Monday, February 27, 2017


Things went well in Santiago. Eveline's eye appeared to react immediately to the drops. She has used them for almost ten days now and the problem seems to be solved. She'll will have it checked again at home.
Also our visa were extended. Not without some complications though. When we showed up in the office there were many people waiting, most likely it would take us a couple of hours. Then a Dutchman who lives in Cuba told us that we should have a certain kind of stamps, without which we would not get our extensions. To be bought at certain banks. So back to the the city centre again, partly walking, partly using a taxi. We had a taxi, based on the Willy's jeep, built in 1942! Bought the stamps and returned in the office some 90 minutes later. Just in time, it was our turn, the kind Dutchman had kept our places. Then the lady said we were 2 days too early for the extension. To which I explained that we are cyclists and we would not be sure when we would arrive in another town where there was a visa-office. When she saw all the business cards of the casa particulares where we had stayed she was ready to beleive us and the extensions were written and stamped. This visa is on a separate inlay in the passport, so that no other country (= the US) will be able to see that we have visited Cuba.

Spent another day in Santiago and left on a Viazul bus. We had a relatively comfortable 16-hour ride and arrived in Havana at 07.00 in the morning. We immediately set off and arrived in Cabañas, 75 kms to the west, in the afternoon. A nice finca-like casa. Here we met two other cyclists, Johann, our age, from Switzerland, for the third time in Cuba (why???) and Anders, 33, from Denmark who we would meet a couple of times again in the following days. A nice young man who, like us, had cycled in many other countries before. He was riding on a over-40-year-old ramshackle bike which he already had sold to a guy from Trinidad, a week or so ago. And to his and our astonishment this man really showed up in Viñales to pick it up, and pay the agreed 50 CUC!! The guy had travelled hundreds of kilometers to get this wreck, that had a broken derailer, no mudguards or anything. We shared Anders' commercial succes with some cold beers on a terrace in Viñales.

From Viñales we made a detour via Pinar del Rio to Guane and back. Beautiful scenic roads. In Guane there were supposed to be accommodations, but the only ones that we could find – not easily – were rooms to be let by the hour. The third place that we tried looked reasonable and the lady understood our needs: a room for the night, dinner, breakfast and some cold beers. She was kind, delivered and we were satified.

Now we are in San Diego de los Baños, a village where there are thermal baths. We are staying in an old casa particular, owned by an old couple. The room is basic but good, the bathroom dito, and we are sitting on the veranda in the garden, reading, sipping our drinks and taking it easy. By the end of this week we'll arrive back in Havana and finish this Cuba tour.

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