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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 15
Cuba and Florida
 Classic American car in Havana
Day 5
Camaguey - Trinidad, Cuba

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.

Con mi amigo Hermes
With Hermes, an incredible driver and dear friend

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
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 California.  There are 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 tour continued.


Great band at El Dorado in Trinidad
Click above for a video of our lunch entertainment (including Miriam!)

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 sight-seeing.  Along the way a short rainstorm darkened the sky and drenched us with cool, welcome rain.


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.


Trinidad Library
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 studio while we enjoyed a cool, refreshing local drink as we watched the Maestro at work.

El Maestro
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.

La Ronda
La Ronda
Rob trying to recover from the heat
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.


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