animals, photography, travel, world

some cuban birds – part II

600_6872-ec_wThis is a continuation of last weeks post. There were so many different birds, that I split the post for not to overstress you with all the photos. And, as I wrote in my last post, I don’t the names of the birds, expect the cuban emerald hummingbird. So, if you know one of the names, don’t hesitate to use the comment box below, to send me the name.

In a following post I’ll show some more of the astonishing birds.

Take care!

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animals, photography, travel, world

some cuban birds – part I

600_4960-ec_wEvery now and then during the last couple of posts I mentioned the cuban birds. I really love these colorful animals. All of the photos shown in the gallery below are taken in the wild, but without any feeding or bushwhacking. All the photos were taken by chance during hikes or in the trees and bushes beside the streets.

Unfortunately I don’t know all of their names. Maybe, one of you is able to help me out.

The egrets, hummingbird, grackle, pygmy owl and the falcon are easy to find. But the others are quite harder to find. So, if you know one of the names, don’t hesitate to use the comment box below, to send me the name.

In a following post I’ll show some more of the astonishing birds.

Take care!

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culture, landscape, meeting, people, seasons, travel, world

at a cuban public bath

600_7376-s_wWhat do you think, do they have public baths in Cuba? And if so, how do you think they look like?

As I mentioned before, Cuba is a modern country with stadiums and swimming arenas in the big cities, but how about the rural areas?

After paying your entrance fee you can have a nice afternoon swimming in the clean, fresh and cool water of a river surrounded by shadowing trees, some picnics places and even toilets. So, everything is available for a nice pause from your daily routine.

Although we were here during the dry season, there was enough water in the river, to be able to swim in the ponts and to have a shower in (small) waterfalls.

Enjoy.

And, while having your rest and waiting for my next post, you might recheck the past posts on Cuba here in my blog. Take care!

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landscape, photography, seasons, travel, world

A hike at Las Terrazas

600_6958-s_wIn my last post I introduced you to the community of Las Terrazas.

Today I want to take you on a hike through the forests on the hills around Las Terrazas.  You don’t need hiking shoes or a backpack full of water for out little trip, but I recommend both in case you go on that trip yourself.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s green here. Many plants are covering the ground. So, we found orchids, and many other plants, I didn’t knew before.

The most interesting tree is the tourist tree (Bursera simaruba). You can see it on the photo on the right. When in the sun, the bark becomes red first and than falls down, just like the skin of the tourists.  🙂

We also met many bird. I’ll put them up in another separate post.

Take care

and stay tune on, what else the forests hides.

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landscape, photography, seasons, travel, world

Las Terrazas

600_6932-e_wLas Terrazas is a cuban community. After a deforestation the people build flat terraces in the sides of the hills and planted trees again. Now, the have forests again around their village. They can pay their living by the products of the forests without cutting trees and by showing their community and their achievements to visitors.

More on the plants, flowers and animals we saw on out guided tour through the hills, I’ll put in another post.

Take care.

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landscape, photography, seasons, travel, world

It’s green here

600_6718-s_wFirst stop: Artemisa.

This region is very green, but we had a slight problem with fresh water. You know, I mentioned it a several times, we were there during the dry season. So, the government was rationing the fresh water. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. there was no water. Nevertheless, the area was still very green and the plants seemed in proper shape, although the dry period lasted nearly 5 months already.

In case, you plan hiking trips, this could be the region to do so. Hills, forests, many birds make the area interesting.

Stay tuned for the next posts on this area.

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culture, food, landscape, people, photography, travel, world

Heading back north

600_6786-ec_wWe started in Havana and went south after a few days. We saw many different cities and regions. We visited cities, historical places, beaches, mountainous regions and rural areas. In Santiago we reached the most southern point of our journey. When you look on your map, you’ll see, that there is another region left, where we weren’t until now: the north-west, west of Havana. So, we took a plane for a domestic flight from Santiago de Cuba back to Havana, to visit the remaining provinces Pinar del Rio and Artemisa. This time we arrived at another airport. Originally we arrived at José Marti International Airport, but this time we arrived at Ciudad Libertad. It’s smaller and less crowded.

