Samana Day 4 – 5

Long over due, the last bits of the trip. I was delayed posting this as I just returned from another holiday / vacation to Sicily (poor me). I’m hopefully going to post about that trip sooner as I’m more settled (though things have not slowed down) and would like to get back into a rhythm.

But now – the remainder.

Day 4

We were heading into our last full day on the island. In order to live it up, we went on an excursion where we rode horses through a huge farm / plantation and then were escorted to a mega waterfall (the biggest in the Dominican Republic).

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The waterfall was amazing. When we arrived, we were blown away by how huge and powerful it was. It was hot but wasn’t super sunny by the falls so we were weary about getting into the falls to swim but I decided to jump in. Why would I turn down the opportunity to say that I swam in a waterfall. Full of rocks, I jumped in timidly and then splashed about, somehow managing to injure myself (I hit my foot on a rock).

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Later, we took a car back to our little bungalow and went out for a nice meal dressed in some summer formal attire (think linen pants for him, white short dress with flowy wrap). We ate at a somewhat French themed restaurant and had a great tasty but slightly overpriced meal (my favorite spot was the Gato Negro where we had our burger feasts two nights in the DR). It was a great way to end the day!

Day 6

For our last morning in Las Galeras, we left quite early as we had to catch a 2 – 3 hour bus back to Santo Domingo and the bus could be unreliable in terms of sticking to the bus departure schedule.

We said goodbye to our cute bungalow and jumped in a taxi to Samana and then bused it to Santo Domingo. We did have a bit of time to sit in the center of Samana and walk around a bit where I grab some photos of some rustic looking boats near a smelly body of water. haha

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When we arrived back in NYC at JFK, we made our way into the city to sleep in a hotel in midtown (The Bernic). Super fancy, super nice (I blogged about it). We ate NYC pizza and lounged away in a room with fluffy pillows and heated floors in the shower.

Samana Day 1-3

The title of this blog post is called Samana Day 1-3 because although we were in the DR for two days at this point, we officially arrived and started our day / true vacation from this moment forward.

Day 1

We woke up in our beautiful all white minimalist villa to a natural green landscape covered with wildlife. Sun poked it way through the clouds as we got dressed for the day and sipped on our morning coffee and / or tea.

Beginning our Caribbean holiday the only way we knew how, we made our way down to the private beach with down our secret / private entrance.

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At the beach, we thought “Why not plan our next holiday to Italy?”  because that is what one does when tasked with sitting in the sun all day.

Later we decided that we needed to get moving and splashed around in the ocean as well as built a rather impressive sandcastle.

Full of sun, we then made our way into Las Galeras (the specific area in which we stayed in Samana) to explore the town in the daylight as well as to grab a bite to eat. We didn’t know where to go exactly but stopped in a small cafe that served sandwiches (if they want to call them that). It was quite underwhelming (some toasted bread with a thick cut cheese and ham barely melted between the two slices topped with ketchup). It was edible and cured the hunger pain but would I recommend? No.

After that, we strolled about for a bit and picked up some pastries to eat for breakfast in the morning and grabbed some food from the local market (which color me shocked – didn’t have pre packaged meats). That would be a task for the next day but let me say, it was something to cook a meal from scratch.

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We spent the remainder of the day, lounging about and finally went up the hill from our villa to a tasty restaurant serving Italian food.

Day 2

It was time to head to the beach again, this time, for a bit of working out and swimming.

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Getting a bit restless, we moved to the bar at the beach where we sipped on some “Coctel de casa” and ordered a fresh fish meal. The beach we spent most of our time at was called Javo Beach – very well maintained and lovely.

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The kitchen on the beach however, I wasn’t a fan. We ordered our meal and stood by waiting but it took like half an hour to eat. It was frustrating as people came after us and were served way faster. Maybe it was because of the language barrier or the fact that we wanted the meal to go but they forgot about us. No one wants to be forgotten on vacation – it ruins the magic of it all!

A bit after digesting, we left the beach and went on a stroll to watch the sunset at a nearby beach.

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Later we (or I) made some grilled chicken (our chicken was freshly killed, umm…..), sweet plantains and some home fry styled potatoes. It wasn’t half bad considering I was out of my element with this freshly killed chicken. haha

We ate dinner and then played some cards (rummy) in the villa, drinking our own homemade cuba libres. Was a fun relaxed night and great way to spend Valentine’s Day.

Day 3

We ventured to Play Rincon from Las Galeras. Such a hard walk considering I was wearing trainers and a dress when we had to cross a beach during high tide to get there. I enjoyed it but we also got lost for about an hour before we even got started. Wandering up hills and faux paths, we trampled through the “forest” in circled before a local popped up out of nowhere and pointed us in the right direction.

