Trinidad Travel Blog› entry 7 of 11 › view all entries
Getting to Trinidad from Cienfuegos was mildly eventful. The booked 11.00 am bus didn´t turn up. The Cubatur rep hurried us off in her dad´s ancient Lada (no taxis) to another bus station to catch the 12.50 Viazul service bus. At Trinidad, Romanita was due to meet us. No Romanita. Mike went to find her casa . Full. But Miriam, 3 doors away, had rooms. Meanwhile Hil was left with luggage at the bus station. When approached by 2 strange men saying EE-lar-ee, she just followed with a porter wheeling the bags on the 15 min walk to Miriam´s. Trusting as ever! Miriam had made a few phone calls and fixed it. ¨Tranquilo, Michael, calmo", she repeated to me. It´s another friendly family casa where we´ve booked evening meals.
Trinidad is old. Cortes set out from here to conquer Mexico. In the 18th century, sugar harvested by slaves led to great wealth. Now in the old town there are fine mansions and beautifully restored houses. But as in Havana the back of town is rundown and in need of lots of work.
One day we wandered the town and did the museums. Another, we took a trip to the Topas de Collantes hills and hiked an 8km round trip through lush vegetation to a lovely waterfall and pool. The poor roads meant the journey there was by lorry with plastic seats! A third day took us to the former slave plantation area, now a peaceful valley. And we finished with a trip to the sea at Playa Ancon, everyone´s Caribbean dream beach of silver sand and palm thatched sunshades.
Tlme warp Cuba again. Plenty of horse transport for locals, and a 1950s Ford Consul and Standard 10 among the Chevvies. A tourist train steam engine lurks idly in the sidings. No spares. The boys next door do weightlifting using a home made wooden platform and using old cogs as weights. Men play dominoes in the street, children attend large afternoon chess clubs, and judo. Our host´s daughter, 23, recently graduated, earns about $12 equivalent a month, and her shoes cost $5! Living at home is the only option for her. Then in the late evening in the Plaza Mayor the tourists - us too- listen to great music, pay $2,3 a drink and watch some older women get picked up by Cuban men who can dance beautifully.