Monday, August 13, 2012

Where we stayed in Camaguey: Camino de Hierro and the Annoying Welcome

We were told that our hotel in Camaguey, Cuba is the best hotel in town. I am not sure if that’s true but historical hotel Camino de Hierro is centrally situated in the historical centre, right beside the pedestrian shopping zone and in front of the La Nuestra Senora de la Soledad Church and Plaza del Gallo.

Hotel Camino de Hierro Camaguey
Hotel Camino de Hierro on Plaza del Gallo.

When we arrived in Camaguey we were surprised at the aggressiveness of the men here. At the rotunda before reaching the centre we were intruded and followed by a man on a bike frantically waving his arms and giving us directions, which I presumed to the direction of Camaguey centrum. We were initially perplexed at this sudden unrequired attention but my gut feel was not to follow him even if I knew he is showing us the correct way.

I mean—What does he want from us? Welcoming us to the city? Sheesh. You are scaring us stranger. Go away! Do not bother us.

My golden rule when travelling alone or with another female companion is SAFETY FIRST. I know that this may seem harsh to the men out there but I NEVER trust men when I am travelling. And I do not discriminate. I do not trust all men. Local men. Foreign men. All men.

So Blondine and I ignored him and in our attempt to lose him we took a detour to a narrow alley and eventually got lost, haha. We turned around and decided to follow the church tower, knowing that the centre will be there for sure. I guess churches have another purpose as well—to guide people to the core centre of the city.

Because the hotel is strategically located we quickly found it. It was located right across the bright coloured Soledad Church!

Our hotel room at Camino de Hierro:

 Camino de Hierro Camaguey Cuba
We kind of liked the beds and its style =)

The size of the bedroom was good enough and we have a little balcony that has views to the plaza which is always nice.

Our view from the little balcony of our hotel room:

Colourful passenger bikes.

The open courtyard of the hotel:

When it rains, this area surely gets wet. But the cement walls and high ceiling help make the hotel cool during the day.

The bar at the lobby of the hotel:

The bar area, which is also where the restaurant is, is open-air. The doors are huge folding doors which they only close when its raining hard and when they close for the evening.

Cafe terrace of the hotel on Plaza del Gallo:

This intersection of Camaguey is the central area of town and the outdoor terrace is one of the best places to sit down.

Plaza del Gallo and the surroundings:

It is all about colours here in Cuba.

We parked the car in the private parking lot 100 metres away from the hotel. The hotel does not own the place but they recommended it. It is manned by personnel 24x7 and we have to pay per day.

Well, guess who found us? The guy who earlier followed us on the bike. He is offering us his services i.e. hotel, restaurant, tour, etc. He sounds like a car salesman who follows me around and doesn’t stop blathering. I am seriously getting annoyed. And now the rest of the guys outside the plaza are following me around as well! These guys are deaf. Why can they not understand a big NO?

The men in Camaguey are horribly stubborn. ARGH.

Travel Period: May 2012
Destination: Camaguey (Camaguey), Cuba

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