Saturday, 28 January 2017

Santiago de Cuba

Where to start?
How to describe all the sensations, impressions and thoughts I have about our recent 2 week stay in Cuba?

I will start small, just to get started.

However Mr Seasons and I are planning to create our own travel blog.
Preparing our trip to Cuba, so that we could travel independently, took quite a bit of work and research. We feel that our hard won knowledge could be useful to future travellers.

I will use the next few Saturday Snapshot posts to begin this process.

We took several panorama shots in each town and city, so I will start with these.

If you are viewing this on your computer, click on each image to make them larger.

Santiago de Cuba was our first port of call in Cuba.
It took us 2 full days of travelling from Australia to get there!

We decided to start at the south eastern tip of Cuba, then gradually work our way back to Havana.

Our Casa Particular was Casa GG - hosted by Michel and Kyall. 
When we were researching casa's we looked out for ones that mentioned they had someone who spoke English as our Spanish was very very basic.
The added bonus with this casa, was that Michel could cook - I mean really cook!
Dinner and breakfast were a treat every single day.

With everything we had heard about food in Cuba we wondered, at the time, if Michel was setting the bar too high and that we would be disappointed with every other meal in Cuba.

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Jetlag is always a part of such a big trek.

The good thing about jetlag though is we get to see some sunrises - something that almost never happens in our day to day lives back home.

Casa GG has a lovely roof top garden with hammocks. Perfect for catching the cool evening breezes.
They also have another smaller roof top area above the guest room that provides an extensive view of the city. 

You can see that some of the homes are still suffering damage from Hurricane Ike in 2008.


The main area of Santiago is down the hill towards the bay.
An easy 10 - 15 minute stroll.


The 2015 Lonely Planet suggests a great city walk for Santiago.

We did the majority of it on our first day (although the heat & humidity chased us back to our air-conditioned casa by 3pm).

Below is the view of the Tivoli (the old French quarter) from the balcony at Museo de la Lucha Clandestina (Clandestine Struggle). 
The museum itself is housed in a colonial-style building. 
It was the headquarters of Batista's police force during the 50's, until it was burnt down by the revolutionaries, led by Frank Pais in 1956. 
The restored rooms now house a museum celebrating the Movimiento 26 de Julio which details the underground struggle against Batista in the 1950's.


Parque Cespedes (below) commemorates Carlos Manuel de Cespedes, the man who kick-started the Cuban independence movement back in 1868. His statue is in the middle of the plaza.

On the right you can see the beautifully restored Catedral de Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion.
Straight ahead is the Hotel Casa Granda where we stopped on the beautiful balcony to share a greasy pizza for lunch. Apparently Graham Greene also lunched here back in 1914.

However the view over the park made up for the food. I (probably unfairly) blame the iced tea I had here on the tummy bug that savaged me that evening.

The building on the left with the blue details is the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).
Fidel Castro made his first triumphant speech to the Cuban people from this balcony on the 2nd January 1959.


Parque Cespedes is also one of the wi-fi parks in Santiago.
All the locals gather here with their devices & Etecsa cards to log on.
Musicians, wi-fi card touts, tourists and locals all intermingle in this square, creating a happy, vibrant buzz.

The final Santiago panorama (below) was taken from the balcony area in front of the Catedral.

On the right is the Hotel Casa Granda.
Next to it is the Casa de la Cultura Miguel Matamoros which was the San Carlos Club before the revolution. It now houses the Salon de los Espejos for artistic and cultural events.

The glass windowed building on the left is a bank.
While the squat building next to it is the Casa de Diego Velazquez built in 1516-30 for the governor Diego Velaquez. Restored in 1965 it is now the Museo Ambiente Historico Cubano featuring Cuban furniture through the ages.


If you are viewing this on your computer, click on each image to make them larger.
This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

5 comments:

  1. Wi-fi parks! What an interesting concept- I'd love to be in a park where there are all sorts of buskers!

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  2. Wonderful shots! I am looking forward to more images from your trip, and thanks for sharing. Here's MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT POST

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  3. Beautiful panoramic photos. I'm looking forward to your travel blog and all the tips and photos it will contain.
    My Saturday Snapshot post is HERE.

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  4. How absolutely stunning! I went to Argentina last year on a student exchange and while I didn't make it anywhere near Cuba I hope to be able to go in the future.

    - Linking over from Saturday Snapshots

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  5. What a fantastic city! I would go nuts trying to photograph all the wonderful architecture and scenery!

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