Callejon de las Tradiciones, Afro-Cuban History in Matanzas

Afro-Cuban heritage in MatanzasWe had a very leisurely morning and were in no hurry to rush about. Cannot think of anything better than sitting on the porch with coffee and donuts (these donuts are dense and perfect for coffee dipping), while enjoying the breeze off the water.
Around noon we called for our new taxi friend “Josnel” to go into Mantanzas to see the “Callejon De Las Tradiciones”. This street is in memory of African Heritage. Every piece of art work has a different and important symbolic meaning. Found it quite unique and interesting.
One of the funniest things was this dog on top of a building, keeping watch on the neighborhood below. He was so adorable and funny. I took quite a few pictures of him. The neighbors assured me he knew better than to jump off the roof.
Afterwards we went to Montserrate, which had huge panoramic views of Mantazas country side and the bay. While there we met a man who had a small falcon on a leash that both Han and I held. He was so tame.
There is also a church and three restaurants to check out. The restaurants were quite pricey, so we went back into town and treated our taxi friend to a Cuban sandwich and croquettes at La Vigia in the Cuartel Bomberos, the gathering place for arts and culture in Matanzas, also named “The Athens of Cuba”.
Note: Obviously that area of Montserrate is geared towards tourism, hence the prices, so I suggest just a drink and take in the scenery and find your way back into town for lunch.
While eating we heard someone singing and I had to go check it out. There was a gentleman who already had one too many beverages (boracha?), as he was singing AND dancing on the outside deck area. He did not bother anyone, so no one stopped him. It was free entertainment and considering how buzzed he was, he did quite well.
We had a good laugh over lunch at Han’s expense because Josnel offered him a Cuban cigarette and explained it was strong. Han took some puffs and was fine until it became closer to the end and Han could not even finish it. He was coughing and sputtering a bit. I thought Josnel was going to fall off his chair from laughing.
We have had fun getting to know our taxi drivers who happen to be identical twins. Their names are Josnel and Jonel.
They each work every other day about 16 hours, so we get to see them both quite a bit. Both are friendly, accommodating wonderful men of 39 years of age who adore their families and Cuba. They are not shy about exclaiming love for their families. It is so refreshing. Everywhere you go, people want to share photos of family members, especially their children.
We had him drop us off at the beach once again, at the edge of town, so I could search for more shells and sea glass and once again it was freaking HOT outside, and did not help that we were still red from yesterday, but dang our fat butts need the exercise.
Found only a few pieces at the first beach, but the second area was sea glass mania. I loaded up my pockets very fast and Han found my favorite colored one in the shape of a heart and said it was my Valentine’s Day gift. Best gift I have ever received for Valentine’s and I will be making a necklace out of it. For now it is safely in my purse.
From there we made our hot sweaty way back to our lovely casa and took a much needed cooling off period. I felt like wringing myself out. LOL
Dinner was once again to the wonderful restaurant “Bukan” and we took both our hosts out since Julio was off work. I still cannot get over how inexpensive and delicious food is here. We enjoyed three salads (by the way the very best caesar salad I have ever tasted), four large potent alcoholic beverages, bottled water and four huge entrees for only 43.00 CUC. We had a lovely evening, but after having beaten by the sun for two solid days, I sadly had to say good-night and go to bed. Han followed shortly thereafter.
Bottled water at all times. Keep some with you.
We have spoken to many locals now and most are thankful for the easing of the embargo, but they clearly do not want their island to change too much or become the newest place to install fast food restaurants and Starbuck’s on every corner. I personally hope that is a long way off. To ruin the natural beauty would be a crime.


    • Al on February 24, 2017 at 2:08 am
    • Reply

    The paintings on the walls and houses are awesome. Sea glass isn’t something I’m familiar with. Must be tons of it. Thank you for the daily logs.

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