Trinidad Cuba Valley de los Ingenios

On the bus and ready for lunch.  I, Zeb the duck, on my way to Hacienda de Manaca Iznaga for lunch.

Lunch will be here.  What is a trapiche???

Lunch will be here. What is a trapiche???

Riding through the country and watching the lush vegetation, I learn that this was once a center of sugar cane production.  In the early 19th century hundreds of French refugees fled Haiti and set up about 50 small sugar mills in this Valley de los Ingenios.  Soon this region produced a third of Cuba’s sugar.

Here we are, ready for lunch.  We sat outside near the gardens.

I love eating outside

I love eating outside

A very beautiful and peaceful setting.  While we waited for our food, these musicians entertained us.

Cuban music for us while dining.  Wow!

Cuban music for us while dining. Wow!

It was very nice.

After our delicious lunch we inspected this trapiche.

Trapiche used here here ago

Trapiche used here here ago

The trapiche was used to extract juice from sugar cane.  The force or power for this tapiche was often provided by animals, but not by ducks.

We ate outside, enjoying the fresh air, but as we walked through the restaurant, I loved these table decorations.

I am on the table with these ladies

I am on the table with these ladies

So much a part of a vacation experience.

Some vacation memories

Some vacation memories

I am a very happy duck today.

This tower was used during the sugar cane plantation days.  At the top is my friend Barbara.

Barbara is way up there

Barbara is way up there

She climbed all the way to the top.  Wow Barbara!  These friendly people were selling craft items

Crafts available here

Crafts available here

and linens.

Beautiful linens

Beautiful linens

They were beautiful.  I like to see all the items for sale.

Time to get back on the bus now.  We are going to visit Casa del Alfarero, a pottery house.  The Santander Family founded this pottery house and they have produced pottery here for generations.  We love family businesses.

Here the gentleman shows how to make pottery.

Casa del Alfarero pottery house

Casa del Alfarero pottery house

He makes it look so easy.  Now he asks if anyone else has ever made pottery.  Here is my friend Susan.

My friend Susan is very talented.

My friend Susan is very talented.

She is making pottery.  She is very good.

There are many beautiful pieces of pottery to see and purchase.  Mom bought this mask and ashtray with a cigar.

Pottery mask and ashtray with a cigar.  So Cuban

Pottery mask and ashtray with a cigar. So Cuban

Pottery must be packed in checked luggage to go home, so we bought small items.  More about cigars later, when we visit the cigar factory and store.

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Trinidad, Cuba Part II with Zeb the Duck

Last time I, Zeb the Duck, shared some scenes in Trinidad, Cuba as we strolled through the streets.  I saw so much.  These photos are also in Trinidad.  Diego Velázquez de Cuellar founded Trinidad in 1514, but in 1518 Hernan Cortes passed through recruiting mercenaries for his expedition to Mexico.  The town almost disappeared.

Here I am on a horse cart.

Zeb and Channel on horse cart

Zeb and Channel on horse cart

My friend, Channel the bear, is with me.

These street musicians entertained us.  Mom and other humans gave them some money.

Musicians on the street

Musicians on the street

We liked them.

At Las Terrazas, near Havana, we saw a food ration store.  If people have money, they can purchase additional food in stores like this.

People can buy food; not this duck

People can buy food; not this duck

In the streets we saw many horses, some of them with carts.  This horse was working with the men to repair the road.

Always work to do

Always work to do

The famous plaza in Trinidad is Plaza Mayor.  This church is by the plaza.

Near Plaza Mayor

Near Plaza Mayor

You can see that other buildings are being restored.  In 1988 Trinidad was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

These stairs are also near Plaza Mayor.

Near Plaza Mayor

Near Plaza Mayor

We returned here one evening to listen to music.  More about that later.

This is a very nice house and I liked the old car in the driveway.

Nice car

Nice car

Unfortunately this street market did not have all the venders at this time.

Street market in Trinidad

Street market in Trinidad

I do like markets.

This elementary school was near us and the teachers and children were very friendly.

Kids in school in Trinidad

Kids in school in Trinidad

Before leaving for lunch, we gave them school supplies we brought from the U.S.

In Cuba, Casas Particulares are similar to our bed and breakfasts.  We visited this Casa Particular.  Maria del Carmen Reyes was the hostess.  She and her husband rent to visitors.  He is the horse whisperer.  Horses are very important to Cuba, and he teaches people how to care for and feed them.  His horse is very well behaved and he brought the horse in the house to meet us.

Horse in the house

Horse in the house

We walked around the house and out to the patio.

I am on the stairs

I am on the stairs

There are lots of rooms for his family and for visitors.   We were there in December,

Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas or Feliz Navidad with Zeb and Channel

so we enjoyed his Christmas tree.

