The first sound in the morning is the clip-clap of horses’ hooves on the cobbled streets followed by the cries of old men selling bread from bicycles (El pan! El pan!). Open your eyes, gaze up at the high wooden louvers of your 200-year-old colonial room, and try to convince yourself you’re in the 21st century.
Every man and his dog wants to visit Trinidad!
Before arriving, other travellers had spoken of cobblestone streets, brightly coloured buildings and blindingly white beaches nearby. And although I did find some of those features during my stay, I also found a few more things that both surprised, and disappointed me.
Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1988, Trinidad’s secrets quickly became public property, and it wasn’t long before busloads of visitors started arriving to sample the beauty of Cuba’s oldest and most enchanting ‘outdoor museum.’ Yet tourism hasn’t managed to deaden Trinidad’s gentle southern sheen. The town retains a quiet, almost soporific air in its rambling cobbled streets replete with leather-faced guajiros (country folk), snorting donkeys and melodic, guitar-wielding troubadours.
As my bus pulled into town, mobs of touts swarmed yelling and waving signs in the air. Luckily, I already had pre-booked accommodation, thanks to Mary, at Casa Berto, who was there to meet me (waving the ubiquitous hand written piece of paper with my name on). It was a hard 15-minute slog to Berto’s casa. Temperatures were hitting 38 deg C, with my backpack, walking on uneven cobblestones, uphill, it was a tough challenge.
Next stage: Trinidad – the sights & sounds of an amazing town.