Sunday, February 22, 2015

Morning Walkabout

We're camped out at Casa de Campo as we wait for a rainy, windy weather system to move through, so we're taking advantage of being at the dock for a couple of days.

First advantage - being on the dock with easy access to the surrounding resort means no excuses, we're going to stretch out those unused muscles and go for a walk. It's been way too long!

Second advantage - shore power. So I'm getting out the sewing machine and getting on with one of the sewing projects on the list.

We set out early to do a little exploring and with intermittent showers and cloud-cover the heat was kept at bay long enough for us to enjoy a two-hour walk. The enclave of Casa de Campo is a gated area of about 7000 acres including four golf courses. The area directly above the marina is all private homes and just at the eastern edge is a large river, the Rio Chavon. The river has cut a wide gorge and flood plain down to the ocean but the land beside the river still rises some 300' above it, providing some pretty amazing views. The strangest thing though is how they have decided to capitalize on it here. Altos de Chavon is situated at the highest point above the river and if you were to have been dropped there, not knowing your location, you would presume you were in an old Tuscan village, only this one has shops selling DR souvenirs. I kid you not, the attraction here is a medieval-styled village complete with weaver's cottage, church and amphitheater, and a multitude of caf├ęs, restaurants and shops. I'm not sure what the amphitheater has to do with mediaval times since it seems more Roman in design, but it appears that they use it for local productions and entertainment. The whole thing was designed by some ex-Hollywood set designer and has been quite artfully put together, and they have certainly incorporated the location into the design with a multitude of good lookouts across the river.

One of the golf course views down to the ocean. The marina is nestled in the right-hand corner.
Brilliant bougainvillea and other flowers abound.
The Rio Chavon with rain approaching from the distant interior mountains.
Fountains and old-world architecture.
The central square with a little "church". Not sure that it's actually consecrated...
Enticing walkways through little walled gardens.
More tropical flowers showing brilliantly with the recent rain-spritz.
And look who we found sheltering underneath the bushes.
The walk through the rest of the community is rather like browsing the pages of Architectural Digest.

In a community of grand entrances, this one was grander than most. It was still early and the gardener were out in droves.
This is a gated, super secure community so not sure why this place warranted a separate guard and dog. Made us wonder who is in residence.
Another grand front entrance, and check the curb-side appeal in the next picture.
They certainly didn't skimp on their "tree budget".
More curb appeal, since this pool and step stones are not at all visible from the house.
Ok, now we're getting down to a more reasonable size.
Most of the properties had a Mediterranean feel, but some were more modern...
And some a tad more rustic.
Back at the boat, I set to work on a sewing project: making dinghy chaps for our dinghy. These will help protect the dinghy from sun damage and hopefully from getting too many bumps and bruises on rough docks. I'll post pictures later once they are done. Meanwhile. Henry is working through some of our maintenance items such as oiling our tools to try to keep rust at bay and back washing our watermaker to keep the membranes happy, and doing a final engine check before we head off back to Puerto Rico.