This was supposed to be a blog about the Edelweiss tour 'Best of Cuba' that has been taking place just now. But it rather turns out to be a travelogue about two groups of motorcycle enthusiasts getting immersed in a culture of an island that, apart from it's vivid past, has so much more to discover...
No doubht, there are many new things to those who travel Cuba for the first time, but on the other hand there are so many things, which make it easy to just float along with the Cuban way of life, such as the very amicable welcome of the Cubans, their happines, the Salsa music, of course, the vintage cars, the pleasant temperatures and a lot more. The combination of impressions attracts your senses and makes it easy for you to unwind. What a pleasure cruising around on our motorcycles with our minds open to the diversity Cuba has to offer - let's go and discover it!
That's it - sin palabras
Traveling through the country, you'll still find remnants of the 26 July revolution. Signs like these show people's affection for Che Guevara and the mission that he conveyed.
Old American cars ... a picture of the daily life in Cuba. Make sure you find someone who drives you around, they are great fun. This one experiences good restoration right now. It promises to be a wonderful vehicle, doesn't it?
Who we are? And where we are? Guess
One of the probably greatest highlight the first group was lucky to experience was the meeting with this gentlemen in the middle - Ernesto Guevara - one of Che's sons!
Next to him are Tony and Werner from Switzerland and Angelika and Frank from Germany
The other participants were Harley Davidsons (Road King) and ...
Second to none, of course, the brilliant mix of riders made for the great time we had, but believe it or not - the mix of bikes had it's fair share causing a great atmosphere! - "BMW - Si se puede!" and "Siempre Harley"
Any question about the ride's motto...?
The revolutionary riders Tony, Werner with tour guide Anivar, Angelika and Frank
The first highlight of the day was the crocodile farm.
You think its looking cute? Well, we weren't so keen on touching this caiman although it is still little!
This one, however, we could touch. The guard made sure it's mouth was bound shut safely!
Brave Tony!!! Those fearless Harley riders!
Very impressive, I can tell you!!!
Not far from our tonight's destination in Playa Larga there is a place amidst the marshlands where Fidel Castro, in the beginnings of the revolution, had a dinner with the char burners, teaching them how to use weapons.
The guy who takes care of the memorial place
The little huts and the pictures inside give you a good idea about the history of the place and of how live must have been like back then for these people.
Today, though, it is a very peaceful place.
Werner obviouslys enjoys the tranquility of the location
The next morning...
...we were out and about for the ride to Trinidad
The turquoise waters of the famous pig's bay have an abundance of colorful fish!
On the way to Playa Giron
Horse carriages - one of the many typical means of transportation in Cuba
Werner - siempre Harley!
Today, the memories of the pig's bay invation are very well documented inside the war museum
The central plaza of Cienfuegos surprises you with well-maintained buildings and gives you a good impression of the colonial times
This building is one you can actually visit and see people working on the inside restoration
Amazing views over the area from the top!
This tower - the Torre de Iznaga - you'll find in the vicinity of Trinidad. At the glorious times of the sugar cane it served the purpose of supervising the slaves that were working in the large sugar cane fields around.
Tony and Angelika enjoying the views over the sugar cane fields
The next morning we were preparing for our ride through the mountains towards the archipelago Cayo Santa Maria
Angelika actually is no Harlista, but we agreed, she could for once sit on one - doesn't look bad at all, don't you think?
Group picture at the Che Guevara monument in Santa Clara
As this day was dedicated to Che Guevara we, consequentially, had our lunch in the Casona Guevara
The road out to Cayo Santa Maria, in fact, is a 40 km causeway that connects all the islands. An impressive ride with many opportunities to take some memorable pictures!
The revolutionary bunch Werner, Anivar, Angela, Angelika & Frank, Toni Some pictures for the catalogue...
We were curious getting to know more about the machines and their function...
So we simply stopped and had a closer look at the sugar cane
Anivar got one piece of sugar cane for us and we tried it - the only thing we were missing now was a cup of coffee! You could literally use a piece of the cane to stir and sweeten your coffee!
Harley King Anton, however, thought there was a better purpose for it...
To get more background information about the sugar production we visited the sugar cane museum! Highly interesting! ...
... with a special treat at the end of the tour - the sugar cane juice!
First, Anton didn't seem to be so sure about this drink...
I know, it resembles something else... but I promise it really is very tasty! We even had a second and a third helping...
To make this informative day of Cuban products complete we also visited one of the local tobacco factories, where the world-famous Cuban cigars are produced. Not surprising that there are no pictures allowed inside. But we assure you, it is one of the most interesting places to visit in Cuba!
What we could have a closer look at afterwards, however, were some of the tobacco plantations.
A very relaxing and joyful time at the Bella Vista point not only allowed us a view over the area ...
... but also one of the Mulata Rum factory in the distance.
Of course, we wanted to know and see more, but we only could get a glimpse of it. Understandably, for security reasons, visitors are not allowed to the factory.
The next morning we said good bye to the Remedios area and made our way towards Varadero - next to Cayo Santa Maria another famous beach resort.
One of the cozy lunch spots in Cuba
Werner loves taking pictures, and I bet he has a good collection by now!
Hey my fellow travelers ... tell me, how can you possibly survive without those Mariquitas at home????
Happy Frank & Angelika
As fantastic as our trip was, as spectacular was our ride back into La Habana.
This guy seems to be always happy, he liked our bikes!
Photo stop upon entering Havana
Driving on the Malecon. Havana's road along the coast is not always open to motorcyclists. In stormy weather the waves can get pretty high!
Werner and Anton - truly great riding buddies! They are putting together many many miles on their bikes every year!
So here we are, Havana has us back again, the bikes are returned, we are freshend up, ready to enjoy the farewell dinner together.
At this point I'd like to say a big thank you to all travel-fellows (especially the revolutionary ones ), be it on Harleys or BMWs, for joining this chilled ride! It was truly great fun to ride around Cuba with you!!
But is this the end? Noooo! Anton & Werner spent two more days in Havana. So we met again for a joint sightseeing trip around Havana in one of these vintage convertibles! Just great!!
The plaza de la revolution for revolutionary riders Uffff, Werner!!! What a color!
An artist living in one of Havana's neighborhoods seems to be a hard-working one! Over the past 25 years or so he has layed everything with millions of pieces of tiles! Incredible!
Most of these wonderful buildings are suffering from the salty air and the humidity...
Sure! There are communities of motorcyclists in the country, the biggest of them most likely is the police
Later Anivar joined us and offered a special surprise for Anton and Werner...
We got to see one of the Harley collections well hidden in a private garage! What a feast for the two of them...
By any chance - is there anyone out there who can tell where the BMW rider is hiding???