We are going to Hacienda de Manaca Iznaga for lunch.  I will tell you about that next time.  Visit me again at ColoradoTravelingDucks.com

Snow Sculptures at Breckenridge Colorado

We went to Breckenridge.  I, Zeb Duck and Soapy Smith Duck went with my mom to Breckenridge.  They have international snow sculpture championships here.  Saturday, January 25, 2014 the sculptures were finished and judged.  We went Sunday, January 26, 2014 to see them.

Here we are in Breckenridge.

In Breckenridge Colorado

In Breckenridge Colorado

Budweiser sponsors this competition and they have a great snow sculpture featuring a Clydesdale horse and Spuds Mackenzie, the dog.

Budweiser snow sculpture with Spuds

Budweiser snow sculpture with Spuds

This year 16 teams from 14 countries, including the United States, were scheduled to compete.  One team withdrew due to illness.  Here are a few photos of the finished work.

Team Lithuania.  "Once upon a time here was a forest…"

Team Lithuania. “Once upon a time here was a forest…”

Team France.  "Dark Side of the Moon"

Team France. “Dark Side of the Moon”

Team Germany.  "Apecheta The source where the flow begins"

Team Germany. “Apecheta The source where the flow begins”

Thursday, January 16, we went to Breckenridge to see them make the snow blocks.  The blocks of snow are 10’ x 10’ and 12’ tall.  They weigh 20 tons each.  Huge!!

20 ton snow block and 2 small ducks

20 ton snow block and 2 small ducks

Breckenridge ski area makes snow.  The ski area makes extra snow that is trucked to the snow sculpting contest area.  Snow is put into frames, stomped on for packing

Humans stomping on snow in wooden frame to pack it hard

Humans stomping on snow in wooden frame to pack it hard

and placed in the sculpting position.

Snow blocks ready for the artists

Snow blocks ready for the artists

Because this is made snow, the consistency is the same throughout the block.  That is important for the artists.

Here are more finished sculptures.

Team Great Britain  "The Somerset Hunky Punks"

Team Great Britain “The Somerset Hunky Punks”

Team USA Colorado.  "Must be using the wrong bait

Team USA Colorado. “Must be using the wrong bait

Team USA Colorado.  Maybe we are the bait

Team USA Colorado. Maybe we are the bait

The artists have only 65 hours to complete the masterpiece and no power tools are used.  Some teams use potato peelers and some used cookie cutters for finishing touches.

This is the first place entry.

Winter Fun is the winner in 2014

Winter Fun is the winner in 2014

Team USA from Breckenridge, Colorado created this.  It was inspired by the simple pleasure of winter.

Sledding is fun

Sledding is fun

Team Breck competes internationally and is recognized as one of the best in the world.

Yesterday we enjoyed warm sunny weather in Breckenridge; so if you want to see these sculptures, go today.  They will melt soon.

Trinidad, Cuba with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck and my group of humans arrived in Trinidad, Cuba.  Lonely Planet describes Trinidad as a one of a kind, perfectly preserved Spanish colonial settlement, where the clocks stopped ticking in 1850 and, apart from tourists, have yet to restart.

I am not sure about all that, but I have never seen this street sign anywhere else.

Horse and cart crossing

Horse and cart crossing

Our first morning in Trinidad we walked through town.  Here are some of our observations.  This is the reason for the horse cart crossing sign.

Horse and cart.  I like it!

Horse and cart. I like it!

People on cobblestone streets doing daily chores.

Daily chores

Daily chores

These cakes look yummy.

Look so yummy

Look so yummy

Decorated and wrapped, but mom didn’t buy one for us.

I saw everything while wandering these streets.

Busy street

Busy street

Here are cars, bikes, a horse and people all mingling together.  The mountains as a backdrop contribute to Trinidad’s beauty.

Trinidad has hotels, casa particulares, and hostals.  Hostal Colina is bright and has flowering trees.  My friend, Channel, the cutest bear, and I are enjoying the view from the hostal.

Zeb and Channel at Hostal Colina

Zeb and Channel at Hostal Colina

This man is selling vegetables,

Selling vegetables

Selling vegetables

but doesn’t seem to have many customers at this moment.

This pottery store looks nice.

Pottery store

Pottery store

This little girl is my friend.

Our new friends

Our new friends

Mom and I brought small balls and candy to give as presents.  This little girl’s mom said she could have the blue ball in her hand.  In her other hand she has strawberry candy and butterscotch candy.  Mom said we could only bring candy that was individually wrapped.

Here is an old car used as a taxi

Old cars run well as taxi

Old cars run well as taxi

and here is one of the new taxis.

New taxi.

New taxi.

There is so much to see in Trinidad, so I will show you more next time.  We hope you like Trinidad as much as we do.  See you soon.

Sancti Spiritus Cuba with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, wandered around Sancti Spiritus, Cuba on a sunny afternoon.   Sancti Spiritus is one of 7 cities founded by the Spanish in 1514.   Today I will show you pictures of the town.

I love this street.  The street tiles are beautiful.

