Indeed there is a backlog of impressions from Cuba! Regular blog updates require an internet connection and in this respect Cuba still lives in the Cold War era. Obtaining an internet card (that buys you an hour of service) is a bureaucratic process that would make a Russian state employee proud. Once a card is purchased, you have to find a wireless “hotspot” to get online. A sure spot is around high-end international hotels, where you at night find a gathering of locals whose smartphones light up the dark like fire flies.

Whereas the cold wind of communism still can be felt in Havanna, the bittersweet smell of colonialism still hangs over Trinidad in the south of Cuba. Some say time has stood still here, and it’s a beautifully preserved colonial town but it felt a little bit like an open air museum.

Nevertheless we housed in a lovely Casa “Juan Carlos y La China” where colonial furniture was still in use and three stories towered over an inner courtyard. From there we had beautiful views over Trinidad and the Escambray Mountains. And the Mojitos were delicious!

Casa Juan Carlos y La China
Many old colonial buildings are still in the hands of the original families

Trinidad’s heyday was in the 18th and 19th century when wealthy families traded in slaves and sugar. When slave trade stopped and the sugar business petered out, Trinidad went to sleep for a 100 years and the buildings remained the way they were. Until the 60’s…

In the early 60’s Trinidad and the surrounding Escambray Mountains again saw some action with the “War against the Bandits”. The Escambray Rebellion (or “Bandits”) was a group of former anti-Batista revolutionaries, who didn’t like Castro’s turn to communism, and a group of farmers who were annoyed about their farmland being expropriated. The infidels were (of course) crushed and an amusing display of paraphernalia and propaganda can be seen in the old church and convent San Fransisco. Including Che Guevara’s hammock and a piece of a shot-down American fighter plane…!

 

Sierra del Escambray
In Sierra del Escambray a group of contra-revolutionaries, “Bandits” were eliminated in the War against the Bandits
War against the Bandits propaganda
Six student girls fought off an attack from the Bandits and made them “run away”. Well, well!