Day 5: Cuba Libre…

Sat. 18th August 2012

…or a mojito. That was the tough choice at the end of the day. Both are good, both ubiquitous and both have a good dollop of rum to help relieve the stresses in tired muscles.

Yes, a cliche, but one of the things we wanted to see in Cuba was the carsWe very much enjoyed our night in Cienfuegos. The town felt not authentically Cuban but with pretty and well maintained buildings. Even the hotel had the trappings of a modern hotel (other than Internet access of any sort), it was much less anonymous and bland than the Occidental in Miramar. All in all, this was our favourite stay so far, and we left feeling that we’d quite like to come back and see more.

We still have no plans and nothing booked for what we will do in Cuba for the fortnight after our cycling tour ends. We need to pick the brains of Freddie (our tour leader) over the next few days.

It was an early start (well 8:30) for the days cycling in order to avoid the worst of the day’s heat – we had 45km to cycle including a 6km ‘rollercoaster’ section. Whilst we both have padded cycling shorts, our backsides were not happy about being reintroduced to the saddle – I wonder if the hotel will miss a cushion or two tomorrow?? Actually the bikes are very good (Trek something-or-other hybrids) – lighter than I was expecting (e.g. from your old bike, Rob) and with sufficient gears to make the hills manageable.Sunset in Guajimico

The traffic on the roads was generally light, but you can’t but be struck by the variety of traffic on the road – not just cars of all ages, buses, coaches and ancient lorries belching smoke – and often crammed with people. It is also clear that the horse is a working animal here there were plenty of horse-drawn carts and people riding horses either along the side of the road or in fields moving cattle around.

Our cabaño - pretty, but basic inside - and watch out for the crabs!Our overnight stop was in Guajimico, which seemed to be nothing more than a resort on the coast between Cienfuegos and Trinidad. The path down to the resort was marked by a large statue of an American Indian and it turns out that the initial inhabitants of Cuba were Amerindians. Our rooms were Cabaños, little cabins or villas painted in pastel colours. The whole place reminded me of the camp in Dirty Dancing. I suspect that Janet expected me to say “nobody puts Janet in a corner” and whisk her off for a salsa lesson. Actually, as I write it, that is clearly ridiculous!!!Crab - very disconcerting when you here them scuttling in the grass beside you

Moving swiftly on, as we arrived in Guajimico by lunchtime, we were able to have lazy afternoon, wash our T-shirts, chill out and then explore a little of the countryside. Walking along the path by the beach we spotted lots of yellow crabs in the forest / swamp. Later in the evening, we found that they were not just by the beach but all through the resort, whereever you walked you could hear scuttling in the grass. Very creepy!

PS – I nearly used a Fidel quote for the opening title – ‘Patria o muerte’. The Bay of Pigs invasion museum (see yesterday’s post) was really interesting and filled in a gap in my understanding of 20th Century history.

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One Response to Day 5: Cuba Libre…

  1. Rob Quickenden says:

    You seemed to have found lots of places with names that are really hard to pronounce !
    Cycling trek sounds awesome though…specially the roller coaster section.

    Really enjoying the blog so far. Can’t say that Katie and me wish we were with you. You have just managed to add a few places to our map!

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