Here in the north-west the areas are widely used for agriculture. Although we saw much agriculture in all parts of the country, I felt agriculture is a bit more present here in the north-west. Here you can find fields with sugar canes, rice, beans, manioc, pineapples, bananas, coffee, flowers and of course tabacco. We also found plantations growing flowers. Here they grew flowers, than I knew as indoor plants (i.e. the Amaryllis) or from exotic flower bouquets.

You know, we were in Cuba during the dry period. Here in the north-west we had some problems with water rationalisation. From 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. there was no drinking water available for taking a shower, cleaning your hands or using the toilet.

Take care!

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art, culture, history, landscape, people, photography, travel, world

La cathedrale

600_6669-s_wde Santiago de Cuba.

Finally we were lucky enough to see a cuban cathedral from inside. One evening, when we came back to our hotel, I saw light from inside shining through the wide open door to the square below. Going upstairs we had to pass the beggars again. They started again following us through the cathedral and didn’t left us alone watching the paintings, the decorated ceiling and the other interior. Our guide advised us, don’t give them anything.

Half of the cathedral was closed with a wooden wall, because of reconstruction works. The cathedral was hard damaged by the hurricane Sandy in December 2012 as several other parts of the old-town, too.

Take care.

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architecture, culture, landscape, people, photography, travel, world

walking around in Santiago de Cuba

600_6606-e_wOnce, Santiago de Cuba was the capital of Cuba. But, the capital moved north to the new built city Havana back in 1552.

As you can see, Santiago is quite old. But, you can find less old buildings then in i.e. Trinidad. OK, you won’t find much modern building in the old town, but the majority of the buildings were built during the 19th and the early 20th century.

As I mentioned in my post on the island Granma in the bay of Santiago, the southern part of Cuba was affected very hard by the hurricane Sandy. And, although Sandy happened more than 3 month ago, we were still able to see, how much the city was affected. Many buildings were destroyed. some of them were only tentative repaired to give the inhabitants a roof. Others were so much affected, that the people set up tents inside the houses. Or put signs at the door, saying that there is still someone living.

Although, many houses are damaged, you can still see, once Santiago was rich. Now, it is quite different. Santiago was the only city where we were hassled by beggars. They even followed us constantly begging for money. In other cities we also met poor people. But, those tried to offer a value for the money. They tried to sell something like cigars, water or soft-drinks. They made music or offered services like guidance or recommending restaurants. But here they were only begging. Fortunately they didn’t departed much from the place Parque Cespedes and thus left us alone after a few minutes.

During our visit we were also affected by the national mourning because of the death of Hugo Chaves, the president of Venezuela. For 1 week all dancing shows and even music plays were forbidden. So, we missed nearly all of our visiting plans here in Santiago.

I, personally, won’t visit Santiago for a second time. There are other places that are more interesting.

Take care!

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architecture, art, culture, history, landscape, photography, travel, world

Visiting a stronghold

600_6369-e_wYou might have seen this stronghold above the bay entrance at Santiago bay in my last post on the island Granma. Here you can find out a bit more.

This old spanish castle was built, to defend the citizens against pirate attacks, back in the 17th and 18th century. Nowadays you can visit the castle. You can walk around and visit many of the rooms from the top down to the storage rooms, the jail and the chapel.

Every evening right after sunset (appr. 6 p.m.) a group of soldiers, dressed up like the soldiers back in the 18th century, fire a cannon as a salut. You can watch that from a balcony above. This day, the group was commanded by a capitana, a female captain.

Next stop: Santiago de Cuba!

Take care.

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culture, history, landscape, people, photography, technic, travel, world

A sad decision

600_4069-sc2_wYesterday evening I got aware of a recent decision of the Cuban government, published by Raoul Castro, the Cuban president: Cuba allows the people to import new cars.

