Trinidad, Playa Ancon
31. March (Saturday): I was so thankful not to have been awoken by a crowing cock again this morning! (This would be incomprehensible to someone who hasn't experienced it, I assume)
We have breakfast, which is included in the price (flies join us again) and I then set off to the main square to fetch the car.
There is no one guarding it and I am a bit peeved since I was paying the guard 2$ to do so. I look around a bit, then drive off towards our Particular, which is just a couple of hundred meters away, saying it's his fault.
When I arrive, what a surprise to see the guard running there breathless to meet me and demanding his 2$ fee! I tell him that he had not been guarding the car and therefore had not done his job. He said he had been away for just a moment "Momentito" and I pay him his fee with an inner smile.
We load our bags into the car and set off in the direction of the town of Sancti Spiritus on our way to Trinidad, which is on the southern coast of Cuba.
Entrance Stairway of Sancti Spiritus Library
It's nice to see the small photogenic monuments along the road are announcing the next major town, such as Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad, etc. We see quite a few of these on our road trip.
Sancti Spiritus is a typical small Cuban town. It has a main square with a beautiful, elegant colonial library which is well worth seeing (entrance is free but the video camera costs a token Peso fee. This is the only time I could ever pay in Pesos during our entire stay in Cuba!). A picturesque river flows through the town with a small stone bridge over it and a nice restaurant/cafñ on it's banks. All this provides for some beautiful sights.
We continue on towards the historic town of Trinidad on the southern coast. We decide to stay the night not at the town proper but near 'Playa Ancon', directly at the beach.
Reaching there, we start checking out some of the Casa Particulars recommended by LP. The last room of the first one has just been occupied and another is not up to standard. We see a lot of Cubans here, enjoying the sea.
A bit further down are some international hotels directly at the beach. We delay looking for a room and hit the beach from them. Looking like tourists of the hotel, we have the full infrastructure at our disposal: drinks, toilets, beach chairs, umbrellas. The beach and the water are nice here too, but do not quite match those of Cayo Santa Maria.
We contemplate staying at the hotel, but at 90$ per night we decide to drive back to Trinidad. On the way, we stop at one of the fish restaurants right on the beach. Watching the sun set into the ocean from under the thatched roof of the restaurant was marvelous! Annewien had fish and I got a meager tomato salad. The food was very pricey and not too good.
Refreshingly, Cuban women have no qualms displaying their assets through tight gear (Sancti Spiritus)
Trinidad is a beautiful little town with many grand old colonial houses and bumpy cobbled streets. By the time we reach there it is getting dark.
There are a LOT of Casa Particulars to be seen, all sporting their blue signs. We stop at a couple, but either no-one answers the door or they are full. One very friendly man tells us someone nearby should have some free rooms and luckily they do. It's a really beautiful house, the interior of which looks like a museum, overfull with all sorts of old furniture, pictures and beautiful "junk". The room is nice and we're really delighted to have gotten a room there.
In the evening we go out looking for some live music. Two places are recommended to us, the 'Casa de la Musica' and the 'Casa de la Trova'.
These two institutions can be found in the major towns all over Cuba and are places where local musicians entertain the locals with traditional music.
In Trinidad, the Casa de la Musica is an open-air locale just at the church square and the group's playing in full swing. We find a place to sit, order Mojitos and watch. There are quite a few tourists in the audience. The music is ok but not exceptional.
Walking along Trinidad's cobbled streets, we find the 'Casa de la Trova' a little further on, but continue to another place. They're playing African style music 'Rumba', so we decide to return to the Casa de la Trova (the entrance fee is a dollar for tourists). It's mostly Cubans here, they're dressed to go out and well groomed! We hardly see any tourists.
The setting is in a very pleasant courtyard with tables and chairs and a small place for the musicians to play. There is frequent dancing, but although the musicians play a lot of Son, the people dance Salsa (Salsa is danced on '1', Son on '2'). There are no exceptional dancers here. I buy another two CD's of performers whom I liked.
It's quite interesting to watch the Cubans. Overweight ladies display their assets publicly the same here as elsewhere in Cuba, there is no attempt to hide anything as in Europe.
We walk back to our room and have a good night's sleep.