After another pleasant night’s sleep at the
Gran Hotel we woke refreshed, finished packing for today’s bus ride
to Trinidad in the southern part of the island, and enjoyed another
delicious breakfast in the hotel dining room.
Bob checked our group out of the Gran Hotel and
we walked two blocks to our waiting Havanatur bus, driven so
professionally and safely by our driver Hermes.I would come to know Hermes quite well by the end of the
trip, and he is the person I will miss the most.We developed a special bond, as he allowed me to practice my
Spanish with him many times during the coming days.
With Hermes, an incredible driver and dear
Today is another sunny, warm, humid day and we
are glad to be in this large, comfortable, air-conditioned bus for
the three and a half hour ride from Camaguey southwest to Trinidad.
We departed Camaguey at 8:30AM and after two
hours of interesting tidbits of information on many Cuban-related
subjects from Ramiro and Bob, we stopped for half an hour at a
highway rest area.
Phil with yet another horse
The Cuban highways are interesting – the
neglect is evident from the endless potholes – and the traffic we
see is mostly bicycles and horse-drawn buggies.Once in a while we spot an old Lada or a well-kept American
classic car and one or two other Havanatur buses.
Back on the bus, Bob showed us a wonderful
video called “Yank Tanks,” about the countless classic American cars
so prized and beloved by the Cuban people.
We pulled into Trinidad on Cuba’s southern
(Caribbean) coast at 2PM.The bus left us off at a paladar called El Dorado, where we
enjoyed a tasty lunch of lobster tail in garlic sauce, soup, fruit
and beverages.A local
group of four very talented musicians serenaded us, at one point
launching into a rather well-performed acoustic version of Hotel
three guitar players on our tour – me, Tyler and Oscar, and we very
much approved of this music.The group was so good that several of us bought CDs.This will turn out to be standard operating procedure as our
Click above for a video of our lunch entertainment (including
After lunch we walked north towards a market,
stopping along the way at a house that serves as a shrine to the
Santeria religion, particularly the Santerian version of the Virgin
Mary.Santeria is an
interesting mix of African spiritualism and Catholicism.
After our short stop and lecture at the
Santeria shrine, we walked through the market shopping and
way a short rainstorm darkened the sky and drenched us with cool,
We continued south down the hills and narrow
avenues until we came to the Trinidad library, seemingly untouched
and unimproved since the 1950s. The government has provided little
or no funding to protect the books, several of which are quite old,
one dating back to the 1500s.
The Trinidad library
After an interesting lecture by one of the
librarians, we boarded the bus and after a short ride through
Trinidad spent a pleasant hour at another pottery studiowhile we enjoyed a cool,
refreshing local drink as we watched the
Maestro at work.
Master potter at work
The day has become extremely hot and humid, so the
trip to our Trinidad hotel, La Ronda, in our air-conditioned bus was
quite welcome and much appreciated.
Checked into La Ronda and
located our room on the second floor.Our room is surprisingly large and
comfortable with a very efficient air-conditioner.We settled in, freshened up with a cool
shower, and at 6:30PM joined our group in the hotel dining room for
a dinner of fish, fries, rice, beans, mango, pineapple, orange,
ice-cream and drinks.
Rob trying to stay cool
Click above for a video of our welcoming
committee (including Phil!)
At 8:30PM we realized we were exhausted so we
climbed the stairs and fell into bed as the great air-conditioner
kept us cool through the night.