Friday, 18 February 2011

Columbus and Crazy Daisy

This guy has been around, and I don't mean in 1492.  Apparently his remains are scattered over several parts of the globe, as various countries have laid claim to, and actually removed, parts of him and reburied them beneath their own soil with appropriate monuments erected at each location.  Recently, I have had the opportunity to travel to a number of ports which figured prominenetly in his life.  Just a few years ago, I visited Chatanooga, Tennessee where I boarded a full scale replica of the Nina, one of Columbus's smaller ships.  It was so small, one could hardly imagine it making its way successfully across the Atlantic.  2 years ago, I viewed  a full scale replica of the Santa Maria flagship in the harbour of Bayon Real in northern Spain.  The castle which overlooks this bay is apparently the last siting of land in Europe for Columbus as he set out on his journey to the New World in 1492.  Last year (2010), I visited his palace in old Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and learned of the Spanish rendition of his name, Cristobel Colon.  Finally, I am about to embark on another journey to Genoa where he made the decision to seek assistance for his explorations from the powerful and forward thinking Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella.  I am anxious to check out the Genovese claims to Columbus.  This was never a planned investigation, but somehow it just evolved.
By the way, admission to his palace in Santo Domingo was very reasonable and is well appointed with furnishings, many authentic articles, or period appropriate items.  There were self-directed audio tours in English, and the translation was very good.  The info' was upfront about which items were original and which were replicas, or from another source. It was well worth the long walk from the pier and the slight risk of contracting cholera.  (we were warned, and heeded the caution, to eat and drink nothing, nor touch anything).  The harbour area was filthy, but the castle itself was wonderful as was the nearby museum, garden, and church.  Admission to all of it was less than $6 per person total!  Impressive too were the Tourist Police who assisted us in crossing busy streets on foot -  a bit dangerous otherwise. 
When I get a little smarter at blogging, I will attempt to post some photos.

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