The Wonders of Trinidad

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March 4th 2016
Published: November 16th 2016
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Trinidad is beautiful. Just sayin'.

After leaving Cienfuegos, we took the bus for an hour or so to Trinidad. We were met at the bus station by Pedro, who owns Casa Hammerhead, where we would be staying for the next few days. He drove us through the cobbled Old Town in what can only be described as a homemade dune buggy. We arrived at the Casa, met the rest of Pedro's family (Blanca and Alma), and then checked into our room which was even nicer than the one in Havana and had a bathroom which, except for the random pipe coming through the wall, would not have been out of place in a fancy hotel!

After an amazing breakfast, complete with domo cake which is an off combination of vanilla, cinnamon, and lemon flavouring that somehow works really well, we headed off into the UNESCO World Heritage site of pastel-coloured buildings and cobbled streets at is the Old Town of Trinidad. The place is gorgeous. It's like walking through a museum! Unfortunately, it was a wet museum, as the skies had opened so we looked around for a bit and then headed to the Iberostar Hotel for some wi-fi, which is next to impossible to find anywhere in Cuba. We attempted to go to a nightclub called Disco Ayala that was inside a large cave, but it wasn't open so we just wandered back into town to Taberna la Bajita for some Cuban beers. The place would become a staple of ours during our time in Trinidad.

Obviously not having learned anything from our tour to ViƱales, we attempted to go to on another tour, but this time to the Valle de los Ingenios. The valley was home to a significant amount of sugar cane production during the 19th century, and it grew very wealthy as a result. The valley is very pretty, and there are large mansions in various states of decay scattered through out the area. Unfortunately, the company we tried to go with wasn't running tours to the areas so we thought we were out of luck, but then we ran into Alma. She told us that her friend and driver were supposed to run a tour but their guests did not show up. As a result, we were able to take over their tour and soon afterwards we were whisked off towards the valley in a 1982 Moscovitch. We stopped at a small cafe en route which afforded us stunning views of the valley and surrounding mountains. We continued on from there to the San Isidro de los Destiladeros plantation. The main house is still intact, as is the watch tower, but the other quarters on the properties are in ruins. Nevertheless, the area was incredibly atmospheric. We wandered through the fields, looking at the old irrigation channels, as well as the former slave quarters. From there, we moved on to Manaca Iznaga, which was the biggest house in the valley. There was a tower which afforded superb views, and the house was massive, probably because the woman who ran the plantation had 15 children! Afterwards, we returned to Trinidad where we stopped at a pottery workshop that still used traditional methods to make pottery. Still in Trinidad, we stopped at the train station where we visited some abandoned 1930s locomotives which we could clamber all over. After the amazing tour ended we wandered around the old part of town and went up the viewpoint at the Museo Historico, for a birds eye view of the city, the surrounding mountains, and all the way down to the Caribbean.

After possibly one two many beers the night before, we decided to do something healthy so we rented bikes with the goal of cycling to Playa Ancon, 16km away. The ride itself was surprisingly devoid of traffic and quite scenic. We left Trinidad and, after cycling through the countryside, we went through the village of La Boca. The village was right on the water, and had some pretty houses in it. We continued along the road, flanked on one side by a marsh and on the other side by the ocean. We went to the end of the road where a resort was, but we thought the beach was better earlier so we biked back to it and went for a swim in the crystalline waters of the Caribbean. After relaxing on the beach, we peddled back to town to relax. We went to Taberna la Bajita, not surprisingly, and then relaxed at Cafe Don Pepe, which had some of the best coffee in the city. For dinner, we headed back to the Taberna one more time, just to change it up. The food was decent, as usual, or maybe it was just average. In any case, it was better than whatever we had eaten previously. As we were eating, a cover band, consisting of a base guitar player and a violinist began to play. They had some good songs, and then they played a cover of "Locked out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars.The cover was absolutely stunning. Even the staff were watching them play and I think all of the patrons were mesmerized! They just kept playing an instrumental version of the song and it must have gone on for 20 minutes before the stopped playing and were rewarded with a standing ovation. It was an excellent cover and a fitting way to end our time in the amazing city of Trinidad.

Things we learned in Trinidad:

- If you play an amazing song that has literally every single person in the restaurant captivated, maybe include it on the CD you're selling?

- One can eat at a restaurant 6 times in 4 days and most of the staff still won't recognize you.

- Buying a mojito gets you free wi-fi. Who knew?!?!?


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