A Dominican Vacation: Learning History In A More Exciting Way!
It was Wednesday afternoon, and Elisha and I were jumping with excitement. Mom was going on a trip to the Dominican Republic to suprise her best friend Carolina for her birthday, and we had just been told that we were coming along, as well!
We started packing right away, and our little sister was happy as can be. We were very excited about this Dominican vacation!
The next day, we left for the airport! During the layover in New York, we saw our grandma and our mom’s cousin. Then, we rushed to our next Delta plane! This time, it was an international flight. I LOVE international flights because we get movies! I saw The Good Dinosaur.
When we arrived at the Santiago airport, it was very late at night. We were so excited to surprise Carolina! When we walked out, they both let out piercing screams and ran to hug each other.
On Friday, we spent the day playing with Carolina’s adorable sons. That night, we had dinner with another blogger, Gianny Liranzo, and her family, and saw the breathtaking marble monument overlooking the city.
The construction of the monument began in 1944 by the orders of the dictator then, Rafael Trujillo, who was a really mean ruler! He called it “Trujillo’s Monument to Peace.” After his death, it was renamed “El Monumento a Los Héroes de la Restauración“, or, translated in English, “The Monument to The Heroes of the Restoration.” This was in remembrance of the Independence Restoration War of 1863, in which the Dominican Republic regained its independence from Spain. The monument stands 220 feet tall!
I was admiring the view of all the buildings and trees when I saw the illuminated sky above me. I learned that the “stars” in the sky were actually houses’ lights on the mountains, which were covered by the darkness of the evening.
The city of Santiago was founded in the late 15th century, by members of Christopher Columbus’ expedition. It is one of the oldest cities in the New World! It is also the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic, and the fourth-largest city in the Caribbean. It’s nickname is ‘La ciudad de los caballeros‘, or, ‘The city of the Gentlemen.’
I found it amazing that I could learn history AND have even more fun at the same time! It’s all about finding the right angle.
On Saturday, we got to go to the beach. You may wonder why we would go to the beach when it’s still cold. If you’ve had a Dominican vacation, you know there is really only one season: Summer!!!
It was a long drive to the beach, but it was definitely worth it! Beforehand, we had gone shopping for natural juices and plenty of snacks and put them in a cooler to be prepared for the long day.
We went to Cabarete beach, and it was a sunny, perfect day – a perfect day for swimming! As we headed to sea, we saw lots of colorful kites in the sky and people surfboarding in the ocean. Every year, the World Cup for Professional Windsurfing is celebrated here, as well as the kiteboarding Cabarete Race Week.
This beach is located on Dominican Republic’s North Coast in Puerto Plata, and it’s wonderful for relaxing! Christopher Columbus arrived at the coast on January 11th of 1493 and named it Puerto Plata (Silver Port.)
My mom got my sister and I rings made out of a stone found only in the Dominican Republic called Larimar. It was found by a member of the US Peace Corps and a Dominican citizen in 1974. They named this stone “Larimar” after the man’s daughter,”Larrisa” and the Spanish word for sea,”mar”.
Its extraordinary blue color is like that of the clear blue skies and oceans in the Dominican Republic. Larimar is considered a healing stone that increases speech and communication skills.
After our wonderful time at the beach, we enjoyed ourselves at one of the many wonderful restaurants right on the beach, while we listened to live music, ate scrumptious food, and watched the amazing sunset.
At the end of the day, we were sandy, tired, and happy, which is just how you should feel after a trip to the beach!
This is probably one of my most favorite vacations I’ve been on, because I’ve been able to balance fun and learning about history!
What are memories you have of going on trips with your family? And, how are you going to find more learning opportunities? I look forward to hearing your responses! I’m sure you have very interesting stories to tell.
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