Sunday, 19 August 2012
Day 10: Santiago churches and cemeteries
Day of churches, streets and cemeteries. We started the day visiting the Church of Our Lady of Cuba which was a vast airy church where the priest was celebrating mass. People came dressed in white and yellow and offered sunflowers and lit candles. It is a fusion of African and Catholic faiths aand the strength of devotion was touching. We then had a morning walking round Santiago where one sees every style of architeture, highlights included a revolutionary monument made of a series of vast metal rectangles set in the ground like a series of machete strokes. Then we walked around the streets with colonial style houses and Soviet style wiring. People were out in the squares relaxing . I explored an eccentric bookshop with books, rum bottles and notices all stacked up in an array. Santiago cemetery is a mass of white marble monuments and a large early 20 c mausoleum to Jose Marti who was the first Cuban nationalist. He looks down benevolently but every half half hour there is a changing of the guard and three young Cuban soldiers goose step out to change. It felt too militaristic for me and contrasted with the peace inside his tomb . The Bacardi family also have a very showy black memorial. We then bussed up to the north of th island.