|View from our Casa|
Settled by Spanish explorers in 1514 Trinidad has had a colourful history, from its origins as a small farming community to a hideaway for smugglers and pirates and then as a centre for the booming sugar milling industry of the 19th century. When the sugar industry was decimated, due to conflicts and fires during the war of independence, the town became a rural back water, largely unknown and ignored by the rest of Cuba. One of the few good things President Batista did was to pass a preservation law in the 1950s in order to maintain Trinidad as an historical site. Today it has UNESCO world heritage status and is considered to be one of the best preserved, and least altered, historical towns in the Americas.
|A Trinidad taxi|
|If you have anything to sell you sell it from your front room|
|Doing the mending|
|Dominoes is a popular pastime|
At night Plaza Mayor becomes a lively hub for the town with $2 mojitos served from a hole-in-the-wall bar and crowds of locals and tourists mingling and chatting. We had a great time hanging out there but it was also where we saw an unpleasant side of the local bureaucracy. Our delightful and totally professional guide, a black Cuban, was approached by the police and questioned. He was asked for his identity card and his details were rung through to headquarters. When all details checked out he was left to continue his evening. He told us later that this happens all the time. He thinks it is because he is black and that the authorities are suspicious as to why he is hanging out with foreign tourists. Later in the evening more police entered the square. Fortunately our guide spotted them coming and quickly removed himself from our group in order to avoid more hassles. We all felt bad for him and were a bit subdued after this incident. It had burst our happy 'tourist' bubble a little and shown us the dark side of an authoritarian government.
|Plaza Mayor, Trinidad|
|Plaza Mayor becomes a fun and lively gathering place in the evenings|
Late in the evening a few of us decided to make our way back to our casas and got horribly lost, no hardship, though, because the streets are so picturesque it really seemed to be a shame to be heading home to bed anyway. We noticed the streets had water running down the centre of them. When we asked our guide about this he said that it is the waste water from the houses which is released every evening, it is the drainage system that has been in place for 200 years.
|Warm glow at sunset|
|Trinidad's primitive drainage system|
I highly recommend Trinidad if you want to experience a town almost frozen in time. It is picturesque, quaint and charming but this also means there is little infrastructure for today's modern lifestyles.
Here are my recommendations for Trinidad:
ACCOMMODATION: Casa Carmen Y Pupito - spotlessly clean, wonderful, kindly hosts, good location and excellent breakfast. I would stay there again
DINING: Trinidad Jazz Cafe - Great ambience in a lovely building, attentive and friendly service, delicious food, inexpensive
I am also on Facebook @ A Wandering Widow - Solo Travel I'd love to see you there.