Friday, December 23, 2016

Exploring the Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo

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On Tuesday the 20th we were off to walk the Conde and explore the Zona Colonial with the kids after breakfast at the hotel. We had access to a free breakfast buffet, snacks and sodas all day and light dinner and dessert on the top floor of the hotel as a perk with our Marriott rewards membership. It was a nice room with pretty views and good food that we definitely took advantage of during our stay at the Jaragua!
We hopped in a gua gua to get us to the Conde (I tried to secretly record it with my GoPro) because we wanted to be sure the kids experienced it...and because it's super cheap. Once we made it to the Conde, which is the main street in the colonial district lined with shops and some restaurants, we started walking and taking it all in. We stopped for fresh squeezed limeade that was amazing and eventually made our way to Parque Colon to see the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, the oldest cathedral in the Americas. The first stone was set by Diego Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus, in 1514 and the ashes of both are said to have once resided in the chapel's crypt. We didn't actually go inside because we weren't up to their dress code, but we enjoyed the shaded park area. Mike bought the kids some bird seed for the pigeons. Ella wanted NOTHING to do with birds flocking to her :-) but Addie and Preston were all for it and after a man showed them what to do they had birds swarming their hands for the food. It made for some great pictures and videos and was their favorite part of the day!
We then headed down Calle de las Damas, the first paved street in the Americas (laid in 1502) which was named because the wife of Diego and her lady friends would stroll the road each afternoon. On we went towards the home of Diego Columbus. While walking along we came across some sort of big building that looked like a church and happened to have a changing of the guards taking place just as we looked in. Lucky timing :-). We made it to the house of Diego and started heading back to the Conde to find some lunch and get the kids some sunglasses for the rest of the trip (we also had a pit stop when Addie asked to play chess. We passed by some boys playing earlier and just one kid was sitting there alone on our way back). Our last stop of the day was at a big Mercado. We arrived just as it started pouring...lucky timing again... and then we caught a taxi back to the hotel. Mike asked the driver how much he would charge to take us to the San Cristobal caves the next day (we were debating renting a car or not since it was an hour away) and he said $40 to take us, wait for us and drive us back, such a deal and so nice to not have to worry about finding it on our own.
As soon as we were back to the hotel we changed and went to the pool to cool down and relax before bed. The weather has been amazing for the most part. It rains each afternoon but doesn't last long and has been much cooler than expected. Sometimes it will feel a little hot if you are walking in the direct sun, but the rest of the time it feels just right.
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took a screen shot of this Ella post of her view from breakfast :-)
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love the colorful art everywhere!
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I took these just to show the kids what the sunglasses they tried on looked like but I love them :-)
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