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Friday 11 Apr 2008
Trinidad, Cuba

Picture perfect

After a chirpy breakfast overlooking the bay (Ana's cook had created a smiley face out of my omelette and salad) and chariot horse-ride to the bus station, I hopped on the VIAZUL bus destined for Trinidad.

Little did I know that when we stopped half-way at Santa Clara to pick up more tourists that Markus had hopped on board and was 3 seats in front of me!

Along the way, I took note of how many times the bus driver stopped at unmarked houses along the route, dropping off plastic bags full of whatever and coming out with a glass of something or other as reward.

This is the other side to Cuba which is quite interesting: it's resourcefulness. Bus drivers not only have to take tourists from A to B but also double as delivery boys for houses along the route.

After 3 or 4 hours we arrived at Trinidad, and there was Lazarro waiting for me holding up a sign above his head with "PETER" on it (I got Ana to reserve a room for me with Lazarro the night before), and I also bumped into Markus -- not having realised he was on the bus!! Score we could split the cost of sharing a room!


Soon we arrived at Lazarro's casa "Casa Lorente" (+53 (041) 993511) which had been recommended to me the day before and indeed it was a charming large 1 level house with a huge private courtyard in the centre very similar to something you might see in Morocco. Inside the house were old rocking chairs and very VERY expensive antique furnishings.

This seemed to be the norm in Trinidad, and it was evident from the copious antiques in houses (visible from the street and open doorways) that many very wealthy families have lived in this town for generations.

One reason for the wealth might have also been hinted at by the Freemason symbol on the doorway of the casa. Evidently it's very handy to belong to a group like the Freemasons when you live in a country like Cuba. In fact Freemasonry membership seems to be a very common thing among certain casa particular owners and you would often find yourself getting recommended to other exclusively Freemason casas.

Not a problem, if this is the sort of standard you can expect! Wink

Stone cutter.. I mean Freemasons FTW!


Trinidad itself is a melee of cobble-stone streets, multi-coloured houses, art galleries, and eloquent old colonial architecure. Truly beautiful and truly picture perfect.

The people here are as photogenic as the surroundings and I think I must have used up at least half my camera space this day alone.

While I was out exploring, Markus took it upon himself to investigate the various tours on offer (good on ya bud!) and we decided on a trip the next day to the Valle de los Ingenios which takes you on a tour to an old colonial sugar farm where the fields were worked by African slaves in the 19th century.

That night we decided to check out the huge CAVE DISCO "Disco Ayala" which is literally a disco in a limestone cave full of stalactites (I almost whacked my head off one after one too many shots of rum). It's quite possibly the coolest disco I've ever been to, although most of the music was salsa-based, and not YET knowing how to salsa we kept the dancing to a minimum and the rum-drinking to a maximum.

Ended up wandering through Trinidad whacked out of our skulls joined by a few local Cubans that we befriended (and we would end up bumping into again and again over the following 3 days for better or worse! Small towns eh?)

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Perdido en Cuba de Fidel

Travel blog by peterforan

Swish antique

Swish antique

2 weeks in which I crap-dance salsa-stylee in my own inimitable way; terrorise the Cuban people after one-too-many mojitos and visit bars where they actually ENCOURAGE people to smoke cigars as big as your leg. If I get time I'll take in some culture..

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