Best of: Dominican Republic 2012/2013

DSCF1705 (2)

It has been years since we spent the holidays in my mother’s homeland of the Dominican Republic. Continue reading “Best of: Dominican Republic 2012/2013”

My Top 12 Photos of 2012

What a year!

It started above 10,000 feet in the mountains near Leadville, CO – moved to the snowy red rock deserts of Utah – then up to the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde – home for a short but sweet visit to my native Florida – and is wrapping up beach-side in the gorgeous Dominican Republic. Side-trips to St. Louis and all over the American Southwest added even more adventures to this awesome life of mine. Continue reading “My Top 12 Photos of 2012”

Santo Domingo Hotel Review: Renaissance Jaragua Hotel

During our stay in Santo Domingo we chose the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel as our home-away-from-home for two primary reasons. First: it’s located on the Malecon, which meant being close to the ocean and a reasonable distance from most of the sights in the city. Second: my grandmother has a timeshare with Marriott so we could use her points here. Continue reading “Santo Domingo Hotel Review: Renaissance Jaragua Hotel”

Santo Domingo: El Mercado

On our second day in Santo Domingo we set out into the wilds of the city to brave el mercado, the city’s largest market. Vendors met our van on the street and helped us out the door while shouting hellos and pushing their wares. The Politur, the Dominican Police especially assigned to protect tourists, immediately stepped forward to clear our path into the old open-air building. I wasn’t sure if I should feel like a celebrity or a criminal, but it did get my heart beating a little faster. Continue reading “Santo Domingo: El Mercado”

Santo Domingo Food: The Best Dinner of My Life

Like many urban centers, Santo Domingo is a mecca for international cuisine. Dominicans know and love their food. Since I’ve been staying with family, I’ve had the good fortune of experiencing countless homemade Dominican specialties. So when we arrived in the capitol, it was time to branch out. Continue reading “Santo Domingo Food: The Best Dinner of My Life”

Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial

Founded in 1496 by Christopher Columbus’s brother Bartholomew, Santo Domingo is considered today to be the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the Americas. It was the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule during their settlement of the new world and served as the launching point for a number of famous expeditions including those of Ponce De Leon, Diego Velazquez de Cuellar, Hernando Cortes, and Vasco Nunez de Balboa. It’s also a survivor, enduring hurricanes, pirates (Francis Drake captured the city in 1586 and held it for ransom), battles, invasions, occupations by France and Haiti, trades, dictators, and oppressive poverty. Continue reading “Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial”

Dominican Service

During my time in the Dominican Republic I have come to learn that Dominicans are a beautiful, happy, incredibly friendly people. Everyone waves, everyone says hello, and everyone smiles. This makes me feel cheerful and at home and, although my surroundings and the people themselves do look remarkably different, not so far away from my beautiful American southwest. Continue reading “Dominican Service”

DR Lesson #1: Rum Cures All Things

My first week in the Dominican Republic wrapped up just days ago and already it seems like only a blur of vivid colors and sensations in my head. Together with my mom, my grandmother, Austin, and his parents we spent 3 days in the capitol city of Santo Domingo before heading to the remote southwest region of the country to explore. The seven day ordeal was steeped in food, history, culture, and beauty both natural and not-so-much, but hanging over me the entire time was the nastiest, most miserable cold. Continue reading “DR Lesson #1: Rum Cures All Things”