Similar to our last ride, we did the steepest hill on the first 15km as we arrived to El Pinto. You can stretch your legs after you pass La Ermita with a nice 13km downhill. After that we found the way to Trinidad -our final cycling destination- comfortable to ride with a total of 71km and 916m of elevation.
Again, as earlier described, we were very impressed by how clean is the town of Sancti Spiritus and how friendly the people is. So far we had experience technology from the 50s in cars and other machinery. This town showed the kindness and innocence from the ages ago where everyone is friendly, trust each other, and has no rush whatsoever.
We made a lunch stop at a bus / chariot station, a lonely but convenient place for shade and sitting area. Little we knew that we had a primary school right behind us. Kids came out and stopped staring at Spaghetti as something out of this world to them.
“Is el Brujo gone already?” the kids asked us. “Yes”. I replied. “Just 5 minutes ago.” Before them other kids jumped at the highway yelling “Brujo, give us a ride home!” at a chariot driver pulled by a horse. “Oh no”, said the later kids with disappointment, “now we will have to walk home with this heat”. We offered them a sandwich we made with the breakfast leftovers. They gladly accepted it and we witnessed the shift of emotions only kids have. From deep sadness to total happiness in a moment.
Trinidad is by far the best town in Cuba for us. It offers many choices bigger cities have. Yes, it does have a lot of tourism, but it’s local colonial charm is very vivid. Surprisingly there are good options for dining. Amazing places for salsa dancing with live music. People is very friendly and they help you with anything. There are no airports here, but if we could choose one city to come back to in Cuba, it would be Trinidad.
We did a tour around the pristine local beaches with Spaghetti. It was impressive to see the huge projects going on from the big hotel chains. Last time I saw such large cranes felt like a million years ago. We were happy for the money coming into the island but couldn’t stop thinking of the massive amount of waste and resources needed to run those things. Needless to say recycling and ecological impact is not high up in the government’s agenda. Feeding their people is kind of their priority.
As of now here in Trinidad the tourism here is not the common all inclusive hotel zombi type. -Coming soon though-. The visitors we talked to had a really close impression of the real Cuba. Although some were idealizing the little they saw. Socialism in appearance is attractive and abundant for everyone, when it works.
The reality we found while cycling Cuba with all it’s amazing people, is that the system is far from providing the bare necessities. Their development is on hold for over half a century -for good or bad-. It would be common sense to say that they are lucky to not pay a mortgage, have -more or less- food, and somehow free education and health care. But at a deeper level we found that this created a strong level of conformism. Under penalty of not obeying they are encouraged to not make an impact. The impact was already done for them by the heroes of the nation and their job was now to keep celebrating the 60sh year old victory.
Trinidad is our final destination, thank you for following our blog! We loved our trip in Cuba and we highly recommend it as a cycling destination!