Street in Sancti Spiritus

Street in Sancti Spiritus

Old buildings are so sturdy and majestic.

Love this building

Love this building

This statue is in Parque Serafin Sanchez.

Statue in park

Statue in park

The park was named after a local hero in the war for independence.

This horse with a cart is patiently waiting for the driver.

Very patient horse

Very patient horse

Love the stability of the building.

Old building

Old building

Saw this adorable dog.

So adorable

So adorable

Looks just like a dog that lives with JB Duck.

This is one of many older cars and they all run!!

Great mechanics in Cuba

Great mechanics in Cuba

Cuba loves Che Guevara

Che is everywhere in Cuba

Che is everywhere in Cuba

Such detail on this old iron work.

Detailed iron work

Detailed iron work

Many metal statues in Sancti Spiritus.

I love these statues

I love these statues

Another statue

Another statue on a clock

This is my last statue in Sancti Spiritus

This is my last statue in Sancti Spiritus

Zeb's new best friend

Zeb’s new best friend

I like my new best friend!  And I like Sancti Spiritus.  Be one of a few tourists that learn about this town.  It is really great.

Santa Clara, Cuba with Zeb the Duck

Leaving Havana, Santos drives us along the coast.  As you can see, there is not much traffic.

Leaving Havana

Leaving Havana

We are going to Santa Clara.  In Santa Clara, founded in 1689, we will visit the Mausoleum and monument of Che Guevara.  We will enjoy a buffet lunch and then attend a performance by the children.

The remains of Ernesto “Che” Guevara and some of his fellow combatants were brought to Cuba, from Bolivia, and are in the mausoleum.

Mausoleum of Che Guevara

Mausoleum of Che Guevara

Also in this complex is a tribute to Che with his possessions and a photographic chronicle of his life.

The mausoleum complex contains a 22 foot bronze statue of Che

Che 22 feet above ground

Che 22 feet above ground

and various political billboards.

Fidel says "We want to be like Che"

Fidel says “We want to be like Che”

Chavez of Venezuela is our best friend

Chavez of Venezuela is our best friend

Che was killed in Bolivia in 1967, but October 17, 1997 his remains were brought to Cuba and he was buried here with full military honors.  This ceremony was witnesses by hundreds of thousands of Cubans, who enjoyed the singing of school children, a speech by Fidel Castro that was followed by a cannon salute.

Che’s mausoleum is in Santa Clara as a remembrance of Che’s troops taking Santa Clara December 31, 1958, hours before Fulgencio Batista left Cuba.

Taxis in street of Santa Clara

Taxis in street of Santa Clara

We, humans and Duck, enjoyed a buffet lunch in Santa Clara at Los Caneyes Hotel.

Good meat dish

Good meat dish

The music was nice,

the food was tasty

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables

Chocolate dessert!

Chocolate dessert!

and the waiters were friendly.

A new friend

A new friend

I like new friends

I like new friends

That is a wonderful combination!

After lunch we were entertained by the children of Compania Teatral Infantel, the Children’s Theater Company.

Almost ready

Almost ready

Many talented childdren

Many talented children

Leaving the theater, I liked seeing the kids in this cart.

Outside the theater, kids in cart by plaza.  Cobblestone street

Outside the theater, kids in cart by plaza. Cobblestone street

The cobblestone street and the plaza are very nice.  We like Santa Clara.

Fusterlandia near Havana, Cuba

Near Havana, Cuba we were speechless at Fusterlandia.  This is the home of Jose Rodriguez Fuster,

Entrance to Fusterlandia

Entrance to Fusterlandia

affectionately referred to as Fuster.  Fuster, a Cuban from a small fishing village, is an artist.

About 30 years ago Fuster started remaking his home and his neighborhood.

First view entering Fusterlandia

First view entering Fusterlandia

He spent time in Europe and was inspired by Gaudi in Barcelona (La Familia Sagrada and Casa Batllo) and by Brancusi in Romania.  I want to share some photos of Fusterlandia with you.

Looking down at pool

Looking down at pool

Big guy

Big guy

What a clock

What a clock

All this artwork exhausts me.  I am just a little duck

All this artwork exhausts me. I am just a little duck

According to www.havana-cultura.com more than 80 neighbors have allowed Fuster to use their homes as his canvas.

He puts his art everywhere

He puts his art everywhere

This is an unforgettable neighborhood.

Mom and I saw some little boys with their moms.  We asked the moms if we could give them small high bounce balls and butterscotch candy.  Moms said yes and the boys were happy.  One of our friends had a baseball to give the boys.  Cuban people love baseball.  Making people happy  is fun!

Fuster sells much of his work and much of that money he puts back into the neighborhood.

Fuster's art throughout his neighborhood

Fuster’s art throughout his neighborhood

We were amazed and really liked Fusterlandia.  We hope you will visit Fusterlandia when you are in Havana.  It is really a place to see.