Showing posts from May, 2015

Baracoa to Imias - Over La Farola

In Cuba there are hotels, but it is also very common for travelers to stay at casa particulares, Cuban versions of a B&B (bed and breakfast). This is the mama of the casa particular at which I stayed in Baracoa.  Inside my room I prepared my clown bucycle for dome serious bicycle touring. 
My first day of touring would be from Baracoa to Imias over a mountain called La Farola. The mountain is not to tallest mountain in Cuba, but it is one of the tallest overpasses. I did not feel up to tackling this beast on my first day, so I devised a plan to take a bus or truck up the mountain and ride my bicycle down the mountain.  I went to the truck stop and was told by the station manager that there would be a truck at about 9:30am. I would wait.

I waited until about 11:30am. I was just about to make other arrangements when a guy approaches me and says La Farola. I ask him, how? He say in a camion particular (personal truck) for 5 cuc (US$5).  I agreed and got on board. Here I am sitting i…

Baracoa, Cuba - What Is Old Is New.

I arrived in Baracoa, Cuba after a 16 hour overnight train ride and a 6 hour overnight bus ride.
I opted to forego the local taxi and I rode my bicycle from the bus station into the center of town along the Malecon.  In Havana one witnesses beautiful sunsets along the Malecon (boardwalk). In Baracoa one witnesses the sun rising over the horizon along the Malecon.  My first day I walked the town, sat in on a music concert at the Casa de Cultura, watched a film, listen to some trova music, ate pizza and relaxed.  I visited an archeology site/museum that was within a cave perched on a hill above Baracoa. There were some artifacts, cave paintings and skeletons from a early indigenous tribe. I couldn't really tell if all the items were authentic, some seemed as if they may have been replicates and placed around the site to justify the $8 entry fee. Yikes!!! At least there was a nice overlook of the city.  My second day I ventured out on a little excursion to a place called the Boca del …

A Confession - I Am Not Really A Bicyclist

I have a confession, I am not really a bicyclist. I am not a bicycle tourer. I am not an adventure bicyclist. I have never identified myself as a bicyclist or cyclist as real bicyclist are often called. I do not think that I would ever call myself a bicyclist.

I have ridden bicycles ever since my father taught me how to ride when I was a little kid. I enjoy buying old bicycles and restoring them to original condition. I have owned perhaps a dozen different bicycles in my life. I enjoy the simplicity and complexity of bicycles.

In my home town of Austin I occasionally ride my bicycle from my home to the city center - about 8 miles (13 km) round trip or a ride in a city park. The farthest that I've ever ridden a bicycle is probably 14 miles (23 km).

I have not trained for this bicycle adventure. I actually bought the bicycle that I am riding one week before this journey began. I bought it through craigslist used for $325. It was in excellent condition. I think I got a pretty g…

Heading East - Train to Santiago de Cuba and Bus to Baracoa

I was planning to travel from Havana to the east side if the country to Santiago de Cuba, then to the far east coastal town called Baracoa.

When I travel I often enjoy taking various forms of transport. In Cuba there is a train which travels across the country, but has a reputation for being delayed, canceled, slow, irregular and unreliable. The locals that I met advised me that I should not take the train. They recommended that I fly or take the bus. To me, the train sounded like the perfect way to start an adventure.
Well the train did live up to its reputation and it was delayed about 2 hours.
Once I got on board I settled in for a long ride. The train ride itself was rough and shaky, but it was a nice way to allow the scenery roll by and gently ease into the countryside.
 As we passed by small villages the kids on the hillsides would wave at us passengers.
We would occasionally make brief stops at some of the small villages and a handful of people would deboard the train. Friends…