A few relatively quiet days to finish
19.12.2016 - 21.12.2016 30 °C
Linda and Al waved goodbye on Monday morning, leaving the Heselev/Hughes clan all alone. We had a couple of relaxed days before heading off ourselves.
Linda and Al starting their long journey home
The rest of that day was very relaxed indeed – we walked around old Trinidad some more, did some souvenir shopping and had a rest in the afternoon. We watched the sun set behind a church while listening to a great band on a rooftop bar.
The main ‘modern’ square
A sunsmart goat
Watching the sun set
And after dinner we popped our heads in to the plush Iberostar Hotel, which amazingly offers free wifi for its guests (unheard of in Cuba, pretty much). Unfortunately not free for us.
Clearly Monday was too relaxed, because we overcompensated a bit on Tuesday. Our host Jesús (plenty of jokes there: ‘you need help from Jesus’, ‘he’s a miracle worker’ etc.) helped us hired bikes and we rode off to the beach. It was about 16km on rubbish equipment, but it was pretty easy, with a lovely sea breeze as we cruised along the coast.
The beach was the nicest we’ve visited, by a long way, but then that’s not really saying much. It was very aesthetically pleasing but possibly a bit boring – no waves, and no appropriate sand on which to play cricket or build sandcastles. I’m sure you share my pain. We walked and swam for a few hours before deciding we’d had enough (although Dad needed some convincing that he’d had enough too).
The ride back was less easy. The lovely sea breeze had turned into a stiff headwind, and the gentle hills on the way there seemed to have turned into the Alps, and the afternoon sun was oppressive. We struggled back into Trinidad.
We had a drink in town but were too tired to do much else. Mum and I went for a bit of walk, though, and Ro and Mat went to a salsa class run by a very exacting teacher, so I suppose we struggled through.
Trinidad is lovely, but it feels extremely touristy at times, and as a result, even Dad’s seemingly endless enthusiasm for Cuban music had worn off. If we heard Guantanamero one more time someone was going to get hurt. Luckily we found a restaurant that had a band comprising of two guitarists, a drummer, a clarinettist and a brilliant singer. A good change-up.
Wednesday rolled around and we got up early to go back to Havana. Jesús rose again to make us breakfast, and we were all ready to go by 7. Except the taxi didn’t turn up until nearly 8, giving us a chance to take a few more photos (as if they were needed, really):
The tardiness wasn’t a problem in the end, because we made great time, and Mum had an hour to lunch with us before she had to go to the airport. Havana to Cancún to Houston to Frankfurt to Heathrow (and then to Aberaeron) is her itinerary; possibly even more demanding than ours. Good luck Mum, and say merry Christmas to everyone in Wales!
The final four had half a day to spare though, and we wanted to make the most of it. But we were tired, it was raining, and a couple of things were closed for seemingly no reason. We did a few things: we saw a photography exhibition, wandered the old city, and popped into a fabulous shop full of 1930s and earlier goodies, including postcards from Melbourne and Ballarat.
Rosie and her mate Simón Bolívar
More Havana architecture
For dinner, Dad was keen on a restaurant in Calle O’Reilly, which Barack Obama had eaten at when he was here a few months ago, and was obviously pretty popular. We’d tried to make a reservation in the afternoon, but they said they didn’t take any. So we just turned up early and got in – only to find out reasonably quickly that we were at a different O’Reilly’s.
We found the right one eventually, and the guy on the door looked apologetic when we said we didn’t have a reservation, as if he was going to say that we were out of luck. But we squeezed in, luckily, because Matilda rated it the best food she’d had in the whole country.
And then we took a taxi to Vedado, a newer part of the city, driving down the Malecón one last time. We had an ice cream, visited a pretty cool bar (we could have been in Melbourne save for the prices) and the girls kicked on to finish their time in Havana with a bang.