In search of Fidel and Che

Bayamo Travel Blog

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At a service station on the way to Bayamo

So after a few days in Trinidad it was back on the bus and onto Bayamo, our base for trekking the Sierra Maestra. Lady luck dealt us a good card as we were met by a fluent English speaker called Anley who, we were soon to discover, had previously been an English teacher. Our hosts at our Casa didn't speak much English and Anley helped translate our requirements for our stay. We met up with him later that evening and he helped arrange a taxi ride [we hired his friend and his Lada] and guide for our trek as no non-Cuban can go into a National Park without a guide for the next morning as we wanted to sound a few days in the mountains and arrive back in Bayamo for Saturday nights fiesta, this is something which occurs in every Cuban town every weekend and is way for the entire community to come together and have a party.

View over the Sierra Maestra

After arrived at the guide hut and arranging water, food and guide were set off for our full days trek up to the top of Cuba's highest mountain, Pico Turquino, where would then spend a night in a rangers hut on the other side of the mountain. After a gruelling climb in blistering heat we stopped at the first ranger base only for us to meet another English person who as it turned out was from Rotherham Borough Council, this just so happens to be the Council who deals with one of my projects at work, I felt like the job was stalking me! As it turned out Trevor although he didn't have anything to do with my projects did know people that did so I was to chose my words carefully as it is not unlike me in true Adams fashion to firmly plant two proverbial size 9s into my mouth!
By the time we had reached the top around 4pm, we were dripping we sweat and I swore blind that I would never complain about another fitness session again, as in comparison to this they were a walk in the park! The other thing, which proved frustrating, was that the clouds had rolled in about half way up the mountain and so we weren't even rewarded with great views.
After another few hours climbing, descending, climbing we reached home for the night, our ranger's station, which resembled a shack from something like an Amityville horror movie. Having to engage my brain before a human hour [i.e before 7am] had meant that I had stupidly left my sleeping bag in the casa so had to make do with sleeping with all my clothes on under a sleep sheet and it was colder than the night in Morocco where we'd slept in a nomad's cave, a least then we'd had enough blankets. Morning rolled around and I awoke to feel as though I'd be given a damn good shoeing, every part of me ached and all I could think about was how nice the shower in the casa was going to feel later. The sunrise however bought stunning views of the peak and the Caribbean sea, lakes and the beautiful landscape surrounding us and suddenly it all seemed worthwhile, we sat for a good half an hour watching the clouds and mist receed as sucked up by some giant hoover to allow the views to emerge.
Our Amityville shack

The thoughts of a shower, water and clean clothes saw us descend the mountain at break neck speed, even Amanda who outpaced me on the uphills the day before was struggling. We collected the all important at the top of the mountain shots and raced to the bottom to wait for our taxi back to the base at the start of the national park ascent where Anley and his friend were due to meet us. We'd also met a French girl called Teresa who needed a ride back to Bayamo so we asked Anley if this would be ok and off we went. I almost forgot to mention we actually should've completed another trek to see the huts where Fidel and Che lived while in the Sierra but we had run out of water and energy to go so we decided to head back instead, some would argue why not make the extra bit of effort but if you go I'll let you test the trek out for yourselves then maybe you'll understand!
After getting back, showering and catching up on some much needed sleep we headed to meet Teresa, Anley and some of his friends for a night on the town, it ended up being a bit of a weird one; we started at the fiesta, went to a bar/ street cafe where you don't buy by the glass you buy by the bottle, Amanda bought a bottle of red wine so bad and so cheap even the locals wouldn't touch it! Then we couldn't get into a club so ended up gate crashing a 15 year olds birthday party [this is celebrated in Cuba kind of like a sweet 16 in the US or an 18th in UK/Europe etc] where we were treated a bit like stars being the only non-Hispanics there! After a 4.
At least the surrounding fauna was pretty
30am finish [and lots of rum] we were ready for bed, Mojito!!!!!!

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At a service station on the way to…
At a service station on the way t…
View over the Sierra Maestra
View over the Sierra Maestra
Our Amityville shack
Our Amityville shack
At least the surrounding fauna was…
At least the surrounding fauna wa…
Sunset over the Sierra Maestra
Sunset over the Sierra Maestra
Views at the start of day two of t…
Views at the start of day two of …
At the summit of Pico Turquino
At the summit of Pico Turquino
A new friend
A new friend
Back in Bayamo
Back in Bayamo
The kids get a treat before the ev…
The kids get a treat before the e…
Bayamo
photo by: Haselager