Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Reaching Santiago from the west via the coast

You can travel to Santiago de Cuba from the west via a coastal road of about 200 kms. It's a remote part of the country, the road is a thin line between the Sierra Maestra and the Caribean sea. This region is called Granma, after the name of the boat in which Fidel and his companions landed on this coast and these are the mountains in which he stayed for nearly 2 years and formed his rebel army.
Road is an eufemism here. The rocks often fall steep into the sea, leaving just a narrow space for the road, the surf beating it on the other side. As there live very few people here, road maintainance apparently has no high priority (as in many other parts of the country). Then the hurricanes that every now and then hit this coast make roadbuilding here a hopeless case. After each hurricane some parts appear to have completely gone.
That is what we found when we traveled here. We had the loveliest weather, no wind and not too hot. There were parts where cycling was hardly possible and sometimes we felt the spray from the surf. We enjoyed every bit of it, just us, the mountain sides and the sea. It made a memorable day.

We cycled three days along this coast line before we reached Santiago de Cuba. Again the typical Caribean city, one-storey houses in square blocks and narrow one-way streets. But in the centre, where we are staying with a lovely elderly couple, there are enormous colonial buildings. Obviously it's the second largest city of Cuba. We'll stay a couple of days to see the sites, to extend our visa and to pay a visit to the international clinic, as Eveline has had a problem with a very painful eye for a the last week.

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