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Bullet holes from those events are still visible in the main stairway at the museum entrance. March 17, The courtyard of the Revolution Museum once the Presidential Palace constructed between and and used by a string of Cuban presidents, culminating in Fulgencio Batista. March 17, Doorway to our guesthouse, Casa Obrapia in Old Town Havana with Fran, my Intrepid tour mate, ringing the bell and waiting for the door to unlock.

This guesthouse, especially from the outside was deceiving because up the marble staircase and inside the building were several bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, a living room area and an upstairs with more rooms and an outdoor dining rooftop.


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Entering through the front door is a narrow hallway with 20 marble stairs leading to this open and airy space with four guest bedrooms on the first floor, including mine 4, an office area towards the rear and an open high-ceiling lounge area. March 17, My room at Casa Obrapia in Havana, Cuba, with my own bathroom, albeit small, in my bedroom.

March 17, Our last morning in Havana…views from the rooftop of my guesthouse Casa Obrapia. Next stop Vinales. March 18, Another neighbor in Fusterlandia whose home was decorated in colorful mosaics by artist Jose Fuster whose work has created quite a bit of attention for the community.

Because it is so close to Havana, tourists visit the area and many of the homeowners have little businesses, like this man, selling coconut water in a cart in front of his home. March 18, A close-up of the the art and ceramics on the Great Wall of Fusterlandia created by Fuster just outside of Havana. March 18, The gateway to the home of artist Jose Fuster who created the colorful and lively mosaics seen both at his home and throughout the community, fondly called Fusterlandia, just outside of Havana.

March 18, A close-up of the rooster at the gateway to the home of artist Jose Fuster who created the colorful and lively mosaics seen both at his home and throughout the community dubbed Fusterlandia, just outside of Havana. March 18, Inside the gated home of artist Jose Fuster are his colorful and lively mosaic walls and sculptures. His home and community area are known as Fusterlandia and is located just outside of Havana. March 18, At a corner of the Fusterlandia community, a colorful mosaic wonderland created by artist Jose Fuster just outside of Havana, is this mosaic of Commander Hugo Chavez, considered as a friend.

March 18, Our Intrepid Travel tour bus, Transtur with our driver, Mario, waiting patiently for our return from Fusterlandia so that we can move on to our next stop Las Terrazas. March 18, Las Terrazas became a hippies-led environmental movement concerned about the ecological cost of 19th century French coffee plantations and heavy deforestation. March 18, The distinctive and cute blue and white homes that dot the terraces at Las Terrazas in Cuba. The terraces were originally built to avoid erosion Las Terrazas means terraces in Spanish. All of the terraces spread away from the large lake in the center of the town.

March 18, Climbing the terraces to where the slaves would grind the coffee beans at Las Terrazas in Cuba.


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This is the restored ruins of the Buenavista Coffee Plantation built in by French refugees from Haiti. These rugged hills at the time had hundreds of slaves who toiled and lived on the terraces. March 18, The former coffee plantation in Las Terrazas was established by the French more than two centuries ago in Cuba. The is the only plantation built on the crest of a mountain. March 18, The coffee drying platforms of the former coffee plantation at Las Terrazas in Cuba where slaves would pick the coffee beans by hand and dry them on these concrete slab circles.

Some 8 million trees were planted one by one in an effort to re-forest the area. March 18, Gorgeous and unusual floral can be found throughout Las Terrazas in Cuba. March 18, Part of the creek at Las Terrazas in Cuba. The fried chips are actually fried tarot root and they are delicious. This is the view of the farm with the park and the limestone mogoto hills in the distance. March 18, he Organic Farm called Paradise at the National Park in Vinales, Cuba, where our group ate an amazing dinner where most of the items, including the roasted pig, are grown on this farm.

March 18, This roasted pig was part of our dinner of fresh vegetables, rice and beans at the at the Organic Farm called Paradise at the National Park in Vinales, Cuba.

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But we had enough of good weather to tour the farming area which was just a short walking distance from the town. Vinales, Cuba, has a small town village feel to it even though it has dozens of restaurants, shops, banks and a major square.

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The tobacco fields, drying house and the limestone mogoto hills in the distance. March 19, A close up of the morning glory with a few rain drops to wake it up in Vinales, Cuba. Working the farms, without machinery, is back breaking work and most of the farmers are older because young people work in town where they can make more money and not have to work quite as hard in the tourism industry. March 19, Our Vinales farmland guide, Alexis, introducing us to year-old tobacco farmer, Antonio, who still makes his living off the Vinales, Cuba, farmlands.

March 19, The home of our Vinales farmer, Antonio. March 19, Inside the home of our Vinales farmer, Antonio. March 19, Greeting us inside the tobacco curing barn and holding a tobacco plant is Rolando, a tobacco farmer in Vinales, Cuba. March 19, No machines are used in the tobacco growing process, which means crops are picked by hand and fields are plowed with oxen.

The leaves are then hung in special curing barns, where they dry for about a month, turning a toasty brown color. March 19, Rolando, the tobacco farmer in Vinales, Cuba, is demonstrating how he rolls his cuban cigars. Then I thought I might have a problem getting them into the U. March 19, Our group stopped at the Cafeteria Fernando in the Vinales, Cuba, farmlands to get a refresher fruit drink.

