A most wonderful town and surroundings rich in slave history. We had come to a beach, sugarcanes and the colourful town of Trinidad in Cuba. This is chapter four of my Cuban experience.
This is one of six articles from a visit to Cuba in 2003.
Thursday 3.7.2003, Trinidad
Trinidad is a very nice city and a must on any Cuba itinerary. There are lots of exciting sights from the colonial past. The glimpses we get into private houses reveal antiques of great (potentially realisable) value.
We met the first Norwegians on this trip. First a lady from Klepp (close to home). We exchanged experiences a long time. We also stumbled upon some ladies from Stavanger we had met on the plane to Cuba. They were returning home that same day.
Later we went into several museums and old manors. And we dropped into a salsa music show with a large crowd in the steps below the Casa de la Cultura. My son was expelled – he was a minor.
Dinner at home. My son and his ball became a big hero with the landlords in the court yard.
I sent an e-mail home.
Spent: 44 USD
Friday 4.7.2003, Trinidad
Today we had a beach day at Playa Ancon. It is a large and very pretty beach and we had a great time. We took a coco-taxi both ways (8 USD).
From the beach we rented a catamaran for 13 USD and went snorkelling. A good distance from land there are shallow waters. The fish were magnificent to see. Fins, floating vest, snorkel gear made the experience perfect. Unfortunately I had too much water coming down through the snorkel.
My son had a light heatstroke, but got better in the evening. He had been waiting on top of the catamaran while I was snorkelling.
In the evening we also watched a dance and music performance of an afro-cuban character. My son joined the troupe on the stage. He was a good dancer. Still he was reluctant to join them, felt unhappy about it and wept later on.
We had dinner at home (prawns).
Spent: 48 USD
Saturday 5.7.2003, Trinidad, Valle de los Ingenios
Cuba was “discovered” by Columbus on his second America voyage in 1492. Trinidad was built early in the 1500s and is one of the oldest towns in Cuba. The town rose to its glory on slaves and huge sugar plantations. Both the town and the “sugar valley” are on Unesco’s World Heritage List. “Ingenios” means sugar mills. They are spread along a very picturesque valley.
We rented a Ford 1956-model with driver (12 USD) and hummed into and up the valley. I climbed the 40 metres high tower of the Manaca Iznaga plantation had was rewarded with an impressive view. The tower was used for surveillance and a big bell now on the ground was used to muster the slaves.
We tasted freshly pressed sugar roe juice. The season for harvesting the roes is in December and January. At that time they are 4 metres high, double the present size.
We drove directly to the Ancon beach afterwards for a couple of hours. We lunched at the Hotel Ancon, 10 USD for a buffet. The restaurant was in a giant hall and almost empty. By the way, the hotel costs 100 USD, all inclusive.
Dinner was at a paladar. A Danish couple asked where we came from; their accent was easy to tell.
I cashed 400 USD and bought a bus ticket to Camagüey on Monday.
Spent: 94 USD
Trinidad and Valle de los Ingenios on Cuba are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
(1) Havana: Cuba as it is, with Fidel still alive, and the system working as it has done since the revolution. That is what I wanted to find on my three week trip to this intriguing island in the sun. Did I find it? My conclusion follows at the end of this story in five chapters.
(2) Pinar del Rio and the Viñales valley: A beautiful country, and an emerging private economy is found in this chapter two of my Cuba journey.
(3) From Cienfuegos to Trinidad: Chapter three is about lazy days on the beach, colonial mansions and a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
(4) Trinidad: A most wonderful town and surroundings rich in slave history. This is chapter four of my Cuban experience.
NEXT CHAPTER: (5) Camaguëy, Playas del Este: A journey full of hassles, stripped memories and concluding remarks of my three weeks in Cuba. Those are the key words of this last chapter from Cuba.
PICS – Cuba: All images from Cuba in one place.
A photographic remark: My camera was stolen on the last day of my visit along with the memory card(s). The pictures featured in this series from Cuba are stills captured from my video. Hence the rather poor quality. My camcorder was also stolen but I kept the first film separately so I was able to keep at least some photographic evidence of the trip. Read more in the last part of this trip.