Santiago de Cuba

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20180112_18051220180112_08385420180111_14542420180111_13320020180111_13092120180111_12573520180111_125417It’s six hours earlier on this side of the world and my body obviously needs some time to adjust itself to that. I woke up around 0400 on Wednesday, and around 0500 on Thursday. My host made me an impressive breakfast with lots of fruit, toast, egg, vegetables, juice tea and milk. It was so much that I was unable to finish it and I asked her not to make me so much te next day.

After breakfast I went for a walk through the city. Santiago is the second largest city of Cuba and I had read great things about it. I wasn’t to impressed to be honest. There are a couple of nice squares and buildings. But it’s mostly a busy city with narrow streets and ill maintained buildings. There’s so much traffic, and because most of the vehicles are antique, the air is full of exhaust fumes. So much that it’s affecting my throat.

In the afternoon I hooked up with my English and Austrian friends and we decided to get a cab to take us to some of the historic sites which are located outside of the city center. We first went to Moncada. This used to be the second largest military base in Cuba and Fidel Castro attacked and conquered it. You can still see the bullet holes in the building. From there we drove to the Plaza de la Revolución where Fidel held speeches. Then to the cemetery where Fidel’s remains lay. Funny fact is that there’s also a grave where a certain mister Bacardi rests. The cemetery is very impressive and it reminded me of the WWII cemetery in Normandy. From there we continued to Morro castle. An old Spanish fortress located at the entrance of the bay of Santiago. It’s well preserved and apart from the historic information, it offers spectacular views. You can imagine that we got hungry from all of the sightseeing and of course our taxista new the perfect place for lunch. He took us to a place on a hill with a great view of the bay and the food was pretty tasty as well. That made me quite happy 😉 After dinner they returned us to the city.

At night we went our for some drinks. I was expecting to find lots of public places with music and people dancing salsa. But we’ve seen no such thing. There are some places with music and dancing, but they didn’t feel genuine to me. More like they were created to entertain elderly tourists. I was pretty beat from waking up early anyway so I went to bed before 0000.

On Friday we left for Baracoa. My host had arranged for transportation and a place to stay. The ride arrived in time, but to my surprise, it wasn’t a car but a big truck. It had two benches and we had to share it with 13 other people. This was fun for about 15 minutes. Then my started to hurt, I couldn’t stretch my legs or move at all. Our luggage was on the roof and when it started to rain, it was stuffed between us. On top of that the windows were so small that I could hardly see any of the beautiful landscape. When we finally arrived after five hours of torture I was pretty stiff and cranky. Luckily the sun came out and I was well received at my new address.

The town itself is pretty small and not much to look at. So we have arranged for a fun day out in the countryside tomorrow. Dinner also was an interesting experience. We were shown a restaurant in someones house in an apartment building. It looked cosy, the food was good and cheap. Exactly how I like it. Tonight we’ll look for some music and have a beer 🙂

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