Munching on peso pizzas - some local guys decided to jump in to my photo.
On our way to Trinidad we went back via Havana on a longish bus ride. Once back in Havana we made our way to Casa Maribal - only to find that she had no room as her previous guest hadn't left and Maribal didn't feel she could tell her to leave. So instead she put us up with her parents and sister, which was nice enough accommodation - I stayed with the sister. Once settled we ended up walking in to the old town, stopping along the way to grab some local peso pizza - thick crust, very cheesy, cheap and filling.
We did try to get a taxi along the way, but they all wanted to charge more than we were prepared to pay.
The Castillo de la Fuerza - me and the moat.
The walk was good, but it did take it's toll on my injured foot - limping along the whole way. Once in the old town we grabbed some peso ice-cream and walked down to the Plaza de Armas to check out the Castillo de la Real Fuerza - the Fort of the Royal Forces, which is one of the oldest forts in the Americas. The fort itself was quite cool, recently renovated and surrounded by a moat. However, it should have been called the museum of the model ships as every room was filled with model warships. From here we started to look for this local craft shop mentioned in the guidebook, but seeing as it was getting late in the day and we wanted to watch the sunset from the roof top bar at the National Hotel we decided to get a taxi and head over.
Maree and me at the Hotel Nacional.
The National Hotel was magnificent, lots of old grandeur... a place visited by many Hollywood stars and famous people over the years. Unfortunately though the roof top bar was closed for renovations, so we went outside and sat on the terrace overlooking the sea instead. We had yummy cocktails - daiquiri for me... again. We sat and chilled until the sun went down behind the hotel.
For dinner we wanted to do something close to the casa that didn't cost too much, so we got a cab back only to find that we were too far up the road and nothing was really open. By this stage my foot was absolutely killing me, so I called it quits while Al and Maree went round the corner to the bus terminal to pick up some toasties.
The following morning we were up early to catch the bus to Trinidad, which was the longest trip we took while travelling in Cuba.
The Plaza Mayor - one of the greyhound statues.
On arriving in Trinidad we got a cab to Casa Vicky y Tito, and yet again the cabbie had no idea where she was going. The irony is that Trinidad town is not very big at all. Anyway once we got to the casa we discovered again that we were having to stay else where, as Vicky's previous guest was very sick with a stomach bug - even having to make a trip to the international hospital. So we ended up at her mother (I think), which was only just across the road and a nice enough place. The ceiling in my room was in slight need of a new coat of paint, as paint chips were constantly falling down on to the bed and my things - not a big deal though.
We spent our first day wondering around town, with it's beautiful colonial buildings in fairly good condition - I just love all the colours! I really liked Plaza Mayor, which is at the centre of the town.
The rat... aka cute doggy.
The plaza is surrounded by painted railings and buildings, with a couple of grey hound statues at the one end - very picturesque. We checked out quite a few craft shops and stalls, even stopping to buy a handcrafted domino set (very basic wood design). We opted to eat dinner at the casa, lots of food again. The casa also had a courtyard and rocking chairs so we sat outside reading for a bit, enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. We even got to play with a little rat... I mean dog :).
After changing Euros to CUCs first thing the following morning, we decided to get a cab down to Playa Ancon which is supposed to be the best beach near Trinidad. Now I most definitely have been spoilt with the amazing beaches I have had an opportunity to visit, because poor playa ancon just did not live up to expectations.
The sand was grainy, the water was murky, there was a bit of a wind and a monstrosity of a hotel on the beach front. Needless to say we did "our best" to enjoy our last day by the sea... taking in the rays and swimming :).
We ate in the casa again, then headed to the Plaza de la Musica to watch a live salsa band. The plaza was packed with tourists enjoying the music and the drinks. The first band where pretty good, the second was more like a crazy african tribal dance act and the repetition got a bit much after a while.
Our last day in Trinidad we just spent wonder around town, and spending some CUCs in the craft shops and markets. The shopping actually started the night before, when our casa invited around a friend who made and sold hand crafted linen.
Walking around Trinidad old town - where I bought my table cloth.
I didn't actually buy from her, but both Al and Maree did. I did buy a few things in Trinidad though, can't really mention some of them as they're presents and the people may actually read my blogs :). I did buy a small table cloth though with the artwork that they're known for in Trinidad. On our way back to the casa we bought some crazy Cuban peso cake - thick sweet icing... totally disgusting but we had to try it. That eve we had a few drinks at the casa then went back to the Plaza de la Musica for some more salsa.
We left the following morning for Havana, once back we got some more peso pizza and ice-cream as we walked in to the old town via the Plaza de la Catedral. On our wonderings we popped in to the Hotel Ambos Mundos, which is located on Obispo.
The salsa band - the main singer was fabulous!
Hemingway actually lived here on and off during the 1930s in room 511. We didn't visit his room, but we did head up to the terrace bar for drinks, watch the sunset and enjoy the view. I had... you guessed it... a daiquiri... but it was mint flavoured so green! Once the sun had set and the wind had picked up we decided to move on to dinner at a local cafe for a change. Not our best move... food was pretty terrible, but it filled the gap. We ended the evening with another drink at Bar Monserrate, listening to a pretty cool salsa band.