|Friday 31 January 2014
Met up with a couple of people over breakfast and the rest in the lobby. In fact, there are two groups, mine and a cycling one which sounds more fun. There are several couples and four singles – all women but as yet I don’t really know much about anyone.
We have a long day in order to get to the south passing through agriculture, marsh and tobacco areas.
There were two main stops; one for a buffet lunch – very good – in a restaurant built in the traditional Indian style to be more hurricane resistant. They are triangular pieces slatted in up and down triangular roof shapes with windows that allow air to pass through. The buffet lunch was very good with a marrow and salad.
The second stop was just outside Santa Clara which is the town where a major battle marked the turning point in the revolution and here we found Che’s mausoleum. This place is held in the greatest respect – we could take in nothing with us, we had three minutes inside and we couldn’t speak!!! One the walls are individual plaques showing faces and names of the revolutionaries, and a central tiled area with an eternal flame where Che’s remains are. It was quite cold inside so three minutes was too long. Then you pass through to the museum where Che’s bits and pieces are gathered together from pens to guns; there are photos of him from a baby to old man and as a rebel in action and a few letters and documents. It’s situated in the Revolution Square (every city must have one of these) with raised terraces across from the mausoleum where they make speeches.
We got to our hotel in Sancti Spiritus a small and well-preserved colonial town. We had time to have a walk about and visited a family’s home which they are in the process of building – brick by slow brick. They sell small items of food and pirate cd’s to earn money which they can then buy a bag of cement with. The kitchen is done and a small bed is inside it until they complete another room. This is how they manage to get a good house – slowly and absorbing lifetimes.
I declined the dinner stop having eaten lunch and with nuts and tea in my room. I didn’t feel like a lengthy evening in a large group when I just want to shower and go to bed. Another woman declined also, but I think I am already marked out as being independent!