Trinidad, Cuba

  Monday, June 10, 2013 / Stephanie / Uncategorized  

We'd found our friends and secured our housing for the night. Now we could relax and enjoy Trinidad. Our casa paticular Hostel el Tenedor was beautiful. If planning a trip to Trinidad, I'd highly recommend staying here. Our hostess was lovely, the accommodations were clean, and the food and drinks were superb. We sat for a while and exchanged travel stories while Brian and I let our blood pressure return to normal, with the medicinal help of mojitos of course.

We'd rented both of the available rooms at the casa paticular.

And there was an AMAZING rooftop terrace!

We had a great view of the city. It was dramatically different from Cienfuegos with brick laden streets, even fewer cars, and the remnants of very old architecture.

We set out to experience firsthand. I'm certain we missed much of the historical importance of Trinidad simply because we don't speak Spanish. What we do know is that Trinidad was once a sugarcane hub.

But we certainly enjoyed the local music and art.

We admired the ruins of a beautiful church.

And we certainly enjoyed the street foods. We walked up and down the street for hours near the park in the center of the city. We found a beer tap serving $ .20/cup.

Then we found the pizza stand where we could get ham sandwiches for $ .20 apiece and personal pizzas for $1.00. Across the street from the pizza stand was a vendor selling tamales from his bicycle. Delicious! These steamed, cornmeal treats are like polenta wrapped in a corn husk and served hot! The tamales were also $ .20 apiece.

When our bellies were full, we paused to enjoy some more music. The locals weren't shy, they sang along to their favorite tunes and salsa danced in front of the band.

We even ran into Daniel (the man who directed Brian and I to the gas station). He was now dressed in red capri pants and a red button-down shirt and sporting a black cowboy had. Daniel screamed urban cowboy. He asked, "where you from?" Having my Jamaican guard up from numerous salesmen I shot back, "where are you from?" Then recognized Daniel and quickly covered my brashness by gesturing to his hat, "didn't recognize you!" I said. Daniel smiled, "Bri-ON!" We introduced him to Matt and Jessica. Daniel showed us his photo album with photographs of a horseback riding and waterfall excursion. The photos were beautiful; lush green fields, mountains in the background, and a rushing waterfall. We exchanged glances with one another...did we want to see this side of Trinidad? Daniel proceeded to explain the excursion in detail. "First ride 20 minutes, then stop 50 minutes to rest at sugar plantation, drinks, walk, then ride to waterfall, two hours for swimming, then ride 50 minutes back." Woah, that's quite a trek. The starting price was $25/person and Daniel explained we'd have to pay an additional $6 for entry to the national park that housed the waterfall. We exchanged glances again. Daniel gave us the detailed rundown once again and then said, "$15 each." He painstakingly explained again that the park fee was separate. Brian spoke up and shared that he thought this might be really fun. Daniel said while pointing to each of us respectively, "ok, twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve, you pay after. At the park, no say anything." "SOLD!" Exclaimed Matt. Without even really trying we'd secured the price of $12/person for this excursion. Daniel stressed to us again to not speak at the park, he'd take care of that and we'd pay afterwards. The final lingering question, how would we get to the horses? Not to worry, Daniel and the horses would meet us right out front of our casa paticular at 9:00am the following morning. We'd ride out of town all the way to the sugar plantation and waterfall. This should be exciting... We'd already had a long day mopeding and walking, but one sight that Matt and Jessica wanted to see was a disco club that was built inside of a cave. We weren't sure we could stay awake long enough to get our groove on, but we thought if we found the cave at least we'd know where to go it we got a quick nap in first. We used one of the posted maps of the historical center to find the correct road. The road led up a steep hill. It was dark and Brian and I were a bit tentative about hiking up back roads. Jess was determined. A man sitting on his stoop approached us. When Jess said the name of the cave, he gestured us to follow him. Up and up we walked on this road. Motion sensor street lights lit our way as we neared the top. The man stopped right at the entrance to the disco club.

Cool! Just as we were gawking at the entrance, a man was unlocking the door. Brian, having learned long ago that it doesn't hurt to ask, spoke up and said, "cuatro personas mira, por favor (four people to look please)." The man was a bit confused at the request, but let us follow him inside for a private tour. The disco club was an honest to goodness cave. Remarkable!

Back down the hill we retired to our casa paticular. We had mojitos on the rooftop terrace while a live trio played us music. The lead guitar player took a particular liking to me. Not only did he come to sing to me, but he also had me hold his guitar behind his back while he played. Talented, and quite the showman! There was one other foursome of tourists enjoying dinner on the rooftop terrace. We reflected upon the day's events and decided we'd better get some sleep so that we'd have plenty of energy for horseback riding the next day. Buenas noches! (Good night)