Cienfuegos – the city of a thousand fires


It felt as if we had well and truly left the countryside as we rolled through the grandiose gridded city of Cienfuegos. The heat rose from under our feet, and crept up our bodies quickly stifling our senses. This is the city of the sun, the city of a thousand fires.


Cienfuegos lacked Havana’s charm, it was less lively, there was no music. The main square was however beautifully done up, with gardens, large revolutionary symbols and drawings of Che and his slogans.

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The highlight of the plaza, the Casa de la Cultura Benjmain Duarte.


The tuk-tuk sprinted down the main boulevard down to the sea. The heat made the lagoon air smell of the city’s sewers. Lovers sat under trees and boats glided motionless on paper still water.



Down the main boulevard we careered. Sat on the bicycle we gained a little height and so we were able to escape the heat emitted by the tarmacked road which had become overwhelming, especially when we were engulfed by the fumes of the cars spluttering past. Now we could enjoy glimpses of sea through gaps in the lavish houses with the wind in our hair.

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The mansions were grand, their architecture fascinating but somewhat lacking in taste. The Only Way is Essex but on Mojitos. Although it is said that wealth can seldom be subtle, double exterior staircases cascading down pastel facades must be seen as a step somewhat in the wrong direction. Indeed, is a great social success not a pretty girl who plays her cards as carefully as if she were plain?


Past the yachting club and the double fronted domed house with tennis court and tropical garden.



We finally saw looming ahead of us at the end of the Punta Gorda, the diamond of the crown, the real gem, the Palacio del Valle.

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Once a casino, this Palace now stands as a beacon of culture. Magnificent and towering, it is built in a style  reminiscent of Spanish-Moorish art with influences of Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque and Mudejar arts.


Spanish carvers made the gateways, mosaics and Spanish ceramics adorn the walls and stained glass taints the views. Beautiful crystal allegories are painted on the marble staircase. Cornices crown the entrance to the halls and doorways, the ceiling are high and the rooms spacious. The living room is  Empire in style paneled in gold and pink marble with applications of bronze and white marble floors.



Palacios del Valle stands aloof at at the end of the Punta Gorda, a reminder and testimony of a golden age of Cuban opulence and wealth.


I feel that it is not worth spending a full day at Cienfuegos. It was though a great way to break the journey from Trinidad to Havana. We stayed at a really nice casa particular called Apartamento Independiente Eduardo & Odalys on Avenida 56 number 5306 (Altos)/ 53 y 55. We had our own little apartment with bedroom, living room and kitchen. The shower pressure was better than in the casa that we stayed in Trinidad but there was no air-conditioning. It was very close to the station so it was easy to get there from the bus on arrival from Trinidad.

Author: Abigail Royston

I am an ex-professional tennis player and have just graduated from King's College in London. I share daily fashion outfits and stories of my travels and the tour. Every story has a beginning, but I will start mine here, at the start of something big. For us this was a journey of a lifetime, where dreams were made and broken, where friendships were cherished and torn apart. We lived and still live the life of aspiration and we tell the tale of victories and defeats that come with growing up at such a young age on the brink of greatness and fame. In our world youth, beauty and riches combine. We trained hard but played even harder. Our parties’ were and always will be legendary, our travels exotic and carefree. We were becoming stars. My Girls On Tour showcases street style looks, avant-garde fashion, new designers, fashion shows as well as travel stories and adventures. A fun window into the glamorous world of a professional tennis player turned fashionista, this is the place for wonderlust and fashion inspiration. Instragram @abigirlx Twitter @Abigailroyston

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