|Palacio de Valle, Cienfuegos|
|Three photos of Palacio de Valle (photo above: Lynelle House)|
|The main avenue, Cienfuegos|
Cienfuegos is considered to be the most elegant of Cuban cities, often referred to as Cuba's Pearl of the South. Settled by French colonisers, rather than Spanish, the elegant 19th century buildings in the heart of the city lend it a sophisticated 'mini-Paris' feel. It is the most affluent city in Cuba with a UNESCO World Heritage listing, which provides funding to help preserve the city, and it also has income derived from several important industries located around the bay. Cienfuegos has an attractive waterfront edged with some grand pre revolutionary mansions and a relaxed seaside feel. It is also the only place we saw anything remotely resembling a shopping street as we know it, however thankfully devoid of chain stores. I am sure there are other shopping streets in Cuba but we never saw them. The pleasant, shady, leafy avenue running through the centre of town and down to the magnificent Parque Jose Marti was a great place to stroll and, fortuitously for me, had a large, modern shoe shop where I was able to replace my broken sandals with a pair of beautifully hand tooled leather sandals for only $10.
|Elegant French colonial buildings surround Parque Jose Marti|
Parque Jose Marti is the heart of Cienfuegos with the Arch of Triumph (Arco de Triunfo), celebrating Cuba's independence and reminiscent of the much bigger Arc de Triomphe in Paris, framing the statue of Jose Marti, Cuba's beloved poet and revolutionary. The square is surrounded by elegant Parisian style buildings and there are shady trees and benches scattered here and there, well used by tourists taking advantage of the wifi in the square to catch up with news from home. As I rested there the voice of an opera singer floated from the Theatre Tomas Terry. What could be better than sitting in the shade in an elegant square under a clear blue sky, relaxed and happy and listening to opera?
|Parque Jose Marti|
|A Cuban Ration Book|
|Inside a Cuban Ration Shop (photo: Lynelle House)|
You can hear Benny More by opening the link below.