We were recommended by a lot of people to take the old steam train from Trinidad to Valle de los Ingenios, so this was our plan for the day. We got up early and asked Iván if it was possible to buy some flowers for Ute’s birthday. Mirrella quickly showed up with some freshly picked flowers from one of the neighbours’ gardens that we put on Ute’s place at the breakfast table. At 0930 we boarded the train from 1906 with open carriages and a small bar in the middle carriage. We moved slowly up the valley, stopped a few places to fill water and pick up some locals. At one point the track was a bit too steep for the train, so they had to put coal on the tracks to get us moving.
Our first main stop was Manaca Iznaga where we had an hour to explore and climb the famous Manaca Iznaga Tower, once used to watch the slaves on the plantations. On the way back we stopped for lunch at a ranch and for a toilet stop in another small city. Here we gave away a few pens to a kid waving to us, and suddenly all the kids in the neighborhood was surrounding the train. Luckily we brought a lot of pens…
On the train we met Anthony and Martine from the UK, and shared a lot of travel experiences. They are travelling for up to six months in Middle and South America. After the train ride that arrived at 4 pm instead of 2 pm as expected, we invited them for a drink on our terrace. We had a great time and they almost forgot that they had to pack before leaving to Cienfuegos.
We had a quiet evening with dinner at the casa. In spite of the language barrier we had a long conversation with our hosts and they showed us pictures from their trip to Switzerland, where the highlight seemed to be that they saw snow for the first time.We also managed to explain that we wanted to go snorkeling or scuba diving at the reef if possible, and it turned out that they had a friend who was a diving instructor and he came over 10 minutes later. We agreed on a dive the next day, so we took an early evening.