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Monday, May 21, 2012

Day #7: Cienfuegos

Day 7 – May 20th, 2012

Location: Cienfuegos

Click here to jump to a web album containing 72 high-resolution photos from this day.


After a fairly American-style buffet breakfast at the hotel, we headed out at 9AM for a walking tour of Cienfuegos, the major city in this part of Cuba. Our guide Ludwig explained the different types of architecture, and we watched a local community band perform, visited the historic Union Hotel, were given a tour of the 19th century landmark Teatro Tomas Terry, and had several hours to wander around and appreciate the beauty and people of this Spanish-founded city:

We boarded the bus and returned to Punta Gorda, the area near our hotel. We had lunch at an amazing palace-turned-restaurant called Palacia De Valle:

Although the setting was incredible, the food was our usual Cuban fare: salad of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and chopped cabbage, canned vegetables, rice (always served in an upside-down-bowl shape) and the usual choice of “chicken, fish, or pork.” The latter phrase has become the unofficial motto of the trip due to its unwavering appearance at every meal!

We then boarded our bus for a long 5-hour drive back to Havana:

It was actually more interesting than this photo suggests, as we took turns sitting in the jump seat at the front of the bus. It affords nearly panoramic views of the countryside and small towns as we drove through. I really liked that seat.

We checked into the Habana Paseo Hotel, the same one we had stayed in the first night we arrived. We had dinner at that hotel (same meal, pretty much, but this one included, by special request, a big bowl of black beans). Some students visited a dance party occurring at the hotel, while a group of us went to the historic Zorro y Cuervo Jazz Club and enjoyed an all-woman jazz octet:

The music was great. In fact, this was a highlight of the trip for some of us. Such wonderfully happy Cuban music.

Most people turned in fairly early for our last night in Havana. All is well!

Thanks for reading,

Ejs

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