Day seven started bright and early! Actually, it wasn’t bright at all…it was still dark because it was 5:00 a.m. We woke up before the sun rose to get ready for our journey to visit Cienfuegos. We were supposed to be at the Capitol at 6:45 a.m., but again, Pepe was nervous that we wouldn’t get there in time, so we left a bit earlier than I would have liked.
Anyway, the day started with the standard breakfast of oatmeal with peanut butter and banana.
Just like that picture is getting old to look at, it was getting old to eat it, as well.
Right around 6:00, we were picked up by Miguel to drive us to the Capitol. We waited for the bus for awhile, and eventually it showed up…but it was a van. We would have missed it had my mom not thought to go ask if that was it.
Understandably, I was really sleepy when we got in the van, but I did manage to capture a few photos of the sunrise before dozing off for the majority of the ride.
Cienfuegos is approximately 160 miles from Havana, but with our driver’s speedy (and scary) driving, it didn’t take too long to get there. According to the guidebook, the first settlers in the Cienfuegos area were Taino Indians who called it Cacicazgo de Jagua- a native word for ‘beauty’. Cienfuegos was later founded in 1819 by Don Louis D’Clouet. D’Clouet sponsored a scheme to increase the population of whites on the island by inviting 40 families from New Orleans and Philadelphia. In 2005, Cienfuegos became a Unesco World Heritage Site, which has allowed for the preservation of it’s beautiful architecture and parks.
We were given an hour to walk around and see a bit of the city for ourselves. I was feeling under the weather so we slowly meandered in and out of the streets, stopping for a “guava pastry”. I put that in quotes because there was no guava to be found.
After taking five minutes to explore, we were corralled back into the bus and taken to lunch. Lunch was in a “cafeteria” and the food was just okay. I don’t think it made me feel any better. It started with mango juice, which I drank in less than five seconds…
It was cheese or cheese with ham. I opted for the cheese and then picked at it. I’m telling you, Cuban cheese is different than anything here!
Well, the rice was good…
And to finish off, strawberry ice cream with chocolate sauce. I happily ate mine and mom’s. She later told me that she didn’t eat it because it tasted like freezer burn. Yum!
After lunch, we were driven to Hotel Pasacaballo. The hotel seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, but it did have a beautiful view and a huge pool.
Mom took advantage of the pool while I took advantage of the comfy beds and slept for a few hours. Once I woke up, I felt a lot better, especially after taking a shower. After we both showered, we headed out to take a short walk before dinner. Since the hotel was literally in the middle of nowhere, we didn’t go too far, but it was nice to get out. When we were back at the hotel, we were hungry! We had to wait for dinner to open, but we met up with our group for drinks while we waited. Once it opened, we headed in to eat and were pleasantly surprised when the food was really good!
The rice was awesome, the chicken was mediocre and the boiled potato tasted like every boiled potato you have ever eaten.
More interesting than the food, however, were the people that we ate dinner with. There was a Cuban couple that took the trip to celebrate the wife’s birthday. They were so friendly! There was also a man from Switzerland that traveled to Cuba for a six week stay. I think that takes so much courage! He arrived in Cuba, bought a bike, and is living there and touring the country. He spends a few months each year visiting a new place. Very cool.
After dinner, we headed off to bed in hopes of fighting off illness. We needed to be well rested for our trip to the beautiful city of Trinidad on Day 8. Recap coming soon! 🙂