Trinidad, Cuba. A land where time stood still waiting for us to see what was left behind. Where Havana has my heart, Trinidad sips into my soul. The essence of life; authentic and dizzying, deep and deeper, history. I was not ready to leave. I have never been to a place like Trinidad and I know I never will. She is without a doubt the most wonderfully beautiful place to be and always will be, for there is no place like her, there never will be. She fills me with butterflies in my belly, big stomping butterflies that make me happy merely at the thought of the memories, and leaving was like walking away from my greatest love. Trinidad is like that love story where a lover waits and waits, and eventually gets the one and the happy ending. In Trinidad, the world stopped and settled into a comfortable pace, time waited for us to see the depth of what was and what always will be. She is rough and smooth, crumbling and wholesome, and that feeling you have simply by being in her presence is happiness in the purest form, one that leaves you with a sweet sigh because you know nothing will ever compare, Trinidad will never change in all her history and truths. She will remember you just like she remembers days past, the impression of your feet as you walk along her cobbled streets, the rhythm of your walk, the smile on your face as you make your way through little roads that lead you to everywhere and nowhere, finding you every time you get lost in her history.
Wake up in the morning not by your alarm clock but from the sounds of the world waking up around you, old men on horse drawn carts, traders unlocking their stalls, donkeys already put to work, children running to school, young men and women talking about the exploits of the night before in the plaza and ready for the new day. The sunset is different in Trinidad, like much of her history, its pure. Everything is different here, and with the power of her joyous presence, she slows you right down to your bones, makes you stop and listen to the sounds all around you, music that moves you, happy chatter, the colours. The evidence of her colonial past remains, bittersweet stories that accompany these times, the colonial buildings along side dance taverns where slaves congregated to make merry in an effort to escape their realities, these places still stand today and their stories ever more relevant. In 1988 Trinidad became a UNESCO World Heritage site because of her unspoiled architecture and plentiful history- Plaza Mayor, the Bell tower, the museums, the horses, music wafting through from every open door as the evening light descends. She is one big outdoor museum, delicate and flavourful, unpretentious, perfectly preserved; gentle and soft, she whispers at times, and at others she shouts full of life and stories to tell, she loves. She is loved.
In today’s world where everything is hard-edges with sharp angles, harried people living fast-paced lives, Trinidad is soft as a blur and pretty as a picture, in her you will find yourself, will be yourself, and know a life you never knew. She tells the stories of the people who settled with her, the many men who loved her, the ones who left, and those that stayed, preserving her land and telling her stories. Trinidad is Cuba at its heart; a place where time stands still, and as we move on, we never forget the blessings of her charm and grace.