Dominican Republic Day Three: Santo Domingo. Another Walk in The Colonial Zone

Dominican Republic Day Three: Santo Domingo. Another Walk in The Colonial Zone

Dominican Republic Day 3 morning colonial zone (32 of 49)
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I awoke in Santo Domingo early on Friday with plans of  continuing my exploration of the historic Colonial Zone . However nature wasn’t co-operating and my walk was delayed by a torrential rainstorm. It is the rainy season here and it pretty much could rain just about any time of the day.  The rain stopped around 7:30 a.m. and I was off on the old cobblestone streets of the old city. There was not a lot of traffic, either pedestrian or motor vehicle in this part of the Colonial Zone.  It was nice walking the deserted streets. It lets me think and reflect on my travels. 

I walked up Calle 19 de Marzo, which was easy to identify by these colorful street signs that are common in the Caribbean countries. 

As in every city a lot of the morning traffic in downtown and tourists areas  consists of  delivery trucks bringing food and goods for the restaurants  and shops on nearby Calle El Conde.  

I walked past Calle El Conde, which is  the  closed to  motor vehicle traffic. It is  lined with shops, businesses  and restaurants and will be bustling later in the day. It too was almost deserted at this early hour.

There was now a fairly steep incline as I continued my walk toward the ruins of an old Franciscan Monastery. 

Construction of the monastery began in 1509, making it the first and oldest monastery in the Western Hemisphere. 

I walked around the ruins reflecting on the monks who came here from Spain in the 16th century, the people who built it, and the many residents who attended mass at the church that was later built. My mind took me to a Christmas Eve Mass here  hundreds of years ago. How strange it much  have felt to the people living in this strange new land. 

Many memories are haunting  these ruins

 I reflected on the history of the monastery, it was destroyed by a  earthquakes and hurricanes over the years and in the 1930;s wasn’t repaired.  As I inspected the ruins I noticed some birds perched in a tree. They were parrots.

What beautiful birds. I took some photos and then realized a made a friend. This poor dog, with an injured leg started to follow me, and continued to follow me on for two more miles. 

I walked down Calle Restrauracion  and then  zigzagged my way down several  cobblestone streets lined with  residences that  have been occupied for centuries. Folks lived and died in these homes experiencing earthquakes and hurricanes. A lot to reflect on walking in these old cities. 

Walking past the Spanish Plaza I made my way  down to the massive stone  wall along the Ozma River that surrounded the old city. 

I  walked along the old wall, and found this memorial to a beautiful lady which I haven’t been able to identify. 

and came to a poorer residential neighborhood  which I was advised not to enter, Being alone, and older than I once was, I took that advice. 

I made my way back along the old wall, again reflecting on the many people who  also took this walk over the last five hundred years, 

and made my way into the expansive stone  Spanish Plaza. The plaza will be crowded later in the day and evening. There are many fine restaurants surrounding the plaza including Pat’ e Palo the oldest restaurant in the Western Hemisphere. The plaza is lined with tall pine trees and surrounded by gardens. A good place for birds to hang out, and they were!

High atop a palm tree I saw this American kestrel, they are common here as are

the palmchat, this one was also perched high  atop a palm tree. 

Closer to the ground, and fluttering in these flowers

, were a small flock of these pretty birds, bananaquits. 

After doing some birding I left the plaza, still followed by my companion dog, who I named Count Corky after my dad’s childhood dog Count and my childhood dog Corky. He was a good, kind dog. We walked past some familiar sites, the Panteon ,

and Columbus Park and were soon back at my hotel.  Count Corky stared at me as I entered the hotel. I decided to skip breakfast, it was around 10 a.m. After making some phone calls I left the hotel. Count Corky was gone but the folks at the hotel said he comes around and they feed him. I was happy to hear this. We became good friends on that two mile walk. I left the hotel in search of a taxi. I was  trying to get to the botanical gardens. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike in the Colonial Zone. Dominican Republic morning walk October 22 2021. 

“If you are delighted to be in ancient ruins, you are either a curious historian or a romantic person!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

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