Feb 19, 2018 - Harmony V

It was a beautiful sunny morning as we left the ship, heading for Topas de Collante, in the Escambray Mountain range above Trinidad. Some chose a walking tour of Trinidad, but the rest of us boarded a bus to Topas and then took a farm truck to Codina. Codina is a beautiful area of forest, and this morning the air was full of birdcalls and songs. We were served a ‘medicinal’ drink of ginger root, honey, lemon and of course rum, if you wished. It was delicious! Fortified, we headed off down the path. As we traveled through the garden-like setting, our local guide Erilios talked about how parts of different trees and flowers could be boiled for a tea with various medicinal properties such as reducing fever. The air was fragrant with blossoms, and Cuban emerald and tiny bee hummingbirds flitted about the red flowers of the bottle brush trees. We also heard and saw Cuban trogons, red-legged thrush, Cuban orioles, American redstarts, and kingbirds in just a short distance on our walk. We soon arrived at a cave, a fine example of the hundreds that are found in the karst, or limestone, of the mountains. Coming from the cave, we walked on and soon arrived at our spot for a delicious lunch of roast pork and vegetables, dining al fresco surrounded by flowers and birds.

Our next stop was 25 winding kilometres down from the coolness of the mountains, back to Trinidad. We walked through the cobblestone streets to meet a woodcarving sculptor, Lázaro Niebla, who from old cedar wood doors and windows produces amazing, detailed three-dimensional portraits of local people. We walked around Trinidad to experience the colorful buildings and the bustling energy of this town before having to head towards the ship for a 4:30 p.m. departure on the open sea of the Caribbean.

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About the Author

Brenda Tharp

Brenda Tharp

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

For over 20 years, Brenda has used her photographs of the world to celebrate its beauty, and inspire others to protect what we have. Brenda grew up exploring the woods, lakes, and coastlines of New Jersey and New England and her family traveled regularly throughout the eastern U.S., camping, hiking, backpacking, and canoeing. She spent most of her childhood engaging with nature in some form or another and learning about animal behavior. When her father taught her some photography at 13, Brenda soon combined her love for nature with her newfound passion, and several years later her adventure began as a freelance photographer, teacher, and writer.

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