While this is good news for the Cuban people, I feel a bit sad about it. You ask me why? The answer is easy. I’m a photographer and it was fantastic to see all these wonderful old cars in the Cuban streets, when I was in Cuba. Not in a museum, they are still in use, even they are more than 60 years old.

I’d miss them.

More on Cuba? Have a look here in my blog and you can learn a bit about that court from a photographers view.

Take care!

culture, landscape, people, photography, travel, world

Heading further to the south

600_6383-e_wThe most south part of our tour is nearly reached: Santiago de Cuba!

But, before entering the city, we made a stop at the island Granma. We met the people while doing hard work to repair or even reconstruct their homes. They were hit hard by the hurricane Sandy. Many parts looked good already, but others were still wrecks. We also met a female teacher with her students working to repair the school building. The kids told us about learning in the morning and helping to repair in the afternoon. But, they weren’t lazy or angry, but nevertheless they were quite happy about the pause and the funny foreigners coming up to them.

The small island itself is located in the Bahia de Santiago. You can walk around the island in less than 30 minutes. The Bahia is very calm, because the entrance from the sea is very small. So, it is a bit like a lake. Nearly 100% of the bay is surrounded by land. The entrance to the bay is dominated by the Castillo del Morro, the old, spanish castle. The bay is used i.e. for the rower and sculler as their training ground. According to our guide, the Cuban olympic team is doing their exercises in this bay.

Take care.

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animals, art, culture, food, photography, travel, world

colorful pieces in the air

600_5895-sc_wand on the leafs around: butterflies!

Do you like the clowns in the air? Do you also wonder, how they are able to fly? It’s magic!

There are also butterflies, where I live. I love them since I was a child. Unfortunately, butterflies became less common over the years. Environmentalists say, that’s because of the many herbicides and  biocides. While the brides kill the caterpillars and the larvae, the herbicides kill their food plants. I hope, it’s not too late for saving these colorful insects.

In Cuba I met some butterflies, I’ve never seen before. I also was lucky enough to find a place, where several butterflies left their cocoon for starting a brand new live.  Maybe one of you is able to tell me the names of the butterflies in the photos.

Take care!

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culture, flowers, landscape, meeting, people, photography, seasons, travel, world

Walking through the jungle

600_6040_wHere are some photos taken in the forest and on the hills. While walking uphill we met a man coming down from collecting fruits in the forest. It’s a Guanábana (Annona muricata). It grows wild and the fruits are collected for their private use. A fruit can wight up to 4 kilos and tastes sour – sweet. Interesting, unusual, but ok. You can eat the soft, whitely fruit or drink it as a juice. But avoid to eat the poisonous black pits.

I’d recommend to hire a local guide to get the interesting plants explained. There is so much to see and you’d miss it, when you don’t have a guide pointing your eyes on it. We had a very talented local guide. Actually he was able to guide this tour completely in excellent German.  He even knew the German names of the plants and the animals.

Enjoy!

Maybe you have a look on the past posts on Cuba here in my blog, or posts on any other topic.

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landscape, meeting, photography, seasons, travel, world

Welcome to the jungle

600_5772-e_wThis time we stopped in the mountains in the south of Cuba. Here we have forests, lots of colorful birds, butterflies and, of course, rivers. Our hotel up in the mountains is located at a river with a waterfall, where the water falls down in a pond. The hotel consists of same small  houses. Approximately 40 – 50 guests can get a bed here. The photo above shows our hotels dining room and I’m standing in the middle of the (now nearly dry) river.

Do you remember, I already told you February and March belong to the dry period. The dry period begins in October / November and lasts until April / May. Having this in mind, you can easily see, why this river hasn’t that much water in early March. I’d really like to see, the waterfall during the raining period.

Even we’re in a tropic area, where they don’t have fall (autumn), some trees loosing their foliage during the dry period to spare water. But, nevertheless, it’s still green everywhere and we didn’t experience any water rationing here.

For today, I only picked out some photos showing the river, the waterfall and the pond. More on the nature around, the birds and the butterflies in one of my next posts.

Stay tuned!

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