Day 8: TrinidadToday is spent in colonial Trinidad. Frozen in time since the sugar boom collapsed in the middle of the 19th century, the cobblestone streets, elegant plazas, and pastel-colored former manor homes of the wealthy sugar barons have changed little since Trinidad's golden age. We start with a walking tour of Trinidad's historic core—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—where we’ll visit a bodega, a local artist, a family, the church, and an arts and crafts market. This gives us a revealing glimpse into everyday life in contemporary Trinidad as we meet some of the people who live in this historic Cuban city, and have discussions with them about their lives, hopes, and dreams. This is followed by a visit with someone who practices the Santeria religion. During our discussion, we’ll have an opportunity to learn about Santeria, and discover how this religion is widely practiced in Cuba. Dinner this evening is at Sol Ananda, a beautifully furnished paladar in a former colonial mansion. After our meal, we can speak with the owners about the difficulties in starting a private business in Cuba.Meals included: B D - Accomodations: Hotel La Ronda
Tuesday January 17
First we meet a young lady at the local library who had joined the Santeria religion, its origin going back to slavery and the Catholic Spanish masters. You have to be baptized in the Catholic Church to belong to it. She told us a lot about it and about the ceremony when she joined. At the very end I heard that she is married to a Babaloo (Santeria priest) which brought a question mark up in me. To be honest, for this serious Episcopal believer it was a bit difficult to understand. Still interesting though since I had never heard of it.
Next stop at our walk was at the shoe repair. It was interestering to see what was still going to be repaired. Sometimes repairs were being made with used soles from other old shoes.
Close to Trinidad's historic center we visited Lázaro Niebla. He is an amazing woodcarver. He uses old window shutters to carve reliefs of people he met in the countryside. He interviews them for a long time and also takes photos. He only carves people he is interested in and doesn't do commission. I think it shows.
His wife has a shop around the corner with crochet items and other fine handwork. She showed us a selection of her things at this table in her husband's place. I couldn't help it but give her the finished red heart as a present. She knew right away that it was tatted. She was surprised and seemed very happy.
We all also got a little drink in these traditional terra cotta cups which are made in the Santander family pottery which we had visited earlier (and i luckily had bought 2). The traditional "Canchanchara" -- a honey, lime and white rum cocktail was invented in Trinidad, Cuba. And sparkling water we were told.
The elegant city center plaza.
Then we got free time. But if we wanted we could go with Migdalia to a mansion renovated to former glory. You can see it's tower just slightly right of the center. She paid the entry fee for us.
It was very worth seeing.
James spied this bobbinlace pillow for me. Can you imagine I would have missed it? I was so surprised that I never thought of opening its drawer to see whether there were any bobbins.
The stairs to the tower were something else ending at the highest in something similar to a ladder. Of course plenty of private sellers everywhere on the way.
The view from the top was spectacular.
Adrienne was with us and the three of us were looking then for a place to have lunch. Of course we were told what was "safe" and where.
On the way I saw this little guy. When I had seen him the first time I had been too fast and he disappeared quickly. No photo. After lunch I saw him again at the same place. Treading lightly I was lucky and got a good one. You know I love taking pictures like that.
On the way to the hotel we saw this gigantic moth. James put a coin down to have a better understanding of the size.
Back at the hotel the towel artist maid had been busy. Sorry. I really need a shower!
She used our night wear and part of the bed covers. The downside: I had to make the bed later before we went to sleep.
After a little rest the bus took us to the coast. The Caribbean.
Of course James went in. See him wave his arms?
I got my feet wet too. Love walking along the beach.
I never get tired looking out of the bus window.
Dinner time! And another canchanchara.
The live entertainment was very nice. Every band has a CD one can buy ... or give a little donation. We bought the CD here.
The servers were very nice too.
And the baño lady of course was crocheting when there were no "customers". Btw always bring a coin when you need to go to this room in Cuba.
Somebody gladly told me that there was a bed in the wine cellar.
There is nothing like walking "home" after a good meal.