Thursday was our monthly meeting, but the first time for an in-person meeting in more than three years …
in the City of Sacramento Council Chambers.
Jennifer Donlon Wyant, Transportation Planning Manager, is the person who organizes and frequently presents at our meetings – one of her staff members took a few pictures of our group before the meeting started.
*Actually, these are your bike rides from March 1-14.
Wednesday March 1. Braving the wind, Brenda and Rachel:
Friday March 3. Minerva took this picture of Brenda and Agueda:
Saturday March 4. Minerva took this picture of Rachel, Brenda, Jim, and Agueda:
Sunday March 5. Brenda, Rachel, and Agueda:
Monday March 6. Brenda and Rachel:
Tuesday March 7. Maria:
Dani, Kathy, Cheryl:
Wednesday March 8. Brenda and Rachel:
Friday March 10. Minerva took this picture of Maria and Brenda:
Sunday March 12. Brenda and Rachel:
Monday March 13. Maria and Tony:
Thanks to everyone who kept sending me pictures and miles ridden while I was in Cuba. A shout-out to Manolo, our bicitaxi driver in Remedios: Great turn signal and check over his shoulder before making a left turn.
Terri, Dan and I left in the same taxi. We were on the same flight to Miami. Porfirio would leave later in the day and fly home to Costa Rica.
One more goodbye at the airport to some special people. Standing: Terri going home to Iowa, Robin to Philadelphia. Sitting: Dan to Colorado Springs, Noreen to Alexandria, Terri (aka “my Terri”). We had a great travel group.
Miami. Customs was fast and easy. The meal I wanted most:
A stop at Finca Vigia – the home of Ernest Hemingway.
His fishing boat, Pilar.
D’Brujas – the witches – are soap and skin care product makers who have been successful and recently opened a store in Los Angeles. We visited the workshop where all the products are made.
Next, a very large market where you can buy ANYthing.
After checking in at the hotel, we all met downstairs at 4 pm. A fleet of six 50s cars were waiting for us.
Three people per car. We made several stops so you could switch around and ride in 4 different models. So much fun.
A broad avenue along the water where many embassies are located.
Artist Jose Fuster reclaimed his impoverished Jaimanitas neighborhood by creating colorful mosaics everywhere. He started with his own studio then asked neighbors if he decorate their homes and businesses. Over a decade of work, Fusterlandia was born. To me, this is a not-to-be-missed highlight of Havana.
With our driver, Ramon:
We drove through a huge park in the middle of the city, aka the “lungs of Havana.”
Revolution Square surrounded by many government buildings.
Before dinner, a few of us walked to the amazing Hotel Nacional for a drink.
Our final dinner was at Casa Miglas,
followed by a one-hour performance by the Havana Queens dance company.
We toured the museum dedicated to the Bay of Pigs invasion – a military operation on the southwestern coast of Cuba in 1961 by Cuban exiles which was secretly financed and directed by the USA, hopefully to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist government. It failed within 72 hours.
A brief stop at a “secret garden” with many small trees and bird feeders in the backyard of a home Ray/tour director knew of.
So many little birds flitting about and hard to capture in a picture. There were many bee hummingbirds, the smallest species, just 2 inches long. I took 10 pictures, only one contained a bird, and it wasn’t a bee hummingbird:
Today, we were supposed to do a short bike ride. Although that particular activity was communicated to us, the travelers, it was not communicated to our tour directors. No arrangements had been made. Darn. To counter our disappointment, we stayed only one night in Cienfuegos instead of two, and came to an all-inclusive resort in Varadero called Melia Las Antillas. We had a very relaxing afternoon, many enjoyed the pool or beach (not me, I caught up on the blog and answered emails).
The view from my balcony:
Beautiful, relaxing, but not much to share. Giving you a break from super long blog posts.
We boarded the bus and drove into the mountains on curvy narrow roads. We stopped at a couple of overlooks.
Our next stop was a coffee farm where we would have lunch – the best meal so far!
We took a walk on a narrow path to see the coffee plants.
Green coffee – not ready to harvest.
Red berries ready to pick.
Roasting the dried coffee beans stirring constantly:
A very special lunch of roast pig:
The seating was a bit rustic.
The family who hosted us. So friendly and welcoming.
Before we left, we used the outhouse with a porcelain toilet, actually much cleaner than some of the indoor toilets we’ve used.
From rustic to over-the-top opulence. In Cienfuegos – 100 fires – the home of a rich Spanish investor in the sugar cane industry built to resemble the Alhambra.
The view from the roof patio.
We walked the wide boulevard downtown and ran into a children’s group parading to celebrate the International Book Fair.
The Tomas Terry Theater built as a thank-you to the people of Cienfuegos for making him a rich man, again in the sugar industry.
We went to dinner at Cafe Cienfuegos and had another very authentic Cuban experience – no electricity. Totally dark and no candles. The wait staff showed us how to get a bit of light – set a bottle of water on top of a cell phone with the flashlight turned on.