My favourite stop outside of La Habana though was the little city of Remedios, also in Villa Clara. I had really wanted to go to Trinidad as I have heard this is a real step back in time and nothing has changed in decades. I was initially disappointed that the Creative Escapes tour did not include this but they explained that this was because Trinidad was already getting quite touristy and if we wanted to really step back in time, away from the tourists, then Remedios was the answer. Remedios is easily accessible from Coya Santa Maria so we did this as a day trip while stopping en route to check out some steam trains. The steam train we wanted to catch to Remedios was not working that day so we just walked around the museum instead.
Our time in Remedios was great – despite the fact that it was unbelievably hot. So hot that even locals use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. As a Londoner who is used to a lot of rain, this made me chuckle every time I saw this other more novel use for an umbrella. There were still the old classic cars about but a lot more people in the side streets had horses and carts as well as bicycles. Every part of this little town was a potential photography project in its own right, from the old church in the square with a pregnant statue of the Virgin Mary, to the antiquated pharmacy, the fifties-style coffee shops and chess halls where there are little chess tables so people can gather to play. The best bit for me was the barbers shop which was still going in full swing but it felt like it was straight out of a 1950s movie with its old chairs and aged mirrors.
However, I was conscious at the time I was taking pictures and more so now as I write this blog that although to most tourist, Remedios is a step back to another era, for everyone else living there, this is their normal – not a step back in time but their very present. The most ironic thing, however, was that we found the best WiFi connection in Cuba in the main square in Remedios – apparent by all the youngsters hanging out and chatting/playing games on their mobile phones. Even Remedios hasn’t managed to escape the grip of the World Wide Web!
Cuba no es solo La Habana. Hay muchos lugares interesantes cerca el pais. Visité Viñales – hay muchas granjas de tobaco en este region. Descansé por unos dias en un playa muy hermosa y tranquil en Cayo Santa Maria. Y visité Remedios tambien, una ciudad sin muchas cosas modernas. Remedios, especialmente, era un paraiso para fotografia.