Susan's sketchbook log: Cuba



El Palacio de Valle, CienfuegosLeft to my own, I probably wouldn't have gone to Cienfuegos, a town I'd never heard of, but it turned out to be a cool place. Unlike any other city in Cuba, it was settled by the French, which explains, for example why it has the only triumphal arch on the island. Who knew?

I wouldn't say the food was better, but we ate in ridiculously gorgeous buildings. One was El Palacio de Valle (left), which looks like a bizarre cross between a medieval fortress, and Indian temple and a Moorish palace.

Outside of town, we visited the Manaca Iznaga plantation in the Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills) which, like neighboring Trinidad -- too busy taking photos there to sketch :( -- ,is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although most of the sugar mills are in ruins, some intact structures remain, including the owner's house, a tower and some barracones (below), the original slave quarters, now used as housing.





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