First whole day here in Trinidad and I am already falling in love with this place. The historical old town is listed as a Unesco world heritage site, for a reason. Walking in Trinidad takes you back to I don’t know what century but somewhere very far away in time. If you eliminated all the tourists with cameras and guidebooks (me included), this could be from a movie scene. Everything here is small and ancient. As I wrote yesterday, the streets are all cobblestone streets, like really. When you walk you constantly stumble from side to side and hit your toes somewhere (good training for my ankle), The streets are narrow and the sidewalks even tighter so you have to jump to the road when passing by people sitting on the porch in front of their house, and jump back to the sidewalk whenever there is a car, bici-taxi or horse carriage coming.
Houses are small as well, like doll houses not real ones, and of all the possible colors that with the sunlight look incredible beautiful.
Almost every house in the old town is a casa particular and almost every house has a rooftop terrace (mine is the prettiest one of course). I changed to the other casa today, but it is only a few blocks away from the first one. I like this one even better and I absolutely love the terrace so I decided to stay here a little bit longer than what I had initially thought. Señora C is a charming older lady, she talks a lot and smiles all the time and calls me mi amor. A typical Cuban abuela. C’s home is also the first one where there doesn’t seem to be an army of housekeepers or other help. Today when I came home in the afternoon K was here as well to visit her mother so we all had coffee together, that was lovely. Tomorrow K is going to lend me her bike so I can go to the beach and other nearby towns. I really have been lucky with my accommodations, so far everything has been perfect and at each place I’m treated like a friend, family member or princess. I know that I could find something for a little bit cheaper but I just can’t bother, I try to save in something else, like eat less and walk instead of taking a taxi.
It is hard to explain how it is here, it is something you should all come see with your own eyes. The atmosphere as well is so different from any other place I have been to. There are no bigger roads and very few cars. Instead, there are horses. I have seen horses calmly standing in front of many houses, they are not attached anywhere or anything. Horse carriages work like cars and sometimes you just see people galloping along the narrow streets, like if they were in a hurry.
There are even “Be aware of horses” –signs. This so reminds me of our trip to Oman with my Parisian friend M. There we saw warning signs for camels and goats but the only animals we almost run over turned out to be donkeys. M, this collection is for you. ;)
People sit outside in front of their houses (and want to talk with me as I walk by) and there is music everywhere. Another interesting thing is that everyone leaves their doors and windows open all the time so when you walk by you can peek into their homes and see how they live. Often the livingroom is right by the street so you can see children play and families have dinner or watch TV together. They also casually do their cooking, dishes or laundry while people pass by. The city center, Plaza Mayor and and a church called Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisma Trinidad, are a bit higher up on a hill and then the town stretches down towards the sea. From my place I have a magnificent, picturesque view in both directions. I know that further away after the old town you can climb up the hill and there is a view spot called Cerro de la Vigía, I will see if I have the courage to go there. There is also a national park, Parque Cubano, but some 15km away from the town. This is not a big place, I walked maybe 15 minutes further from the old town and suddenly I didn’t see any tourists or casa particular signs anymore. I realized I had come to a more residential neighborhood, where locals live in much more modest and restrained conditions. The houses immediately looked different.
In the old town there are of course plenty of restaurants, bars and other tourist attractions, I have even seen art galleries. But, like in Habana Vieja, no supermarkets or other kind of stores. The closest to places where to buy food, I saw this:
And I just loved this small take away café, delicious jugos for 1 CUC.
I had a delicious shrimp-lobster-risotto for lunch and was so full afterwards that I wanted to only buy some fruits to eat in the evening. I decided to walk a bit further away, to a mercado, mentioned in my guide book. My map didn’t go that far so I got a little bit lost and asked some locals for help. They told me that yes, I was on the right street, but no, there is no mercado anymore. So I asked them where I could by fruits and vegetables and one of them offered to take me with his bici-taxi to another place. Even if I swore last night that I would never again go on one, I changed my mind because I was dying in the heat and I managed to negotiate the price to only 1 CUC. So I got to buy fruits, happy happy. They didn’t have avocados though but the dinner I am having now on my terrace (tomatoes and papaya) still reminds me of Jamaica and our dinners in Port Antonio with J.
Walking around here last night made me feel even more lonely than what I was earlier when writing. This is such a beautiful and romantic old little town and I see couples everywhere. For the first time during my travels I really wish I had a boyfriend, or even a holiday fling. Or that my friends J and E were here with me so I could at least whine about not having a boyfriend or a holiday fling. :)
But that’s life, I will shape up now and get ready to go out and see if there is something exciting happening here. See ya later,
Read the next story here.
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!