While in Cienfuegos we wanted to take a trip to Trinidad, about 100 km away. We tried to hire a car but in Cuba it is expensive, by the time you add in insurance etc you are looking at close to $200 AUD a day. Add to all this the kids have a lot of school work to get through so that they don’t fall behind, when we start our 27 day passage in the near future. So we decided we would hire a scooter and just Andrew and I would go. It seemed like a great idea, by the time we had ridden 40 km and stopped so that we could regain feeling in our butts, we realised that perhaps a car would have been better. We decided to continue on and finally made it to Trinidad at about 11.30, with Cuba’s April sun beating down on us.
The tourist part of town is referred to as the Old Town and was first settled 500 years ago with its houses, buildings and uneven cobbled streets the whole town is like a museum. Most of the buildings around the central plaza, called the Mayor Plaza, have been restored according to strict Cuban preservation laws and now house either museums, restaurants or accommodation.
From the central plaza run many crooked streets in all different directions and you seem to find yourself walking in circles at times. Apparently the city was designed to confuse and disorientate pirates who regularly tried to invade the town in the 17th century.
We parked the scooter and headed towards the plaza, passing the Church and convent of Saint Francis or Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco. I had seen photos of the church before and heard it described as a bright lemon coloured, with a lime trim. I actually thought I was looking at the wrong church as the paintwork was so faded. The Franciscans built it in 1813 as a convent, before it became the Parish church in the mid-1800s and later a jail. By the 1920s most of the building, except the bell tower was torn down. You can climb the bell tower and it is supposed to have great views over the town. Unfortunately Andrew’s foot was aching from days of walking all around Cienfuegos, so we skipped the climb.
The cobbled street leading up to the Church and convent of Saint Francis or Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco. Cowboys standing on the corner near the church offering horseback rides.
We reached the plaza and after Andrew had hobbled there we sat in the shade and admired the plaza and watched the people passing by. We continued on to the sun faded Church of the Holy Trinity or Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad. The church itself is not particularly spectacular, even though it’s the largest in Cuba, but the story of the much worshipped statue that it houses makes it interesting. The 18th century statue referred to as Christ of the True Cross or Senor de la Vera Cruz left Spain and was bound for Mexico but due to strong winds it landed in nearby Casilda, the Captain decided to leave it behind and it ended up where it is.
Clockwise from top left: No its not a statue just someone dressed as one. The famous statue known as Christ of the True Cross or Senor de la Vera Cruz, interior of the church and Church of the Holy Trinity or Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad
The Mayor Plaza with some of the beautiful Spanish buildings. An elderly Cuban man relaxing in the shade.
One of the many streets lined with locally made tourist souvenirs
We admired the buildings from afar, but did not venture into any of the museums. We did wander through the less touristy streets surrounding Mayor Plaza, before venturing to the New Town to eat like the locals. After driving in circles for a long time and finding very few options, we ended up at a restaurant that had a spare table, its only remaining dish was roast goat with red beans and rice. A tasty, simple lunch.
Some of the cobbled streets surrounding Mayor Plaza, less touristy and just as interesting. Love the cars.
We started the long trip home, passing cowboys, cows, goats and farms. We stopped half way so we could regain feeling in our butts and waited as two cowboys passed us by.
Some of the many cowboys we passed on the road between Cienfuegos and Trinidad
written by Karen