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I almost died along the way and lost my shoe to some quicksand like mud. I hiked quite a bit in the blazing sun and had only a small bottle of water to hold me over. I think what made the journey seem more agonizing was the fact that we passed by multiple private beaches along the way.

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The beach was beautiful though – very quiet and the waves were crashing all around us. The one thing I did forget to do – remove my jewelry. The waves were so strong that when one smacked me in the head, it took my earring with it.

After spending a few hours here and enjoying an alcoholic drink from a coconut (aka Coco Loco) – we took a boat back as opposed to walking from three hours in the sweltering heat.

Later, I forced us to go out to dinner at a local joint we had a burger at upon arrival in Las Galeras the first night.

Stay tuned for more!

 

 

The Journey To Samana

The long awaited blog post is here. Well, I feel it’s long awaited. I’ve been promising to fill you in on what happened in the Dominican Republic but I’ve found myself recently inundated with tasks that need to be completed by an upcoming deadline (more on that in a new post).

But now, I’m ready. I have a moment to catch my breath and spill it back out again just so you all can know about my DR experience. So read on.

At around 11PM on a Friday night, I arrive at JFK to meet my boyfriend coming from London. We thought it’d be cute / more fun to fly together since he was coming into my city for a layover. I decided to greet him at JFK despite the fact that our DR flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 9AM the next day. After about an hour and a half awaiting (border patrol was no joke for him), I finally saw him.

Knowing it was late and that we’d only get four or five hours sleep at a hotel in the city before having to go back to the airport, we decided to wait it out at JFK. Sleeping near check in, we tried to get very uncomfortable rest in some Delta chairs. At around 4 or 5AM (can’t honestly remember), we check in for our flight and make our way through security.

We’re sitting at the gate for a few hours when a trip debbie downer happens. My phone is no where in sight. I had in my hand and then stuck it in my pocket, never getting up once from seat at the gate but somehow it went poof. My boyfriend and I began picking through our belongings and searching next to us. Ultimately I report it to the gate and they offer no real help. My boyfriend then tries to get security involved and they direct him to find the police station in the terminal (talk about drama). I keep searching and re-opening the same bags when after an hour or more of this a woman behind me asks “Are you looking for something?” Cue the eye roll.

I say yes and she asks what for and then I say my phone (I mean she literally sat right behind me and heard me talking about this and looking for the past hour). She then tells me she found it in a place that there was no way in hell it was (I never left my seat). She then asks me to tell her the color of  my phone to confirm it’s correct and then signals her man friend to give me my phone. She says god is good while he digs to the literal depths of his bag to give it back. After a few minutes of fumbling, he pulls it out and gives it to me. It is at this point I realize my phone was turned off. Thieves! No one who finds a phone turns it off. If you lose your phone, you will call it so it was obvious they didn’t want whoever who lost it (me) to find it.

At that point, I take the phone and accept her lies. My boyfriend and I move seats and learn an early lesson. Be extra attentive to your things. Putting it in your coat pocket is risky when your coat is not on your body.

After that we board are plain, phone in hand, and get ready to jet off. Or so we think. We sit out on the strip for like an hour and a half before having to get off the plane due to some sort of broken or incorrectly functioning thing on it. HUH?

We wait an hour or so more and then board. Flying for about four hours, we finally hit Santo Domingo.

I don’t have any pictures from this day I realize but I was too exhausted to do any photos.

The next morning, we went to the bus station to head off to Samana.

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We took a gua-gua (a rickety bus) in the rain from Samana to our place in Las Galeras. It was amazing but a rough journey getting there. Stay tuned for what’s next!

 

Dominican Republic Vacation #tired

Forgive me. I planned on writing about my trip to the Dominican Republic while in the Dominican Republic. I was just there to lounge with my boyfriend so figured we’d have a lot of downtime, some of which would lend itself to writing. I was wrong.

Surprisingly enough, downtime just sort of disappears on vacation. You’re doing one thing like building castles on the beach and the next thing you know, you’re making dinner and playing rummy and sipping on Cuba Libres. The night’s done and then it all flows into the next day once more.

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The trip – 8 days in the Dominican Republic. Time spent relaxing and sunning in the Caribbean as neither of us have ever been . It was an amazing time!

I plan to elaborate more but I literally just got back today after running around and trekking back on a long trip involving buses, taxis, airplanes, and more. I need a nap.

Posts will soon come but just to tide you over, below are some quick pictures from our second day in the DR. The first night was spent in Santo Domingo but we were so worn out, I forgot to take pictures (I did Snapchat so you can follow me there for in the moment updates, @aliciacbarnes).

 

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