Trinidad was our favorite–so much so that we would love to come back and stay for a month.  The whole town is walkable like San Miguel. If you have to go further than what you can walk, or have to go to the very outskirts of town, you can take a bicycle taxi.  They abound here as they do all over Cuba.

Founded in 1514 and celebrating its 500th anniversary, it is the third oldest city in all of Cuba. Colonial architecture makes up a very significant part of the city and it is not at all uncommon to find yourself in a building which might date from the 18th or early 19th century. Those beautiful buildings that make up the historical heart of the town are the result of sugar cane fortunes made in the valleys around Trinidad.  At its peak in the mid 19th century they were producing one-third of all of Cuba’s sugar production.

Here’s a look at the Central Plaza and front of the Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad, the most important church.

The Central Plaza and the front of the cathedral

And this is the former Convent of San Francisco de Asis.

The former Convent of San Francisco de Asis

The views from the top of the bell tower are spectacular and give you a real sense of the colonial atmosphere you are wandering through.

DSC06991

DSC07002

DSC07000

It is now, somewhat ironically, called the Museo National de la Lucha Contra Bandidos, a museum to the efforts of those who fought to defeat counterrevolutionary forces after Fidel’s revolution, particularly in the mountains nearby.  It contains part of the fuselage of a U.S. U-2 spy plane shot down over Cuba as well.

So much of the charm of Trinidad is in the relatively common things that still ignite joy and appreciation.  Yes, the old cars are there, but there are some unusual ones as well.

DSC06978

DSC07241

DSC06366

And even one that Dave swears is the same one he drove as a college kid–it was called “The Taxi” and has had a new paint job, but this might be it! Note the bicycle taxi as well, our usual mode of transport.

DSC07424_2

In fact, there is still some transit around that even predates the 1950’s cars.

DSC07235   DSC07021

But it is also simply the children playing in the streets and visible everywhere.

DSC07283

DSC07046

DSC07124

DSC07303

Sometimes a little young; sometimes not all together happy, but just everywhere.

DSC07236

DSC07096

There is even a Chess Club where the young learn from the more experienced, and it always seemed to have a game going on.

DSC07402

DSC07226

or that other favorite, Dominoes, played everywhere from the street

DSC07339

to storefronts, where it can sometimes become heated

DSC07055

to the Odd Fellows Club

DSC07252

where a game broke out on a Sunday afternoon, accompanied by a bit of Odd Fellow rum and music.

Just a few miles away is reputed to be the best beach on the entire south coast of Cuba, and it is a beauty.  We took the two dollar bus out and spent a lovely day getting lobstered in the sun.

DSC07416   DSC07422

The restaurants can be elegant with fabulous food

DSC07177   DSC07362

even if the kitchens tend to be a bit on the primitive side.

DSC07367

Sometimes, however, there are uninvited guests trying to work their way up the stairs to a spot at a table.

DSC07353

And of course you can always pick up a little something liquid right on the street

DSC07154

and then wander over to the steps next to the Central Plaza where there is always music going on and a crowd enjoying it.

DSC07412

And if there is any single piece of the culture of Trinidad (and in fact Cuba as a whole) it is the music.  In Trinidad it is literally everywhere!

DSC07039   DSC07414   DSC07289     DSC07026

Sometimes it is so intense the musicians just have to take a break and smoke a little cigar.

DSC07330

And sometimes even the visitors from abroad get into it as well!