Monday, November 11, 2019 | Domenico Schiano Moriello | North and South America
Time to ride back to Havana! Our first task today was to find gasoline, since there is some shortage in Varadero. Back on track, we reached the Bacunayagua bridge where we also had a quick lunch and then finally headed to Havana. A last picture stop at the Plaza de la Revolucion and then we took our bikes back to the garage. And before dinner the last surprise, three old cars from the 50's came to pick us up and took us to the restaurant! Goodbye everybody, have a safe flight back to China, Germany and Canada!
Leaving Remedios, we first stopped at Camajuani to see how cuban cigars are manufactured. Pity that no pictures are allowed inside the factory! After that, we used the carretera central for quite a long stretch until we reached Jovellanos where we had lunch. Varadero was not too far from there, but our hotel is the last one of the long and narrow peninsula, so it took some time to reach it!
Just a short ride today, from Cayo Santa Maria we sinply had to reach the mainland using the causeway, but before reaching Remedios we stopped at the museum of sugar industry, so we could learn more about what was once the most important industry for the whole country.
Today we crossed Cuba from coast to coast, Caribbean Sea to Atlantic Ocean! In the morning we stopped at the Manaca Iznaga tower, that was used to control the slave work in the fields when that was a sugar cane plantation. After that, we went straight to Santa Clara to visit the museum and mausoleum of Che Guevara and, finally, we reached the coast at Caibarien. But the journey was not over, because to reach the Cayos there was still a long causeway to ride!
From Cienfuegos to Trinidad it's only a short stretch, but we added a ride through the Sierra del Escambray, the second highest mountain range of Cuba, to see the beautiful waterfalls of "El Nicho", where we also had lunch. After that, back on the main road, we reached Trinidad in time to relax a bit and then went to the historic centre (a Unesco World Heritage site) for a delicious dinner in a "paladar" located on the main square. A little walk after dinner and then we were ready to go back to the hotel... a little bit late, but tomorrow it's a rest day!
Today it was the longest ride of this tour, mostly eastward to the "Pearl of the South", Cienfuegos. After a coffee break in San Antonio de los Banos, we used the "highway" until we reached the entrance of the Cienaga de Zapata Park, where the famous Bay of Pigs is located. In this area we had lunch and we could also see the museum dedicated to the Bayof Pigs invasion, or attempt to invade Cuba. Riding through some rural areas before reaching Cienfuegos was like travelling back in time!
Leaving Vinales on a hot morning, we went to see the big "mural de la prehistoria", painted in 1961 on the vertical wall of a mogote. After that, a nice curvy road took us to Pinar del Rio, the most important town of the area and the centre of the tobacco production of Cuba. Of course we had to visit a tobacco farm, a "Finca", as they are called here, where we could learn more about this important production for the island. We also had lunch at the finca and then continued on the Carretera Central. We reached our hotel, beautifully located in the Terrazas park, in time to relax a bit before dinner!
Today we finally hopped on our bikes and the motorcycle tour could start. We rode westward direction Vinales, one of the most picturesque areas of the island, with its tobacco fields and the "mogotes", these little mountains with almost vertical walls. But before reaching Vinales, we rode through the curvy roads of the Terrazas Park, where we also had lunch, and the "bumpy" ones of the "northern circuit!
Being here, it would be a pity not to visit Cuba's capital city. Havana was the most important city of the Caribbean when it was a spanish colony and then turned into being the "Vegas" of America until 1959 when the Cuban Revolution took place. Nowadays it is a place full of life and full of contrasts, definitely worth a visit!