Here we are again, this time finishing up our report with the trip to Havanna and Trinidad. As already mentioned in the last post: I was forced to visit the Canadian Embassy in Havanna to get a permit for re-entry to Canada. Reason was that I got the status Permanent Resident, but did not have my Permanent Resident Card yet, which is required for entry. I could't enter as a tourist either, so we got on our way...
The trip from the resort to Havanna took us about half a day. We traveled with bus, as this is the cheapest option. The drive got delayed several times because one guy from another resort had the great idea to get totally wasted in the morning, which resulted in multiple stops so he could empty himself.
We arrived at night and got droped off in the downtown area of the city. So the first objective was to find our Casa Particular that we booked for the next two nights. This is what the homes are called where local families rent out rooms to foreigners. To get there we took a vintage taxis and held our breath, as every moving part in that car was shaking underneath us. a facinating and terrifying experience at the same time.
After some searching we arrived at our Casa Particular and met our kind host and his family.
The next morning we started the day with the exploration of the Colon Cemetery, which was right around the corner of where we stayed. One of the biggest cemetries worldwide with an area of 56 ha and 53,360 plots. It is full of many interesting statues and buildings and even some art sculptures.
Next stop what the Embassy, so I could get my permit. This was more complicated than I thought, because the guard wouldn't even let me in and only spoke in broken English. Thankfully our taxi driver was still around and figured out for me that I had to make a payment at a local bank (on the website it said to bring cash). Having done that I could finally drop off my filled out form and get back on track with our itinary.
Next was the Plaza de la Revolución and the Memorial José Martí right next to it. The plaza is Cuba's political, administrative and cultural centre since 1959. One week after we left Cuba Fidel Castro died and thousands of Cubans gatherd here when his remains were stored in the Memorial.
Our taxi drove uns then to the ciry centre so we could continue our exploration on foot. What follows are many different impressions from that day.
After two nights our adventure in Havanna was over and we started heading towards Trinidad. Early in the morining we headed to the bus station only to find out that we were short on cash (I wrongly assumed that I would be able to pay by credit card). I almost thought our whole plan would fall through because I would have to go to the next bank and then take the next bus two hours later, but once very compassionate girl gave us the missing money (about $10) to get on the bus. Thanks again stranger, we'll pay it forward!
Trinidad is one of the better known cities in Cuba since it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. It is famouse for its cobble stone streets and pastel colored houses. Especially the hoses in the historic centre around Plaza Mayor show the wealth that was once in this city. Today much of the core has be restorated and many tourists come to see the city.
At times a felt a bit overcrowded and touristy, but when the sun was setting everything slowed down. Sitting at a bar at the stairs on Plaza Mayor with a view over the city was a great way to let the day of exploring end.
Now it was dark and we thought about spending another night in town, but in the end we decided to just take a taxi back to the resort. On the way we had a old man standing in the middle of the unlit highway. JJ and I were pretty shocked, as we almost hit him, but our driver skillfully drove around him and just had a laugh about it saying that he must be drunk. Really shows how lighthearted Cubans are.