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Published: July 26th 2018
Sun-Mon-Tues 8, 9 & 10 July Day 3-5: Trinidad
We had 2 ½ days to enjoy this beautiful colonial UNESCO city of Trinidad which is home to numerous churches and many colonial buildings. Nearby are the Valle de los Ingenios
(Valley of Sugarmills) which we visited on the way out of Trinidad and Playa Ancón
, where we enjoyed long stretches of white sand beaches.
Nowadays, Trinidad's main industry is tobacco processing. The older parts of town are well preserved, as the Cuban tourism industry sees benefit from tour groups. In contrast, some parts of town outside the tourist areas are very run down and in disrepair, especially in the centre. Tourism from Western nations is major source of income in the city.
The Plaza Mayor of Trinidad is a plaza and an open-air museum of Spanish Colonial architecture. Only a few square blocks in size, the historic plaza area has cobblestone streets, houses in pastel colors with wrought-iron grilles, and colonial-era edifices such as the Santísima Trinidad Cathedral
and Convento de San Francisco
. The Municipal History Museum is in town also.
Ancun Beach 14 kms from Trinidad
Jessica, Tom and David next to our taxi to the beach
There are several casas de musica
, including one next to the cathedral in Plaza Major. There are also discothèques, including one in the ruins of a church; another is in a large cave formerly used as a war time hospital.
The municipality of Trinidad had a population of around 80,000.
Monday 9 July:
We all caught a taxi which was an old Chevrolets which was very uncomfortable. It was only 14 kms to the beach. We lazed on the beach having swims in the sea to cool down occasionally drinking coconut milk served on the beach.
The sand was not as white as it was on the southern beaches and there was a little unpleasant smell in the water. Other than that, and a very small amount of seaweed, the water temperature was beautiful.
We had roast chicken at the beach before finding our taxi driver to take us back into town (8CUC round trip).
We found Camilo
Ancun Beach 14 kms from Trinidad
Had an option to have rum in the coconut milk - but not at 10.30am!!
back at our guest house where we shared a beer with him. I immediately signed in with the wifi card and got a lot of texts from my family. From then on, I was pre-occupied (to say the last) for the rest of the day thinking about my 92yo Dad at home who was not well and Sheryl my sister carrying the burden and wifi not being kind to me, so communication was almost impossible. We were also 14 hours behind Australia, so late afternoon contact from Cuba was morning in Australia.
Tuesday 10 July:
The next morning, we joined a group of 4 Spanish, 2 Austrian and our American friend Jess to visit one of the national parks and waterfall. We left about 9.30am in a minivan after paying 25CUC each. We drove out of town and followed the river for about 10 kms. Some of the road was made of prefabricated concrete slabs which had about a 6-10 cm gap between each slab. It was rough on us and the car tires.
We arrived at the Los
Almendros restaurant and was given a fruit cocktail. We had the choice of adding rum or not. We chose the “or not” as it was only 10.30am and we were just about to do a trek which was a 3.5km round trip. Cubans love their rum. They put it in many drinks and always a lot of it. The restaurant was named after the almond tree which was very different to the almond trees in Australia. It had large leaves and the nuts containing the almonds had a lot of flesh and the size of a small peach.
The trek was led by a Cuban who was very knowledgeable about the Javira National Park which was a tropical forest. We only learned about a couple of native birds and all other information was very familiar to us coming from Australia. There had been many fruit trees planted so the forest was not pristine.
The best part was arriving at the el Cubano waterfall and getting into the cool water. It was certainly hot and humid along the rocky track which included some climbing. After swimming up
stream we reached the waterfall. A cave could be seen behind the water which we swam into. The stalactites and bats were prevalent inside the cave. Floating on my back in the 9-metre-deep pool and looking up was a beautiful view of more stalactites. We stayed there for about 40 minutes before making the hot trek back to the restaurant. Here, we were served a hearty, traditional Cuban meal; grilled fish or pork, rice, potato, cucumber and cabbage and olive salad. You don’t come to Cuba for its food. However, they know how to serve cold beers.
Later that day I hooked up to wifi and immediately got a call from Sheryl. Dad just died peacefully, 15 minutes before she call at 6.00am Tuesday 10 July (Aust time). Sheryl, our tower of strength, was with him all night. So, so very sad but this is what Dad would have wanted.
I then moved into the organisational mode and started to make all the changes to flights and sending emails to cancel the Mexico City to Panama tour. All of this took 2x1 hour wifi cards. The system was so slow.
We didn’t go to dinner at MiMi Restaurant until 8.30pm. I could use their free wifi to do the last changes. It was nearly 10.30 pm by the time we went back to our guest house emotionally exhausted and very sad.
The nightlife in Trinidad was prolific, all amongst the enchanting setting of old colonial buildings and the cobblestone streets and I would normally be out late dancing and listening to music. Tom & I were OK with going back to our accommodation.
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