Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Santa Clara & Cienfuegos

Happy Birthday Elliot! The lucky young man who has celebrated birthdays all around the world turned 15 in Cuba! We were on the move again today onto Cienfuegos. We stopped by Valle de Los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) just on the outskirts of Trinidad. The region was an important sugar-producing area in the 19th century. Many of the mills and estates were unfortunately now in ruin. It was still a scenic spot for a family photo before we moved on to Hacienda Iznaga where there was a 43.5m tower. The highlight of the spot was having freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. It was uncomfortable having people following us to sell things so we opted not to climb the tower and powered onto Santa Clara.

Valley of the Sugar Mills

Yummy freshly squeezed sugar cane juice

The children given sugar cane to munch on

The tower that we opted NOT to climb

Vendors trying to push craft onto the children then asking for money

They were cute but we really didn't like being hassled...
Yoanis put on a video on Che Guevarra along the way to prepare us for our visit to his mausoleum, museum and memorial. His remains were moved to the current spot in 1997 from Bolivia along with 39 of his fellow revolutionaries. We were not allowed to take any photos inside the museum or mausoleum and so photos taken on the outside will have to be proof enough of our visit.
Yoanis and Julio settled us into a restaurant for lunch before taking us to our casas. This one has to be best one ever. It was one with doors that actually work properly and air conditioning units that look less than 20 years old! We had a sitting room for our use on our level and a lovely roof top terrace which overlooked Cienfuegos.

Next on the agenda was the customary orientation walking tour of the city. Cienfuegos, the pearl of the South, had French influences which were apparent in the buildings and wide tree lined boulevards. We walked to the town centre and onto the Bay before heading back to the casa. Our hosts had kindly organised a party for Elliot’s birthday. They had decorated the roof top terrace complete with disco lights, prepared home made food, got a cake, and even provided party hats! They also had a small present for Elliot. We were so touched by their warm and generous gesture. The rest of the evening was spent eating, laughing and chatting in the cool Cuban evening breeze. Not a bad way to celebrate one’s birthday I say!

Che Guevara the Argentinian/honourary Cuban

There was a lot of untouched beauty 


Cuban musician Benny More

The craft market

Our room 

Our sitting area!

I will never take one of these for granted ever again

Party time!

With food generously prepared by our hosts

Mary, a girl from next door and Mary's older sister

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