We were chilling, looking at the dark waves on the Malecón. It was evening, the cars were passing slowly on the old road, and the street was full of cheerful people in small or large groups, talking loudly. It was just on my birthday, I had been having a wonderful day, considering that I was in Cuba. For several days I made some friends: Beau-a girl from Austria, Pablo-a lawyer from Ecuador, Gabriel-a former policeman from South Korea, and Jordan – an Algerian guy living in London. So, as you might say, it was a happy band.
In addition to the problems of that day, my skin got burned because I had forgotten the sunscreen, the guys suggested I should go to Trinidad de Cuba, one of the oldest cities on the island, protected by UNESCO. The trip was about to be of five hours, and at noon, I didn’t even know where we were supposed to go. I didn’t want to go, I don’t know why I just wanted to stay in Havana. I could not resist their request though, and after a few original mojitos, I finally said “YES”.
In the morning we woke up early, drank coffee, and set off on the road, at eleven o’clock, all five of us in a blue 1945 Ford. And I was feeling again like I’m in a movie, the sofas were large and spacious. The road until there was smooth, with many beaches, and plenty of palm trees larger or smaller on each side of the road; lucky that Jordan had the speaker with him, and the songs on the phone (the internet is not so handy in Cuba, only in public spaces, such as parks or markets, or in different institutions or hotels, available for a fee, such an internet card). I should mention once again that I didn’t know where we were going to go, not even how the city looked, but in the end, I was so grateful for taking the decision of going.
When I entered the city, everything looked like a fairytale from other times. When we passed through the city gate, cobbled roads led to narrow streets, colorful houses, larger and smaller, one linked to the other, with high arches and large windows, covered by dark wooden shutters, wide open, with the curtains waving in the wind. In the warm atmosphere, the colonial architecture, carriages with sturdy and beautiful horses, cheerful and simple people, everything was looking so peaceful.
The house where we were supposed to stay was a large house, on the first floor, with a magnificent courtyard, fenced by large, high walls, painted in yellow and white; it could look like a vacation house of Simon Bolivar in Granada. The surroundings of the city were beautiful, and vibrant in their simplicity; it was somehow stopped in time, but it had retained the most beautiful habits of the life lived for the purpose of what it once was, long before the modernization and negativity of our era. On the narrow streets, the voices and instruments of cheerful people resounded calm and energetic, and the melody of the salsa was transporting you to other times. In a way, the time seemed to have stopped.
We went to visit everything that we could, but from this point of view, the whole city was a huge museum. I went downtown, to Plaza Mayor, where the palm trees park was surrounded by beauty and smiling roofs; I visited the History Museum, and as you entered you felt surrounded by centuries of events, you could feel the thirst for knowledge, the artifacts were the living and tangible evidence of the history.
I climbed up, to the highest floor of the tower, from where the forests of Trinidad were visible and in the distance the mountains of the beloved Cuba of Che Guevarra. While looking down, towards the happy houses, I was feeling a sense of gratitude, gratitude for the Universe, for life, for the place where I was at. I remember I had tears in my eyes, and my heart was full, full, and happy.
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