Travels with V


The train that changed history

Santa Clara

We leave Las Terrazas on a bus going back to Havana, where we hop on another bus driving along Cuba’s main transport route, the A1. It’s a road that makes its way across the whole island, although some parts of it in the east are not yet finished.

We disembark in Santa Clara in central Cuba, one of the hottest places in the country and a dusty and a bit run down town with lots of memories from the drama of the revolution.

Santa Clara became the scene of the last battle of the revolution, where Che Guevara’s troops defeated Batista’s. An enormous prestige loss for the US-supported dictator, who sent more troops by train to Santa Clara. But Che’s men found out which train they were on, and removed the rails with a bulldozer. This made the train crash and the soldiers on board were made easy targets for the revolutionaries.

The incident, known in Cuba as “Tren blindado” in now commemorated with a monument in the spot where it happened. And some of the carriages are still there. As well as the actual bulldozer used. 

We stay in a casa particolar run by Gladys and Ramón, a lovely middle-aged couple. When they were younger they were volunteers in Fidel’s alphabetization campaign, and red hot revolutionaries. The entire people was to be taught reading and writing, and Gladys and Ramón were sent out to different parts of the country.

Just up the street from their house there’s a house with bullet holes in the walls, evidence of a shootout around what was back then a police station. History is very much alive here.

Throughout the city, wherever you raise your gaze, you see the enormous statue of Che Guevara, by the mausoleum where his remains are buried. The statue stands on a column and is seven meters tall, depicting the hero almost leaping forward. There are many other statues of Che in Santa Clara, and they all picture a man taking huge steps ahead, restless.

The mausoleum also holds the remains of the 29 men who joined Che’s group in Bolivia and were captured and shot by the military in 1967. There is also a small museum with objects that belonged to Che, his glasses, rifle, etc, and his farewell letter to Fidel. The burial site is 50 meters behind the mausoleum, with an eternal flame burning.

Unfortunately for me I’m hit with a mean stomach illness in Santa Clara and have to take things very easy. In the evening I manage to rise and we walk slowly over to the paladar La Terraza, on a nearby rooftop. An extremely nice restaurant with white linen on the tables and a red carpet. A birthday party is held for an old man. I’m served a fresh grilled fish and immediately feel better. We can move on.

Next we’re overwhelmed by the city that carries the same name as the lost hero. Palaces shining in the sun, our toes in the salt sea.

Leave a comment

Jag som gör den här resebloggen heter Lars Aldman och jag har tidigare jobbat som journalist mm på SR och SVT. Och "V" som jag reser med är min älskade hustru Veronica, journalist och fotograf.

Vår favoritsysselsättning är att resa runt i världen och se andra kulturer och samhällen. I flera år har vi äventyrat i Asien, Afrika och Latinamerika, och även naturligtvis i Europa. Och vi vill gärna dela med oss av våra erfarenheter och glädjeämnen, och hoppas att ni vill följa med oss!

PS. På sajten hittar ni mina bilder från både när och (mest) fjärran. Djur, natur, samhällen och människor.
Resebloggar finns det gott om men vi har en lite annan tanke med våra berättelser. Vi vill främst beskriva våra upplevelser av udda platser, människorna vi möter och miljöer som är rätt annorlunda mot vad vi möter hemma.

Därför hamnar vi ibland i avlägsna indianbyar i Guatemalas berg eller bland andetroende bybor på en ö i Indonesien. Men också på mer kända platser som Machu Picchu i Peru eller sandstränderna i Goa. Allt sett genom våra ögon och kameror.

Den som vill ha restips får också sitt - varje resmål har en avdelning med sånt vi kan rekommendera. Eller undvika. Vårt fokus är framför allt att sporra er läsare att göra som vi - resa rätt ut i den vida världen.

Jag heter Lars Aldman och har bl a jobbat som journalist mm på SR och SVT.  Och "V" som jag reser med är min älskade hustru Veronica, som också är journalist och fotograf. Vi älskar att resa och uppleva andra kulturer. I flera år har vi rest omkring i världens fyra hörn och vi vill gärna dela med oss av våra erfarenheter och glädjeämnen på dessa upptäcktsfärder. Hoppas ni vill följa med!


Vår senaste resa gick till Albanien där vi under tre veckor upplevde detta okända men så spännande och vackra land. Från de hisnande höga bergen i norr, de gamla städerna och de djupa floddalarna i landets mitt, till de långa stränderna med sitt klara vatten i söder. Klicka på Albanien och läs om landets dramatiska historia och dess vänliga och gästfria invånare.


There's now a new addition to the blog, about our trip to Albania. During three weeks we traveled up and down this unknown but beautiful country. From the high mountains in the north to the ancient towns and the deep valleys inland, to the sandy beaches and the clear green water in the south. Click on Albania in the map and read about its dramatic history and kind and hospitable people.

I'm Lars Aldman from Sweden. I worked for many years at the Swedish National TV and Radio, but now my main interest is traveling around the world with "V", my lovely wife Veronica, who is a freelance journalist and photographer.
For the last ten years we have traveled through Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. We love to experience different cultures and societies and we hope you'll join us!