Our bus trip began at 8:15 a.m. when we were picked up at our hotel. This was followed by a long and bumpy, but educational ride through the countryside, with our first rest stop at about 10:45. I was overjoyed to see (after paying my tip) that the two cubicle women's baño had just that....two cubicles, no doors, no flushing. Two women were allowed to go at a time and were followed by a local with a bucket of water...interesting. On the other hand, by now who could be picky? After a few more hours on the bus, we reached the south side of Cuba, the Caribbean side. It was lovely and warm.
|Lots of horses|
Here, we learned about the city of Cienfuegos, built by the French in the 19th century. Our guide explained that this is considered the most important Cuban city. It is a chief seaport and the centre of the sugar, coffee and tobacco trade. The downtown area contains over 300 magnificent buildings from the 1800's and became recognized by Unesco as a heritage site in 2005.
|Arco de Triunfo|
|Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception|
|A theatre and college|
|Might be a hotel...not sure|
|Dining area...help yourself to what you can find|
|Welcome cocktail was a nice touch|
|"This is nothing, I've survived the Capilano Bridge."|
|Bamboo...grows almost a metre in 24 hours.|
We went on a walking tour of the town and entered several museums including the Museo Nacional de la Lucha Contra Bandidos. It contained photos, uniforms, weapons and other items of male interest. Walking was challenging, on uneven roads made of stone that had once been used as ship ballasts. It all added to the town history and charm but did nothing for our aching soles. We spent much more time than was necessary in this particular city and even got to enjoy a power outage in the early evening (hence one good reason to carry a flashlight as mentioned in my tripadvisor review of Breezes Bella Costa).
|Original steps where slaves were sold|
|Streets made with stones from ship |
ballasts...good luck walking
|Not exactly as even as cobblestone, |
but fit for a donkey
|OK, so it wasn't quite the cigar factory tour we envisioned|
|Hubby scores a freshly rolled freebie thanks to|
his note/picture taking observant wife.
|Bell tower of San Francisco de Asis. We climbed to|
the very, very top on the scariest, most rickety,
decreasing in size wooden triangles we ever saw.
Watch your head!
|The view of the Escambray mountains in background and the|
city of Trinidad was almost worth the climb...almost. Now, to
get back down...the real challenge began.