A Travellerspoint blog

7 April 2017

Trinidad

sunny

Today was a free day in Trinidad, so 5 of us (Graham, Barbara, Lisa, Peter & myself) decided to do the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) train ride. The train departed Trinidad at 9::30am, and the station was only a 5 minute walk from the guesthouse. The train was quite old and in need of maintenance (what isn't in Cuba?) but was enjoyable.

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There was little sign of sugar cane plantations, but some old buildings along theway.

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I first stop was at Iznaga, where we had a break for one hour. The hacienda Manaca main house (yellow building below) has been restored and converted to a restaurant. I climbed the 45m tower for some spectacular views of the countryside.

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There were many stalls between the station, the hacienda and the tower. The tower offered great views, but the steps were steep, and there was a strong breeze lowing through the balconies. We then continued on the train to the terminus at the old Trinidad sugar mill museum where we had a further one hour stop.

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The Trinidad Sugar Mill was established in 1893, was nationalised in 1959, and closed in 2001. There was a small village next to the ld mill, and the following photo shows a typical ox and cart scene which is typical throughout rural Cuba.

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We then returned to Trinidad on the training, arriving about 2:30pm, just in time to join the rest of the group who were catching the bus to Playa Ancon, a popular beach resort just a few kms outside Trinidad. We stayed there for several hours, catching the bus back to Trinidad at 6:00pm, but not before enjoying some cocktails on a Caribbean beach, as evidenced by the photo of me drinking a Mojito. The beach and water were beautiful, and the afternoon was a relaxing break.

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After the beach, I joined John & Sally for dinner at a local restaurant.

Posted by HimalayanPeter 18:45 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

6/4/2017

Trinidad

sunny

Today was a free day in Trinidad, although this morning we had an optional tour to a waterfall for a swim. We drove to the park in the coach, and had a short hike to the waterfall. We got there early enough be the first group to arrive. By the time we left, it was getting crowded.

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This afternoon I set out to walk around Trinidad. It was hot and I was becoming dehydrated despite the bottle of water I carried.

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Found my way back up to The Steps, although at this time of the afternoon there were no bands and little activity.

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Typical of butchers shops throughout Cuba.

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One of the many forms of public transport used by Cubans

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Had dinner with a few of the group, before most of us met at 9:00pm at The Steps for the evening show. At 10;30, some of the group moved on to the Disco Cave, which was not far from the steps. I begged off, being tired, and made my way back to the guesthouse. The Disco Cave is a natural cave that has been converted into a disco with concrete floors, lights, bars etc.

Posted by HimalayanPeter 04:59 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

5 April 2017

Cienfuegos to Trinidad

sunny

At 9:00am we made our way to the base guesthouse to get the bus to Trinidad. During this trip we will be staying in guesthouses, which generally don't accommodate the entire group. As such, we are spread amongst 4 or more guesthouses each night, although all are close to the base guesthouse.

Our first stop was at Santa Clara, where we visited the monument to Che Guevara, which includes a museum and massive statue.

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Then onto Tren Blindado, a recreation of the derailing of an armoured train by Che's guerrillas, using the original carriages.

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Outside of Havana, horse and carts are a common source of transport.

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After a short lunch stop, we got into Trinidad about 3:00pm. I am staying in the base guesthouse, which is quite luxurious.

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After quickly putting our bags in our rooms, we had an orientation walk of Trinidad, ending up at The Steps. This is an entertainment area where bands play during the afternoon and night, with dancing, drinking and eating. We spent a couple of hours at The Steps before going to a local restaurant for dinner, and a late return to the guesthouse.

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Posted by HimalayanPeter 04:43 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

4 April 2017

Havana to Cienfegos

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boarded our tour coach at 9:00am in Havana to start out trip to Cienfuegos. Our first stop for the day was........Australia. This is an old sugar cane mill and village that was Fidel Castro's headquarters during the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

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After a brief photo stop we continued on to Giron, where we had the choice of swimming in a sink hole, or the Caribbean Ocean. Most of us chose the Caribbean.

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from there it was a quick lunch stop (also in Giron) and then onto the Museo Giron, which celebrates the Bay of Pigs invasion and the 3 day battle that followed.

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From Giron we continued onto Cienfuegos, where we had a brief orientation tour before heading to a former colonial mansion which is now a bar and restaurant. Had a cocktail and beers before a quick group photo.

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A group dinner tonight, but not at the old colonial mansion.

Posted by HimalayanPeter 02:53 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

3rd April 2017

Havana

sunny

Today was the 1st full day of the tour. Breakfast was at 8;00am on the guesthouse rooftop terrace, and at 9:00am, our tour guide Karrel, took us on an orientation tour of the main plazas in old Havana. After the tour, the afternoon was free.

1st stop was the Plaza de cathedral, a beautiful plaza with an 18th century cathedral that once housed the remains of Christopher Columbus. The inside of the Cathedral was nice, but rather plain, as shown below.

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The following is our group, in the plaza, before the crowds arrived.

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Next was Plaza de Aramas, which is Havana's oldest square dating back to city's founding in the early 1500's

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Next was the Plaza de San Francisco with the Convent de San Francisco de Asis, and upmarket restaurants.

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Last was the Plaza Vieja, a beautiful plaza conceived in the late 1500's and restored with help from UNESCO. We had drinks on the balcony of a 1st floor bar over looking the plaza. After this, the afternoon was free to wander the city.

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the following are assorted photos from my afternoon walk through old Havana.

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the following 2 pictures are the Museum of the Revolution on old Havana. I never actually did the tour, nut the building was beautifully restored .

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The following is a typical street sign in old Havana. In Cuba, Havana is spelt, and pronounced, as Habana.

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Posted by HimalayanPeter 03:32 Archived in Cuba Comments (0)

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