Day 12. 31/10. From Playa Pilar to Cienfuegos.
Imagine a day when you wake up at the perfect beach, in a neat little tent where you spent the night. For free. And you get free coffee from the personel of the nearby restaurant. How could it get any better? Well, maybe by swimming to a remote island that streches out in front of your beach.
I was not entirely sure whether I shall do it or not (currents and weather can change very quickly in the caribbean) but in the end temptation was too big and I decided to at least try it. I put on lots of sun blocker, a t-shirt and a swimming hat (sun burns hard while in water!) and took off with pins and mask. I took me some 30-40 minutes but there but it was completely stressless. Water has body temperature and the underwater world passing by under always keeps you entertained. When I finally got out of the water, exhausted, proud and ready to explore my Robinson Crusoe Island … deception was great. The first thing I looked into was a cuban, standing in front of me with crossed arms and looking at me accusingly. Turns out there are excursions by boat to the island and had spotted me crossing the 2km stretch. I was (rightfully) severely told off and went for a quick tour around the island (boring island) before getting into the water again to swim back home. On my way back home I spotted hundreds of huge sea stars but little fish. One of the Sea Stars was eating, check out the pictures. Oh, and I also spotted a tiger fish that day with Maricel, impressive picture of the venous fish in the attached photo gallery, as well.
Around 4pm we broke down our tent with the intention to continue our journey to our next station, Trinidad. We were not entirely sure how to get there but to pass through Cienfuegos or Santi Spiritu seemed the most logic route. We sat down in the Restaurant for another coffee and I spotted a group of polish tourists which we had learned to know yesterday (we gave them some bread and fruit). We got into a small talk conversation and I asked if they were maybe leaving tonight and/or going in the same direction as we. And bam! – there goes our next free transportation!
Our polish friends, Darek, his wife Renata and a colleague of Darek with an unpronounceable name were in fact kind enough to take us all the way to Cienfuegos (about 500km!) – for free and in a really luxury car with leather seats, air-conditioning and all that. Lucky, lucky, lucky!
After some 6 hours we arrived in Cienfuegos late at night and ended up in two really nice cases particulares in Punta Gorda, the southernmost quarter of Cienfuegos which stretches out into the sea like a finger. Pointing out that we are poor students, traveling by hitchhiking and usually sleeping in a tent I was able to get a pretty good deal (15 CUC per night and person, including breakfast). For supper we got luxurious and had ____. Check out the size of that thing (last photo)!!