A few years ago I took a three-week holiday to Cuba during the depth of a particularly cold winter here with rain, snow, and not a ray of sunshine in sight. While I had no idea the weather was going to be that bad when I booked my trip sometime in the previous autumn, I have to say that knowing I was escaping such dreariness was almost as good as the trip itself.
I flew into Havana, as most people coming from Europe do, and spent a couple of days in the glorious capital and strolling round the city’s amazing harbour. I couldn’t get over how what for me felt like a proper summer, the locals said was a bit cold for the winter season for them.
As if the food, music, sites and sounds of Havana wasn’t enough, I did want to spend some time on a motorbike and see the interior of the country. Like many teenagers I had huge admiration for Che Guevara without actually understanding what he did or who he was. I had read some of his writings on the Cuban Revolution and had always maintained a fascination in Cuban’s interior.
From the back of my motorbike, it didn’t in any way disappoint! Most of the mountains I’ve spent time in are the kind that have pockets of snow on them year-round and can rarely be reached in winter, but the mountains in Cuban were warm and verdant. They were so green that they almost looked blue in the mornings when the valleys were blanketed in a mist.
And it wasn’t just the mountains that gave me so much joy on that bike trip, but for all the beauty of the seaside in Havana there’s perhaps more to be found in the countryside. The beaches are absolutely beautiful and the small villages that are scattered along the coast are what one would expect. Cuba has excellent health care, but the internet infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired, so being disconnected from the rest of the world made the trip even more amazing.
It was certainly the best place I had ever been for a motorbike escape, especially in the dead of winter.