Southern Cuba and the Bay of Pigs

Cuba Diary Days Four and Five -- April 28 & 29
Monday, June 4th, 2012

Bay of Pigs

On Saturday, we began a short, 2-day trip to southern Cuba, and the village of Cienfuegos and the city of Trinidad.  On the way, we arrived at the Bay of Pigs and the actual landing point where, in 1962, about 1,300 heavily armed CIA-trained Cuban exiles came ashore, fully equipped to provoke a counter-revolution to topple the Castro regime.

Bay of Pigs Memorial

At the small village of Camilo Cienfuegos, we visited the local medical center, met with hospital staff including one of the two doctors that work there, and contributed to a large amount of medical supplies that we had brought with us.

Camilo Cienfuegos

Street scene Camilo Cienfuegos

That evening, we stayed at the Brisas Trinidad del Mar Hotel, which is located a short distance outside of Trinidad on the Ancon Beach.  Our guide actively managed our expectations for the hotel, which included the description "simple rooms with basic facilities."  While our guide didn't oversell the hotel, it was another example of Cuba not understanding the tourism industry: for instance, although water pressure is a problem all over Cuba, it was especially problematic at our hotel, as water barely trickled out of the shower head!!  While I suppose this this isn't a problem for some, we Americans generally like to bathe daily!! The pictures are of the Caribbean from the hotel.  I should note that Cuba attracts significant tourism from Europe, especially Spain; but if it had a market-based economy, the country and its people would be so much the better.

Caribbean from our hotel in Trinidad

Caribbean from Trinidad

On Sunday, we spent the day exploring Trinidad, the fourth of the seven cities founded by Diego de Velasquez in 1514 as a base for expeditions into the "New World."  Today, it's maintained as a living museum, just as the Spaniards left it in its period of greatest opulence.  It's the crown jewel of Cuba's colonial cities - the whole city with its fine palaces, cobbled streets and tiled roofs, is a national monument, and since 1988, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We explored the Plaza Mayor, which is in the center of town and elegantly adorned with glazed earthenware urns.  Around the plaza are the Museo Romantico, the Museo Arqueologia and the cathedral, Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad which was built between 1817 and 1892, and is the largest church in Cuba.

Cathedral Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad

The architecture is lovely

The streets are cobbled and uneven.

We then returned to Havana, arriving in time to have lunch at La Divina Pastora, which has a wonderful setting, just behind a battery of big cannons below the Fortaleza de la Cabaña, near the water and overlooking La Habana Vieja.  At La Divina Pastora, I also made friends with a not-so-well fed kitten who was particularly fond of the leftover snapper.  Like ordinary Cubans, pets aren't well nourished either.

Fortaleza de la Cabaña

Lunch at La Divina Pastor

Friend who liked the fish I gave her


 


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