Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cienfuegos and Trinidad, Cuba

We just returned from a four day jaunt with our good buddies Ken and Wendy Squirrell formerly from Cop Out. They flew in from Canada and we luckily were able to hook up with them in Cinefuegos. We had a great visit wandering around the artistic towns. We popped into every gallery we could find, the art is so colourful and varied it was a pleasure to the eyes. 
We stayed in people's home, our version of a B&B. They are very strictly regulated so that they were all clean. The first one we stayed in Cienfuegos was the best, the bed was great, the toilet had a seat (this is a real bonus in Cuba, and the toilet paper was included) and the water only stopped once, Barry got to shower in a much nicer bathroom downstairs. 
Our balcony in the first place.
Orchids flowering in the downstairs courtyard, beside the table where we were served breakfast. 
For breakfast you would be served a standard fare, fresh fruit, papaya, bananas, pineapple, guavas and oranges, Cuban coffee with hot milk, bread, fresh squeezed juice, and eggs with cheese grated on them, a great way to start your day. 
We visited a theatre that had been built in the late 1800's and there were posters from Caruso and Sarah Berhardt in the walls. I could just image in the cream of Cuban society dressed to the nines attending performances here. 

We took the pedi-taxi down to the ritzy part of town and gazed sat the gorgeous mansions there. We visited the Marina and inquired about prices, then relaxed with a mohito at a waterfront bar. 
We discovered a sculpture park on the way back to our casa's and I couldn't resist taking a picture of two Canadians who know about these bugs. They are almost that big in the NWT!!!
We moved on to Trinidad which is close to the mountains. We hired a collectivo or a private taxi to take us there, the young man was a very good driver and we safely arrived at out next casa.  There is a network across Cuba, you just tell you host where you want to go the next day and they phone around and find a place for you.  Trinidad is close to the mountains and the sea, there are beaches and trips to waterfalls to be had.  We spent out time in town, the weather was not warm enough to hit the beach.  The first day we did a walking tour of the the old town, the view from atop the steeple of a former church was astounding.  I was not so sure about the integrity of the bells though. 
As we wandered about the streets and the main square we caught glimpses of life in Cuba. 
The main square in Trinidad, a very touristy town, beautifully restored. 

We ran across a gentleman who wanted to be our guide the second day, he arranged for us to travel by horse and buggy, notice the cobble stone streets, the ride was very bumpy at times. 
 We visited a train station 
A cigar factory
The cigars are being squashed by a press so they stay together. It was fascinating watching the process of these cigars being rolled by hand. 
Wendy is a potter so we had to stop at a pottery factory. I just love all the beautiful colours and I would have bought one of the masks I was looking at if I thought I could have gotten back to Canada in one piece. 
Ken and I ended off the day sampling the cigars and swigging some rum.  First Ken succumbed, claiming dizziness and nausea, I called him a wimp but 20 minutes later I made a beeline for my bed, ready to loose my cookies.  Thankfully a brief rest and We were ready to head off for our final dinner together.  It was a great holiday away from the boat and we rekindled the friendship that flourished through Indonesia, 
We are back at the boat in Marina Hemingway in Havana. We are heading off to figure out where the Canadian embassy is and renew our passports. We will have to stay in one place for at least two weeks until our new passports come.