We arrived in Trinidad at 6.30 am on the 18th, having left Camaguey at 2.30 am the previous night. It was quite disorientating, feeling like we had missed a night somehow, but our new host Estelle was there to greet us, and we walked back to her Casa. As she spoke some English, it was a little easier! We slept for a few hours and were then treated to a great breakfast – local fruits (guava, banana, papaya and pineapple), fresh bread, fresh juice, eggs and coffee. And they say food in Cuba is bad!

We spent the first day wandering around and finding our bearings. Trinidad is a UNESCO site (one of 8 in Cuba), and deservedly so. The old centre is beautiful. The colonial houses are mostly in good shape, and kept like that by the government who paint them biannually. This was the first time we saw a lot of tourists, and many more tourist-orientated shops and stalls selling paintings, crochet, embroidered linen, and other such crafts. Also for the first time we came accross beggars who ask you for clothes or money quite candidly. There is music literally around every corner here, it is fantastic.
Arty shot, Trinidad Arty shot by Cathal

We wandered happily around Trinidad, noting that it is small, and there is no modern development marring the view at the edge of town. Another fact of Cuban life is the lack of advertising and the lack of mobile phones. As all companies are government run, or joint ventures with foreign investors where the government retains 51%, there is effectively no competition so no need to advertise! The result is a calmer environment. Mobile phones do exist, but are owned by foreigners or obtained through a third party.

Trinidad

Us on roof of Casa Cantero Historical Museum

Again we saw many old beautifully kept cars in Trinidad, along with the less impressive, but mechanically sound, Ladas!

Santiago Street Trinidad Street

Car on Trinidad Street

The 19th March was the saint day for Santaria Saint Yemaya. We ventured past the temple, where a large culinary offering was laid out for the Saint. The locals were hanging around in anticipation of a feast. Santaria is the religion developed by the West African Slaves who were brought here to work the Sugar plantations in the 17 and 1800s. They were not allowed to practice their various religions from their home countries (for examply Voodoo), so they simply hid their own religion behind the Catholic saints. So, they used the same icons, but they had very different meanings.

We rented bikes for the day and cycled out to Playa Ancon, via the cute fishing village of La Boca. There were a few state-run bars en route to have a drink! We cycled along the coast for about 8k, it looked remarkably like the Ballyconneely-Clifden coastline!

Mannin Bay, Cuba? Mannin Bay, Cuba?

Trinidad coastline Cycling to Playa Ancon, Sancti Spiritus pr.

We enjoyed a few hours at Playa Ancon. There are two all-inclusive resort hotels out here, we took advantage of the beach facilities of one! The hotel-scene is so removed from real Cuba, I just hope that the tourists who come here get a chance to see the real Cuba.

That night we enjoyed outdoor music at the Casa de la Musica in town, along with every other tourist!

CDB on cobbles in TrinidadCathal returning from our cycle to Playa Ancon

The following day, we took our bikes out to Valle de los Ingenios. It is another UNESCO site! The valley is the site of old small sugar mills, the kind that existed before any mechanisation, where they were run using slaves and oxen. The valley was uninspiring enough, but we stopped for a beer at Casa Ignaza, the house owned by the most fearsome plantation owner of the day. There was the predictable entertainment for tourists here, plus a great view from the tower, where Senor Ignaza kept an eye on all his slaves.

We shared the road with hardly anybody – horses and carts, cowboys and bikes rule around here. The odd 50s style taxi passed us.

Cowboy, Valle de los Ingenios Its cowboy country!

Slave watch tower, valle de los Ingenios Slave tower and bell, Casa Ignaza

Dancers at Casa Ignaza Local dancers, Casa Ignaza

Jane at Casa Ignaza Jane at Casa Ignaza

50s car on open road - CDB finally captured it! 50s car on the open road!

Entrance to Trinidad Town En route back to Trinidad

Houses in Trinidad Beautifully kept houses

On our last morning in Trinidad, we bumped into an Irish couple, who knew Cathal´s parents! We enjoyed a couple of beers with them before taking our bus to Cienfuegos – thanks Maeve and Martin!!



1 Response to “Trinidad, Cuba”


  1. 1 Jennifer April 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Trinidad Cuba looks beautiful. Love the colours of the houses. Who ever thought thay the coastline would remind you of the Ballyconneelly-Clifton coastline. It’s the image of it.

    Again great picutes. Looking forward to seeing more.

    Jennifer


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