|Leaving Cienfuego words like Wisconsin, Scotland and Virginia
were used to describe the farmland. I don't recall any ranches in those areas being dotted
with royal palms, but other than that the comparison might have some validity. The farms
are lush, rolling and working. The livestock are cows, horses, pigs, chickens and small ruminants.
Towards Trinidad the road gets closer
to the sea. Generally the shore is a limestone platform sitting above the water.
Occasionally there are inlets, which are more likely to have a beaches. At the mouth of the
Yaguanabo River is a nice motel. Besides its pleasant location and ambience, it has solar
water heaters. Though Cuba
tends to have various energy shortages, use of solar and other alternative energy sources
is not wide spread. Compact florescent bulbs tend to be the most common example of energy
The old section of Trinidad intends to be quaint. It is trying to maintain its
colonial character so the streets are cobblestone and the roofs are
constructed with red tiles, though the skyline is marred by power poles and electric lines. It is also dominated by tourists so there are
lots of small hostel-type hotels, a number of music clubs and assorted paladars (privaterestaurants specializing in meals that are more than rice and beans.)
Except for the
staff, Cubans clients are rare at these establishments. Because of Trinidad's orientation
towards tourism you can feel some of the apartheid that hovers around tourism in Cuba. The
museum in Trinidad is another converted private mansion. From the roof you can view the
skyline of Trinidad, which is dominated by church steeples.
While not unique to Trinidad, this is where we got our best look at
Santaria. Santaria is a form of Christianity that merges similar West African deities and
saints brought by the slaves with the saints of Christianity. The shrines draw from both
traditions and are full of symbolism. Santaria has a corps of learned priest and priestess
who lead other believers in the practice of the religion. At the shrine we visited
the priest who was very accommodating in answering our questions and explaining the elements
of the shrine. Most of the objects had direct symbolism and meaning.
Trinidad is also were we had an opportunity to take a horseback ride and
hike to a waterfall. Horses are common in rural Cuba, generally as work animals
rather than recreation equipment. The horses we had were very mild
mannered and well
behaved. The hike to the waterfall, along the river was a verdant delight. Thewaterfall is set in a
lush glen where the river falls over the edge of a limestone cliff. Most of our
group availed themselves of the opportunity for a swim at the waterfall. The water
was warm enough to stay in for a while and still enjoy it. One of the fun and unique
features of this waterfall is you can swim into a cave behind the waterfall and then swim
out through the cascade. I looked for bats and other creatures in the cave but didn't see
any. None-the-less it was a novel experience.
Please write if you have questions, comment, criticism, praise or
additional information for us, find a bad link or would like to be added to IBF's mailing list. (Also let
us know how you found this site.)
ThinkHost - earth friendly web hosting"
Created by David Mozer
Copyright ©1996-2011 International Bicycle Fund. All rights reserved.