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February 2 — Santa Clara to Remedios and Sancti Spiritus

Yesterday (Thursday, Feb 1) we cycled from Santa Clara to Remedios. On the way out of Santa Clara, we passed a remarkable statue of Che Guevara, in front of the regional Communist Party headquarters. It is known as Che de los Ninos — Che of the Children — by the Spanish sculptor Casto Solano Marroyo.

It's a powerful image, made both interesting and puzzling by the fact that here and there on the statue are tiny images, apparently meant to represent incidents in Che's life or aspects of his character. The figure riding a goat, on Che's right shoulder is an example, and a puzzle, since we've seen conflicting accounts of what it means. On his right shirt pocket is a drawing of Don Quixote. The child, it is generally agreed, represents the young revolution in Che's care. Che's hands on the statue may be gnarled as a reminder that his killers in Bolivia cut the hands off his corpse to make it more difficult to identify the body.


On the road: The woman on the horse cart below turns to look at Barbara, no doubt thinking, "What the hell was that?"

Remedios is one of Cuba's oldest cities, founded by Spanish settlers in the early 1500s. It is not as famous or as lovingly restored as Trinidad, but it has similar qualities. Below is the church of San Juan Batista, on the central plaza.

The center of Remedios is a national historic site, and some restoration work is underway. We're not certain if the young men are workers taking a break, or just young men hanging out!

Right, a street scene in the old city. The casa particular in which we stayed, Hostal Casa Colonial, is just a block or so away.

Angelito had booked us into a decent casa on the plaza of Remedios, but Barbara was not pleased because the room was dark. The owner kindly showed us to a couple of other nearby places, and the one we chose was wonderful. Hostal Casa Colonial, on Calle Alejandro del Rio, one block off the plaza. The casa itself was very nice indeed, not quite as fantastic as Florida Centro in Santa Clara, but another fine, old colonial building. The best part, though, was the owners, Miguel Angel Perez and his wife Odalys Ramos. They were so kind! Odalys, in particular, was delightful, helpful in so many ways, especially with our clothes-washing, and with tracking down a telephone number for friends near Trinidad. (She made many calls, both in the evening and next morning, a regular detective!) Below: The formal sitting room in Casa Colonial; the couryard outside our rooms; with Miguel and Odalys


This morning we cycled from Remedios to Sancti Spiritus. The cycling was never difficult, but the distance was just under 50 miles, and it was getting hot before we arrived in Sancti Spiritus around 3 p.m. The fumes from old trucks and cars seemed to bother me (Wally) more than they did 10+ years ago.

Once we arrived in Sancti Spiritus, it took us a while to find the casa that Angelito had booked for us — Hostal el Paraiso. Not quite paradise, in truth, but the owner, Hector Luis Fiallo, seemed to be a good guy. Dinner was just ok, breakfast was excellent, the bill was a little higher than usual, but altogether a reasonable choice. (About the bill — how exorbitant is it, really, that Barbara and I paid the equivalent of $63 U.S. for a nice room, full dinner for two, three or four cold beers, juice, bottled water, and a good breakfast for two?)

In late afternoon we walked around the central area of Sancti Spiritus for the first time. (When we were here 10 or 11 years ago, we pedaled through without exploring at all.) There are attractive pedestrian streets and some spectacular colonial buildings in Sancti Spiritus.

One of several pedestrian streets in downtown Sancti Spiritus


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