March 19, Our group being served the various fruit drinks or Pina Colada drinks at the the Cafeteria Fernando in the Vinales, Cuba, farmlands. March 19, The Vinales people lining up at the Mercado, the grocery store, to buy their basic products with their food ration books. The allotment allows them to purchase the basics, sugar, coffee, beans, rice, etc. March 19, The Intrepid tour group of 13 was just too big to stay in one guesthouse in Vinales, Cuba, so we were disbursed in groups of two or three into a variety of guests houses.

This, the Villa Kati, became my home, with Diya, as our host for the two nights our group stayed in Vinales. March 18, My guesthouse room in Vinales, Cuba, at Villa Kati, had two beds, this one and a double bed with an air conditioning until and my own private bathroom.

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March 18, My private bathroom, although small, was clean and in my room at the Villa Kati guesthouse I stayed in Vinales, Cuba. March 18, Cienfuegos Day 5 of Cuba, Wednesday, March 20 — The drive of seven hours, our longest of the tour, to reach Cienfuegos for a night stay. A young Cuban farmer with his ox and wagon on our way to Cienfuegos, Cuba. Machinery to plow is too expensive so farmers still rely on the ox and cows to help plow the fields and even horses and carts to provide them with transportation. Originally the bridges were meant to connect the villages, but now they are used by hitchhikers.

Hitchhiking is legal in Cuba and is a good way for locals to get around. Government vehicles are required to pick up and transport people but sometimes these vehicles can be few and far between so locals will pay a few pesos to other locals to transport them to their destinations. March 20, A beautiful Cuban rainbow as seen from our bus ride to Cienfuegos. March 20, Inside our very comfortable and air conditioned Transtur bus. Plus toilet paper is definitely a premium in Cuba.

From the information I read, the food was supposed to be bland and with little variety. March 20, This restaurant, Pio Cua, is considered one of a few good restaurants on the way to Cienfuegos, Cuba, provided us with a buffet of meats, rice, soup, fruits and desserts. Here, our Intrepid Travel guide, Maggie, is interpreting for Yandel, the cultural project director, who is explaining that Korimakao was founded in to bring theatre, music, and dancing to remote areas of Cuba.

At Korimakao, which was founded in , artists, dancers and musicians are both students and paid professionals who bring theater, music and dancing to remote areas of Cuba.

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These young people are selected from around Cuba for their artistic talents, trained, paid and get to live on the campus. March 20, There are no commercial billboards, at least none that I saw, as we traveled throughout Cuba. The attack was an utter failure. This was an opportunity, for those of us who wanted to take a dip in the beach to do so.

March 20, Entering Cienfuegos, Cuba, we hit upon this unusual building, the Palacio de Valle, currently an upscale hotel and restaurant. It was built by an Italian architect, reminiscent of Moorish architecture, from to With a viewpoint rooftop and delicious lemonade, that packed a punch, it was a nice place to enjoy Cienfuegos from a completely different architectural style and from up high. As usual, I had my own, refrigerator and for the second time…a television, which I did not watch.

Plus the guesthouse had a front porch and a private back porch where breakfast was served.

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March 20, Entrance to the Bodega down the street from our guesthouse in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Each neighborhood has a Bodega that provides basic products such as sugar, coffee, rice, etc. To help the people, who were pretty much starving, the government provided a ration book for purchasing inexpensive staples. March 21, Inside the Bodega in Cienfuegos where the locals use their ration books to buy staples such as sugar, coffee, rice, etc. March 21, Our Intrepid Travel guide, Maggie, showing us the ration book used by the locals to purchase staples such as coffee, rice, beans, etc.

March 21, Walking through a neighborhood in Cienfuegos, Cuba.

The mulatto singer — Cuban of African, the Congo and Spanish descent — taught himself how to play the guitar. Along the boulevard are a number of shops and restaurants that are both government owned and privately owned. March 21, This clothing shop along the San Fernando boulevard in Cienfuegos, Cuba, is government owned. March 21, This pricey venue is the government owned and refurbished Union Hotel built in along the San Fernando boulevard in Cienfuegos, Cuba.

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He was the most famous writer in the Spanish language and was a prominent journalist in the Americas. He is a revolutionary martyr and is also the person who inspired Fidel Castro. March 21, Our Intrepid Travel guide, Maggie, standing at the spot where in Cienfuegos, Cuba, was founded by 40 different affluent white French families who came came to settle in Cuba. March 21, Trinidad Days 6 and 7 of Cuba, Thursday, March 21 and Friday, March 22 — Exploring the beautiful and colorful colonial city of Trinidad with its very rugged cobblestoned streets.


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A previous 17th-century church was destroyed during the 19th century by a cyclone which damaged a great many buildings in Trinidad. The small sloping Plaza Mayor has gardens on a raised platform, with paths dividing it in quarters fenced off by white wrought-iron fences. Cobbled streets surround the square, separating it from the surrounding buildings. Wrought-iron lamp-posts, statues of English greyhounds, and columns with large terra-cotta finials decorate the plaza.

The Church of the Holy Trinity to the left and the 18th century mansion formerly owned by Sanchez Iznaga that is now the Museo de Arquitectura. Our Intrepid Travel guide, Maggie, explained that the blue and white altar pays homage to Yemaya, a goddess of the sea. Many Cubans still call themselves Catholics but practice Santeria at home, some with sacred African images painted on the backs of saints.