Columbus Cemetery and Matanzas
Since the last time I blogged, I was able to visit both the Columbus Cemetery and the city Matanzas. The Columbus Cemetery is one of the largest in the world, spanning 135 acres and containing 53,360 plots that are almost all white and above-ground. Since so many Cubans want to be buried in the cemetery, there is even a waiting list, and after three years, remains are removed and stored elsewhere to provide more space.
I was also able to spend a day in Matanzas, a city west of Havana on the northern coast. While most people only drive through Matanzas on their way to Varadero, it is an important port for worldwide sugar exports and is called both “Creole Venice” and “Athens of Cuba” because of its many bridges and history as a center of Cuban culture and art. In order to get back to Havana, I took the old, electric Hershey Train, which used to transport workers and sugar to and from Havana and Hershey Chocolate’s sugar refinery. Now, the train makes many stops at tiny farming villages between Matanzas and Havana during the three-and-a-half-hour trip. Although the train is notoriously delayed and unreliable, it was actually on time and was a great way to see the beautiful countryside.
I posted a few pictures of the Columbus Cemetery and my ride on the Hershey Train below, and I am hoping to make another trip outside of Havana with some of my friends this upcoming weekend.