Dec 15, 2017 - Harmony V

As Harmony V navigated into Cienfuegos harbor in the early morning light, we saw elegant old villas and former casinos along the shoreline. We began our exploration of Cienfuegos with a walking tour through the colonial part of town.  We visited a beautiful old hotel, and saw the ornate, wooden interior of Thomas Terry Theater.  At the market, locals were buying items not available at the ration stores.  Piles of grains and produce were displayed on counters, and vendors weighed purchases on antique scales.  Butchers trimmed meats and sharpened huge knives.  We went into the government store, and shopped for Cuban rum and postcards. Cigar smoke wafted out from an attached room, where two men in large chairs smoked, and an attentive clerk assisted customers and made trips into the large humidor behind the counter.

At the Benny More School of Art, we met with the school’s director and she told us about the school’s curriculum.  We got to experience it, too: music students played for us, a pair of high school students spoke about their visual art, and dance students performed for our group. Sounds of music practice drifted through the halls, and colorful murals decorated school walls.

Late in the afternoon we saw a local children’s theatre company put on the traditional Cuban musical ‘Cucharita Martina.’ It was very engaging, full of energy, charm and humor. On the rooftop terrace of La Union Hotel we enjoyed farewell cocktails at sunset.

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About the Author

Berit Solstad


Berit grew up on the rocky shores of Marblehead, Massachusetts. In the tidal cove behind her family’s home she found horseshoe crabs, eels, and feeding frenzies of fishes and birds. Low tides exposed clam flats, crabs, mussels, and snails. She explored this marine environment through changing tides and seasons, nurturing a love of natural history and marine biology.

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