next street rather than take the stairs but I got a nice picture which I’ll add at the end. I hope to get to the main courtyard of the Spanish section tomorrow.
I picked up a tour guide/taxi driver who worked hard to try to get me to hire him but I finally had to insist I wasn’t doing this today after he walked 3 blocks with me talking all the way pointing out important points of interest. Sorry old lad but it was time to head back. Spent a bit more time in the square, spotted a Pizza Hut where I might eat tomorrow, was able to pick up a lovely colourful blouse for Eduardo’s mother and finally headed back to the hotel. Got organized and changed and headed for the pool where I swam, read, and dozed. Very relaxing.
For dinner, I went to the Taberna Don Quijote here at the hotel where I discovered that the Internet works much better here than in my room. I ordered the chicken breast with roasted vegetables which came with a side garden salad. (Perhaps one day I’ll remember to take the picture before I start eating.) Anything liquid came from the bar and water was bottled and the wine choices were white or red. I ordered a glass and it was quite nice. The chicken was tender and succulent while the vegetables were just right but there was too much food for me. Delicious though.
I stayed on with my wine and water to work on this post so that I am saved the frustration of constantly losing the Internet in my room. I do wish the spell check would stop changing my Spanish to English words that have nothing to do with what I’m talking about. I’m hoping that I’m catching them all.
This really is a lovely old hotel with lots of updates without losing the old world charm. I have a shower stall and I love the brick-like stone tiles across the back of the stall. Love the feel of them — fits so well. Hoping for an earlier start tomorrow and possibly the train ride. Here’s the picture I promised. Cheers from Santo Domingo!