Sunday, 23 November 2014

SAN JUAN DE LOS REMEDIOS PART I

TRINIDAD TO REMEDIOS

A blue Chevrolet arrived at the Casa in Trinidad to collect us for our journey to San Juan De Los Remedios.  It was a Friday afternoon, the 5 of us piled into the classic Cuban car excited about our weekend trip away from Trinidad.  The shiny blue Chevrolet took us on our journey from the province of Santi Spiritus to Villa Clara, leaving behind the Sierra Escambray Mountains, a view which always makes me feel happy, like a sign, letting me know that I am home.  

We headed past the Valle de los Ingenios and the Manaca-Iznaga Tower.  After cruising through the town of Santi Spiritus we joined the national motorway for a short distance before turning off towards Placetas.  The countryside from the motorway to Remedios was luscious, colourful with simple houses and huge banana trees in the gardens; in the distance you could catch a glimpse of the ocean.

Surprisingly the journey from Trinidad to Remedios only took around 2.5 hours. Looking back now, I couldn’t believe that it had once taken me all day to drive from Trinidad to Caibarien; a mere 7 km from Remedios.  On that occasion, my friend and I had hired a car so we decided to drive across the Sierra Escambray mountains, enjoying the breath taking views along the way, as well as stop off at Santa Clara; to visit the Che Guevara Mausoleum and the Tren Blindado.


Trinidad
Sierra Escambray Viewpoint Cuba
Things to do in Santa Clara
Tren Blindado Santa Clara Cuba

Things to do in Santa Clara
Che Guevara Monument Santa Clara Cuba
As we arrived into Remedios, we all curiously took a look around our new environment, instantly making comparisons between Trinidad and Remedios inside our minds. Gustavo had arranged for us to stay at the Balcony Hostal in Remedios.  Jose Manuel welcomed us into his casa, like long lost family.  Gustavo and Jose Manuel, over the years building their friendship over the phone, sending tourists from one casa to another, had become instant long term friends.  Today was the day that they finally met for the first time in person.

SAN JUAN DE LOS REMEDIES – THE CRADLE OF PARRANDAS

We climbed the steep steps to the Casa, Jose Manuel keen to show us around and make us feel at home.  All looking forward to see the true colours of Remedios, we set out on a mini walking tour, it felt good to stretch our legs and be in the company of Jose Manual. 

Our enthusiastic and willing guide, Jose Manuel shared with us his wealth of knowledge of Remedios and the province of Villa Clara.  He walked us to a hidden museum slightly out of town, he showed us around the small town of Remedios and introduced us to his family and friends.  

Remedios may seem like a small and tranquil town, but it is the only town in Cuba to have 2 cathedrals in the main plaza.  In the evening the square comes to life, it’s the place to be for all the locals and is surrounded by grand buildings all destined to be renovated and turned into hotels, bringing new life into this friendly and relaxed town. Culturally it has lots to offer, on Saturday night a local Trova band from Remedios played in the main square where a local crowd gathered to enjoy the melodic music.

Remedios is also famous for its cultural events hosted around the year:
  • 1-7th March – Cultural week
  • 24th June – Festival of San Juan
  • August – carnival
  • 24th December - The Parrandas
Part II to follow soon – our trip to Cayo Santo Maria….


Cuban Classic Car
Trinidad to Remedios in a Blue Chevrolet
Villa Joel Museum Remedios
Museum in Remedios

San Juan de los Remedios
Remedios

San Juan de los Remedios
Remedios

Villa Clara Cuba
Casa Remedios

San Juan de los Remedios
Museum Remedios

San Juan de los Remedios
Musuem Remedios

San Juan de los Remedios
Museum Zoo - Remedios

Villa Clara Cuba
Remedios

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