Thursday, March 2, 2017

Travel Day: Santiago de Cuba to Camaguey via Bayamo

A church in Camaguey at dusk

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wednesday was a travel day as we went from Santiago de Cuba to Camaguey via Bayamo, a journey of about 200 miles through scenic countryside over roads that made me want to drive. Not that I could have done much spirited driving over narrow, heavily traveled mountain roads. Best to let our masterful driver, Juan Antonio, do that and for me to sit back and enjoy the scenery.

One of the highlights of the journey was the stop at El Cobre sanctuary, more formally Nuestra Senora de la Virgen de la Caridad or Our Lady of Charity.

The sanctuary in the distance

The village from the front steps of the sanctuary. There were, of course, many vendors selling all sorts of merchandise.

The sanctuary was lovely

As were the terra cotta(?) stations of the cross

And the pulpit

The abandoned copper mine that gives the sanctuary its common name, el Cobre

After el Cobre we stopped in Bayamo founded in 1513, Cuba’s second city, the small provincial capital of Granma province. With a population of just over 200,000 it was a brief, quiet interude between the bustle of Santiago de Cuba and Camaguey.

We stopped at the center of the city, Parque Céspedes.

Statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, one of the leaders of the 1868 revolution, a planter who freed his slaves

Along with Céspedes,  Perucho Figueredo composed La Bayamesa, the Cuban national anthem

This image tells a couple of stories, that of the ever present revolutionary slogans reminding Cubans of their history and their struggles. Then in the foreground, the one-legged man reminds us that while Cuba has adequate medical care for all, it cannot offer medical luxuries such as prostheses, largely for lack of capital.
We arrived in Camaguey in late afternoon.
The welcoming forecourt of the Gran Hotel. It looked better than it was. The Gran hotel proved to be everyone's least favorite.

We did have a nice view of the outskirts of this city of more than 300,000

And we looked down not only on Jane and Suresh, to whom I shouted from our balcony

but also a lovely pedestrian walkway
 On Thursday we would begin our exploration of the city of Camaguey and its culture.

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