Cienfuegos to TrinidadMarch 12, 2020 in Cuba ⋅ 🌙 21 °C
After our two nights at the Hotel Jagua, it was time to move on to the next leg of our Cuban Adventure. Since the minibars in the rooms had never been stocked, we had none of the inquisition process that had delayed our departure from the Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Our bags were quickly bundled into the waiting bus and we were on our way.
The plan was to transfer by bus to the outskirts of Cienfuegos so that we would not have to battle our way through the busy morning traffic. It was a great idea. A short time later we were ready to begin the day’s ride. In normal conditions 60 km might not sound like a challenging day’s ride, but the combination of regular undulations, high temperatures and even higher humidity makes riding rather taxing. In the afternoon the hot tropical sun really seems to burn right into the centre of your body. The very best time for any sort of energetic activity is in the cooler morning. After lunch the riding is much harder.
To my relief the condition of the road was quite good. The potholes that we had battled a couple of days ago were replaced with long sections of smooth bitumen. It is quite amazing how much quicker progress you can make when the surface is smoother. One thing that has surprised us all is the number of horse drawn vehicles we see, especially when we get into the rural areas. The only vehicles we saw all day were the occasional truck, a few buses, numerous old 1940s cars and dozens of horse drawn carts. One cart even had a “spare engine” following along behind, presumably ready to take over when the first engine ran out of energy.
After stopping for lunch at a thatched roof roadhouse, we continued to the outskirts of Trinidad. By that time the heat had really started to tax everyone’s stamina. I managed to survive by pouring water down the front of my jersey and relying on evaporative cooling to keep my temperature under control. It did make a difference, but I was very happy to finish the ride and climb inside the bus for the final couple of km to Trinidad.
For the next three nights we will be staying in the Casas Particulaires that Cuba is famous for. These are private homes that have been converted to bed and breakfast accommodations for travellers. We had been told that the hospitality of the hosts is amazing, and now we were about to find out for ourselves if it was true.
The process began when we assembled at the central Casa while the bargaining for rooms went on between our guide and the casa owners. After about 30 mins they apparently reached agreement. We were then lined up and allocated one by one to the line of waiting hosts. It was just like those dreadful days in primary school when they picked the school teams. I was sure that I was always picked last, when there were no other genuine sporty types left to pick.
I was allocated with Janna and Linda to a nearby casa. We followed Jenny (our hostess) trying our best to carefully watch which way we were walking. In these narrow streets every doorway looks the same and it would be so easy to get completely lost. The thought of spending hours knocking on every door in Trinidad trying to find the right one would be very daunting.
On arrival at our allocated rooms we discovered that they actually were very clean and comfortable. They were even equipped with private bathrooms and air conditioning. I did have some initial hiccups when I discovered that there was no hot water in my shower and the toilet did not flush, however these were quickly sorted out by the owner.
We all returned to the central casa for a combined dinner, before retiring for the night. It had been a very long day and I was looking forward to our first “rest day” the following day.
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