From Cienfuegos to Trinidad we took the Viazul bus. One has to be at the bus stop 30 minutes earlier to “check in,” which is to change your receipt to the actual bus ticket. We as well had to check-in the luggage for 0,50 CUC per piece. The drive from Cienfuegos is not long, moreover our daughter sleeps the whole way, so this time our trip is, thank God, without adventures.
In Trinidad we stay in Casa Coky, owned by Lisve and Albe and their adorable daughter Amanda. You know, sometimes you meet people and you have this rare feeling that from first few words it simply clicks. The feeling like you have always known them and now you came simply to visit. That is exactly what happened when we arrived in Casa Coky.
By the time we will be leaving Trinidad, we will know that we have our new family here. And Lisve and I will be crying like kids while saying goodbye. After our arrival I sit with Lisve while our girls are playing and we talk, talk, talk. Only around noon I realize what time it is and that we should actually start with our sightseeing.
Day 1: Welcome to the 19th century
After Havana and Varadero, Trinidad is one of the most famous places in Cuba. It seems that in Trinidad time stopped in the 19th century preserving Spanish colonial settlements. Maybe that’s the reason why almost everyone who visits Cuba sooner or later ends up here. And if tourists are already here, you can find them on Plaza Mayor – the center of the Old Town. Around the Plaza you can find many art galleries, museums, Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad (that’s the building you’ll find on majority of postcards from Trinidad), Cuban cowboys, and thousands of tourists.
In the afternoon we’re going for a walk. On Plaza Mayor Zosia is playing with a ball with some Cuban girl. There are many, many tourist around. They come and go, making pictures of Cubans, like they were animals in caves. One old man runs to Zosia and her new friend, and without a word tries to make a picture. A small light-skin girl playing with a ball with a dark-skin Cuban girl – cute picture I guess. The one you could imagine in National Geographic with a comment smuggling some kind of a trendy ideology. Before he manages to get the right angle, we shout: “no pictures!” The guy turns back and walks away to make a picture of another tourist attraction. No comment, no look.
I have an impression that thanks to Zosia we are getting to know the real life in Cuba. Sometimes we are just sitting in the park or looking at the street. When you travel alone, you somehow more often run from one tourist attraction to the other. With Zosia we can’t run, so we simply live in Cuba.
Plaza Mayor is especially beautiful before the sunset, when the light makes all the colors look warm. We sit on the stairs close to Casa de la Musica – a restaurant with live music. And although it is very touristic, it’s a nice place to be in the evening. Zosia falls asleep in the carrier. On the way back to our casa we pass many small bars, where we would definitely like to stay for some time. Maybe next time…
Day 2 Caribbean Dream
One of the biggest advantages of Trinidad is that not only it is a beautiful and charismatic city, but as well it is located close to one of the finest beaches in Cuba – Playa Ancon.
But in the morning before going to the beach we decide to climb the tower of Museo Histórico Municipal. The stairs are pretty steep, so when you are planning to go there with a baby, take your baby carrier, as you will need your hands free to hold yourself. But forget the stairs, the view from the top is amazing and it is definitely worth going there.
In the afternoon we plan to go to Playa Ancon, which lies twelve kilometers to the south and is the south coast’s best beach. There is a tourist bus to Playa Ancon from Trinidad, but as we find out that on the way back (especially in the late afternoon) it is difficult to get in, we decide to take a taxi there. For a taxi to Playa Ancon you’ll usually pay 8CUC, so it is worth to catch a cab. We shared ours with another Serbian-Slovakian couple, whom we met close to the bus station.
The beach itself is really beautiful. There are some hotels, tourist bars, toilets, etc. close to it. Still it is not too crowded and you can enjoy your time there. In Playa Ancon we met many tourists from Canada, especially older ones, who immediately started to play and talk to Zofia, who was happy to have so many new grandmas and grandpas 🙂
Day 3 Hummingbird and iguana with painted nails.
The day is starting in Trinidad. First, one hears roosters crowing. Then comes the sound of horse hoofs and street sellers voices. “Panadero!”, “Cebolla!” From time to time a car passes by. Night fresh air gives place to another hot day. The sky turns orange and pink and the life starts. We are sitting on the patio and looking at a small hummingbird, who paid us a visit.
Before coming to Cuba, we have planned to do a few tours around Trinidad, but the city itself is so beautiful, that we simply decide to stay here and walk around. A walking tour of Trinidad you should start from Plaza Mayor and Iglesia Parroquial de la Santísima Trinidad and walk into direction Convento de San Francisco de Asis.
There is a small park opposite the convent. Continue your walk to Juan Manuel Marquez Street and turn left. Soon you will end up in Barrio Los Tres Cruces. This is still an off the beaten path kind of place, although more and more tourists are coming here. Here kids are running without shoes, Cuban cowboy are riding horses, and women are embroidering. We are walking through muddy streets of the barrio and can’t actually believe that this is happening for real. It is like travel back in time.
And then, at the end of the plaza, there is a woman sitting with an iguana with its nails painted neon orange. Can you imagine that! An iguana with painted nails! We ask if we can make a picture, knowing in advance that we will hear some sad story and be asked to pay at the end. But who on Earth cares, we’ve just made a picture of the iguana with painted nails. We definitely nailed it 😀
On our way back to Plaza Mayor we stop at Taberna Canchanchara, and here we go: tourists, tourists, tourists again. And here is our tip: whenever you hear a Buena Vista Social Club’s song being performed, run in the opposite direction. We love Buena Vista, but it seems that the only people listening to it in Cuba are tourists. And wherever tourists are, there will be Buena Vista Social Club music playing. So unless you want to land between tourists groups of elderly/bitter/rude Germans and Dutch, never follow the sounds of Buena Vista in Cuba.
One day trips from Trinidad:
- Topes de Collantes: a beautiful nature reserve park with the Caburni Falls and Paseo Ecologico; although Topes is not an official national park, it is a highly protected area in the Escambray Mountains range.
- Valle de los Ingenios: an old sugar cane plantation with the ruins of 19th-century sugar mills and a steam trainFew more pictures from Playa Mayor, its always full of life:
Turning 15 is a big deal in Cuba, this day girls become Disney princesses:
A small reminder of how it was during PRL in Poland. Shopping in Cuba is really something special:
When you land in Cuba, you have an impression that there are more taxi drivers in Cuba that regular Cubans. After some time the only thing you can remember hearing all day will be: “Taxi, Amigo?” This taxi driver was much more creative 🙂
More about Cuba:
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