Diary 3 and the wildness, I now reaches the capital.
The first part of the road is through the southern
desert, after I have cleared the cane fields, but inland. Here are some
irrigated fields with cane, bananas and mango, and some huge ones
with tomatoes. I've been here before, but I have to stop several times on
the 40 kilometre stretch, when I reach the hilly desert. I might not
find new plants, but here are some great motives. One I have seen before,
but it good enough for another picture.
make a 50 kilometre detour to the peninsular on which Las Caldras is
found. It have a harbour, but when I get to it, it turns out to be the Naval
Base, and I'm not really welcome. I head on towards the point, and it turn
interesting. First, I find a nice mangrove. On the other side of the road
are some partly overgrown but huge dunes.
I head back, and follow the main road for a while. Then I turn into the coastal road, which at first is a narrow gravel road. It leads through some rich farm land, with cane, mangrove and cattle. Then it turn into vine-overgrown forest, and here start to be a few small towns.
I pass several beaches, but they are overcrowded on this
Sunday, and the music it way too loud. I rather come back during the
weekdays - or not.
4. The poor German is having a love-affair with the toilet, and I offers to walk his girlfriend. We start by the water, which actually offers a real nice sandy beach a few hundred metres from the centre of town. Here start to be some real nice old houses, some of them dating back hundreds of years. A single new parking house is covered in vertical gardens: Green plants on mattresses, hanging on the walls.
reach the big and real nice pedestrian street, with art, cafes and
souvenirs. I actually petty sure we see more souvenir-shops than tourists
today. Besides from the Chinese plastic stuff, they do have some real nice
wooden carvings and paintings along with what I suspect is Haitian metal
We reach the Mercado Modelo, which unfortunately only contains souvenir shops, and they are desperate. Brining a girl, make it harder to avoid them, and we make a fast walk straight through. On the other side, a few fruit, vegetable and chicken stands are found. I saw some yesterday, and here again a lot of the Turkish Hat cactus. I doubt they eat them, but I have to find out. My host later informs me, it is for gardens, not consuming. The live and butchered hens are keep a bit too close for my liking.
Then we pass the San Nicolas de Bari hospital ruins on our way to the river. Here are a few other typical Spanish Colonial buildings. We see the real nice National Pantheon and Park Independencia along with other impressive buildings. We end at the real nice pedestrian street again, and find a cafe, serving Vegetarian Sandwiches: Quite neat for two vegetarians. Well, it end up with ham in, but it is easily removed. And they have several real nice looking cakes, and we have to try two. As usually, they did look better than they tasted.
We are back at three, and I kind of call it a day. The sun have gone, and it have become steamy. I just start working. At seven, I give the Germans a lift to their flight. The 30 kilometres take an hour out, and only half back. I get the rest of their pesos, and are better paid than the taxi. Santa Domingo 1
5. I left that car on the road, and figure I might
as well can drive out to the Jadin Botanico Nacional. It is ten
kilometres through dense morning traffic, but worth it. It is a huge garden,
around 1300 x 1300 metres,
and real nice kept. Here is a huge orchid
collection, and they grow them in some materials I haven't seen before.
Like the Japanese garden, the rest have several large and nice looking ponds. Here is a small butterfly house with a few butterflies. In deep contrast to poor underdeveloped countries like Denmark, they have a well functional tissue-lab. Jadin Botanico Nacional
At noon, I have not seen it all, but the most interesting
areas, and I head home. I even remember to gas the car, so I won't have to
do it the morning I return it. I have to charge my GPS before I head
back to town, and grab some bananas and biscuits in the kitchen.
I have now seen the most shops in the market, but I was the only costumer. On the back side of the market, I see the few fruit stands once again, and I ask one of the guys, selling cacti: Do you eat them. Yes, he says, they are good for the stomach. I'll have that in mind, should I get a problem...
The sun is still not really with me, but I revisit some
of the old buildings anyway. First the ruins of Monasterio de san
Francisco. I get a glimpse of sun, and the photo is so much better. At
Plaza de Espana and the long building of Alcázar de Colón, the
sun have gone again. Behind it, I find a view to three bridges: An arch, a
floating and a suspension.
I follow the rather uninteresting river to the old building the Trampoline Children's Museum is found in, where a huge tent is being erected in the entire courtyard. Next to it is Fortaleza Ozama, a quit little fortress. Next up is the large Cathedral: Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación.
On the way back to the pedestrian street, I pass some
other old houses, and then I find a cafe with a olive-feta sandwich. I
follow the pedestrian street from one end to the other, but don't look at a
single shop. I end up at Park
Independencia, and find my cosy B&B on the other side. I'm home at four,
and that causes for something real special: Trousers washing! I start
working while they soak.
6. I didn't really need this day, but at least, I
get to spend it in the real nice Santo Domingo. I take my time at the
breakfast, and then walk a bit outwards of town, to reach the promenade. Here
are several small fortresses: Fuerte de San Gil and Fuerte de San
Jose and rocky cliffs reach the sea. Some huge Boettger's lizards;
Gallotia caesaris are hunting on the narrow grassland between the road
and the cliffs, and wasn't it for all the huge trucks on the road, it would
be a tranquil area.
I head towards the large river and the centre of town, and set the GPS for Faro a Colón. As I pass along the coast, I get to see the quite impressive wall, protecting the old town and its fortresses. A real huge wall seem rather new new, but actually more disintegrated than the old ones.
I cross the huge river on the floating bridge, and see
some fishermen on the other side. One is selling live fish, and it must be
In the pedestrian street, I find a Plata del Dia, with cheese tart and salad along with a big glass of fresh passion fruit juice. I look at the shops in the pedestrian street on the way home, but here are not really anything new. I make it back to the B&B at half pass one, just for a pit-stop. Mainly because I am running low on ideas on what to entertain myself with.
Then I head back, using the parallels streets to the pedestrian. The first part is through an alley of fig trees, like the one I have at home - although bigger. The backstreets are a completely different world: Here are hardly any shops, and the houses are in general in need of a bit of maintenance. I find Iglesia de Las Mercedes with fig tree.
I turn around and cross the pedestrian street, just where a cafe have some great looking cakes - unfortunately without much taste. The other parallel street is pretty much as dead, but it have Iglesia de Nuestra Senora del Carman with a mess - and a huge fig tree. I start wondering, if it actually are Bodhi trees; Ficus religiosa, and it is (secret tree in India, under which Buddha meditated). - and even more Santo Domingo and HIGHLIGHTS
at home, I pay my bill, and start working in the late afternoon. I have spend
13 days in this nice country, and feel I have seen it. I have taken 2380
photos and driven 2314 kilometres. In general, more photos than kilometres
make it a good experience. Never the less, it is not a country I plan to
return to. From here, I head to Puerto Rice.