Sunday, March 26, 2017

Cuba Day 8 - All Good Things Must Come to an End

I'm not sure I could have planned a more perfect last day in Cuba.  For the first time in our 12 years together Eric and I laid on a beach and sipped cocktails.  Even though the rain came in shortly thereafter, it only added to the experience.  And for our final evening Fiona and Ossiel hosted a delicious dinner and provided live music on their patio.

We shared a taxi with another couple to Playa Ancon

We walked south a bit to a beach that had a bar - duh

This little puppy loved the water but hated people! Yip yip!

Natural swimming pool formed by a circle of rocks

And then the clouds started rolling in

We started walking toward shelter

It was just the 2 of us for about 30 minutes but it soon filled up with people and pets

After the beach we went back to Casa Los Mangos and sat on the covered patio as the rain fell around us.  Ossiel entertained us with music while Fiona and her staff cooked an amazing dinner.

Ossiel has an amazing voice!!  And Eric's Fireball was a hit with everyone we met in Cuba!

Spending time with the other guests

Fresh cracklin - sooo good!

Pork leg slow cooked all day - delicious!


Ossiel's musician friends came over to play for us as well

Fiona tasting her hard work

Pork and red beans & rice

Mmmmm...wish I had this food right now!

Bonding with Honey

The live music, the food, the company, the fur babies - it was a fantastic last night on this wonderfully fulfilling trip.  Eric and I made some life-long friends and we look forward to visiting Cuba again.  Hope you enjoyed the photos!

"For centuries, Cuba's greatest resource has been its people."  ~Pico Iyer

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cuba Day 7 - Exploring Outside of Trinidad

On Tuesday morning we had breakfast with Fiona and the new couple from NYC who were on their way home.  Eric and I felt as if we've seen most of Trinidad so we asked Fiona for some ideas on what to do. She advised us to hire a car to take us to a couple places outside the city.  But before that she said there was a cool abandoned church we hadn't yet seen, so we started walking that direction.

Of course I had to take photos of the "hustle and bustle" of the streets of Trinidad along our walk!

Curbside shoeshine

The color of the uniforms indicate what grade the students are in

Veggie bike

May I come inside?

Cuban Elvis!

We found this BEAUTIFUL ceramics shop. I meant to go back the next day to buy some stuff but forgot!

Keeping it colorful

Buying tortillas

Beer delivery
There was always water in the streets and women were constantly pushing it out of their homefront with a broom

Cigarette factory - and it smelled SO awful!
Then we found the church that Fiona had told us about. It was really pretty - I love crumbling architecture. And there was a horse tied up out back as well.

Church from the plaza

Horse on the left

I love the cutouts on each side

At this point Eric and I hired a taxi to drive us to Valle de los Ingenios, or Valley of the Sugar Mills. Our first stop was Mirador del Valle.

Up the stairs to a gorgeous view

Puppies and chickens

View of the Valley

Sugar cane press
Sugar cane

Interesting note, at this point I was used to bathrooms with no seats and little to no toilet paper; but this one had them all beat!  There was no handle to flush the toilet!  After I squatted and drip-dried!  Yeah, I was pretty happy to get to a US airport toilet!  LOL

Our next stop was Sitio Arqueologico San Isidro de los Destilades, which was a former sugar mill and distillery.

Old Baobab tree

Our guide mentioned a man living in the tower and then this little guy popped up!  LOL

Original tower clock

Our driver next took us to Manaca Iznaga, another former sugar mill plantation with an even more impressive tower still standing.

The Iznaga Tower, built in 1816

Linens for sale along the walk to the tower

View as we climbed to the top

View of the Valle de los Ingenios

Looking down
Once we had explored the Valle de los Ingenios, our driver took us back into Trinidad where we spent the remainder of the afternoon just walking around and having mojito's and cervezas.

We stopped at another cigar shop and may or may not have purchased more cigars!


Hood ornament

We found ourselves at Bistro Trinidad which had a rooftop terrace.  We ordered a light snack and Eric smoked a cigar - it was a perfect afternoon.

We had the rooftop to ourselves

So, this lady was hanging her laundry on her rooftop...

To get up there, she climbed the ladder behind the red clothing, sat her laundry basket on the small tin roof, got on the rooftop, and grabbed her basket.

Cigars, bruschetta, cerveza, and rum ~ Cuba!

In the neighbor's yard
 Next we walked to Casa de la Musica where I found some curly-tailed lizards playing!

People listening to some live music

Fun band
We then walked back to Casa los Mangos to get changed for dinner.  Puppy was still waiting to be let inside!

As we set back out for dinner we had a beautiful sunset. 

We went to the most popular restaurant in Trinidad, La Reduccion, where we had obtained a reservation the night before.

Artwork in the front entry
They had the biggest bathroom!  WITH toilet paper!

And a tub/shower!

Fiona assured me this was the best Pina Colada ever - and she was SOOO right!

Appetizer of bean dip, hummus, and tomatoes

Eric got the lamb burger

I got the seafood risotto

And then there was dessert!

We had plans to go to the beach the following day - our last day.  And Fiona and Ossiel were cooking a big dinner tomorrow night.  So we knew this was likely our last time in the city.  It was a great ending to a wonderful day exploring Trinidad.

 “People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

 “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener