The walls of Santo Domingo's Zona Colonial came into view as the sun rose. This is a city of "firsts" in the New World, thanks to Christopher Columbus who "discovered" the island of Hispaniola in 1492 and to his brother, Bartholomew, who settled the city of Santo Domingo which now has a population of 3 million.
Although in Red Sox Nation the most loved Dominican may be "Big Papi", this imposing statue in the harbor honors a Dominican Friar who in the early days of the settlement preached against the abuse of the native Tiano people.
Our small group hired a cab and guide for our early Sunday morning exploration of the Old City. The many sites included these firsts in America: Cathedral, Monastery, Fortress, and Convent - all of which I will show you right now! No, not really.
Christopher Columbus and the first Indian to learn to read and write
The Convent of Santa Clara, 1522
Fortaleza de Santo Domingo, 1507, known as the "hub of the conquest of America" and the first medieval style fortress in America. Today, gearing up for a party - see Lighting McQueen?
We watched as this horse and driver backed expertly into their parking spot
First sundial in the Americas
Possibly the first Swedish horse
A fine museum contained this map of Christopher Columbus' voyages to find India
One of Columbus' sons Alcazar de Colon, the oldest Viceregal residence in America
A short drive from the old city brought us to Los Tres Ojos de Aqua, a series of three underground lakes and a 50 yard open limestone cave.
A continuous stream of fresh water flows through the pools - we threw food to the many Tilapia here, near the walkway.