The next stop on our Cuban travels was the delightful city of Trinidad, with its cobblestone streets and pastel coloured houses it is a step back in time .
Founded in 1514 by Diego Velazquez , Trinidad was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. During the 17th. and 18th. centuries, it was a wealthy slave-trading centre and hub of sugar production , this is reflected in the many fine houses and mansions.
The elegant Plaza Mayor with its pair of bronze greyhounds . The yellow building is Palacio Brunet ( now the Museo Romantico) . It was constructed in 1740 by a wealthy sugar baron and its collections of some of the most outstanding antiques , fine china and glassware from around the world were some of the finest I have ever seen. You will have to take my word on this as I wasn’t able to take photographs inside.
I loved the coloured colonial houses in Trinidad , a surprise around every corner, often in the form of an interesting vehicle or scene, such as the two below.
This chap and his woven wares on the church steps and the men engrossed in the Cuban national game of dominoes were centred around the main plaza.
We stayed at a charming Casa Particulaire , a few blocks from the main square , the highlight of which was our welcoming and delightful host Magoly. We managed interesting conversations in Spenglish. John is enjoying a typical Cuban breakfast of fresh tropical fruit , juice, tomatoes, meats,cheese, pancakes, bread and honey and coffee. There was always way too much food and we never did it justice.
Valle de los Ingenios , was the centre of Cuba’s sugar industry in early days and is dotted with ruins of dozens of 19th. century sugar mills , manor houses ,slave quarters and a steam train.
A painting on the wall of the Hacienda Manaca Iznaga, giving a glimpse of those times. This estate was purchased in 1795 by Pedro Iznaga , who became one of Cuba’s wealthiest men through slave trafficking.
The rather grand hacienda now operates as a restaurant. I was most taken with the light even with its modern light bulbs.
The 44m Ignaza Tower was used to watch the slaves. Today it looks out over the rows of intricately woven table linen and clothing offered for sale to the tourists.
We also visited a no longer operating sugar mill. Its building shells giving an idea of the size of the operation in its heyday. All the functioning equipment was sent to mills in other countries. It was interesting gaining an insight into the sugar process. I will admit John found the technical side of more interest than I did. Hence the photo above , it was taken to show the size of the flywheel .
Our sugar tour continued with a visit to San Isidro de los Destiladeros . This newly renovated property , dating from 1830, consists of the hacienda , a three storey tower , ruins of the cisterns and the slave quarters.
The ruins of the slave quarters , I found this rather difficult as you really could feel just how difficult and cruel life was for these poor souls.
John listening intently to Milena explaining the sugar extraction process.
On the way back to Trinidad we stopped at Playa Ancon for lunch and John enjoyed a swim , possibly his only ever swim in the Carribean.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing Trinidad through my eyes , I enjoyed every moment there, it is full of character and charm and was my favourite spot in Cuba.