Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Eastward from Matanzas

Our kind hostess in Mantanzas found us an adress to stay on our way to the southeast. It was only 44 kms, it was a finca (farm) called 'La Coincidencia'. And it was. A romantic place, where they have some cows and horses, grow their own vegetables etc. But the most important was the ceramics workshop. Tey make all kinds of pottery and huge vases, seem to give workshops for groups as well.
Our dinner and breakfast was all 'home grown' and delicious. We agreeably shared the table with a young cycling Canadian couple, coming from the very remote west coast near the Alaskan border. Of course we advised them to come cycling in Europe, and visit Breda. They promised us to do so :-)
From there it was a 76 kms ride to Playa Larga, the most northern beach in the Bay of Pigs. The ride was long and not interesting. Had some stops for fruit juice and chats with the locals.
Playa Larga is famous for the failed landing of the contra-revolutianaries in 1961 (supported by the US, under Kennedy). Memorials galore. Unless the 'help' of a jinetero (a hussler, in touristic places they are a nuisance) we found a very nice and clean casa particular. There are scores of them here, price mostly 25 CUC (=€).
Next stop was Playa GirĂ²n, a short ride against the wind. A simple casa in a small, and boring sleeping wide spread settlement, with a museum of the invasion and a big hotel, which also was 'tote Hose'.
The day after brought us to Cienfuegos, 80 kms to the east. A busy and not unagreeable town, where we landed in a very beautiful casa particar with Victor and Elena, right in the historic centre. Like ourselves they are abuelo and abuela (grandpa and -ma), which caused a lot of sharing :-) We spent an extra day here.
Remarkable: there are ATM's here that allow creditcards to take out cash! Until now our information was that this is not possible in Cuba. We tried and it worked perfectly.
Next stop: Trinidad. A small, very historic and very touristic, town. It was founded not long after the discovery of the Americas and collected its wealth through the sugar trade. Now it's a Unesco-heritage settlement, with one storey houses along cobble-stone streets (impossible to ride a bike on). Here again we spent an extra day, just another couple among the thousands of tourists.

Note: using the internet remains extremely difficult.

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