Travels with V
The fishes bite!
Sierra Maestra part two
Ulises asks us if we would like to go on a hike on horseback, up the creek and into the hills. And of course we do. So next day after breakfast his son is ready with the horses. None of us have much experience with horses, but it’s cool, the son walks in front and the horses are calm. It’s a relaxing swing to just go along with their trot, but when we get to the stony paths we have to hold on for dear life.
We follow the little stream upwards, through forest and here and there a little patch of farmland. After about half an hour we reach a small waterfall with a clear pool between large boulders. We change into swimsuits and dip into the fresh mountain water, it’s a bit chilly but not too cold. And the waterfall creates a natural jacuzzi for us.
While V splashes in the pool I put my feet in more shallow waters, where little fish suddenly appear, and nibble at my skin. It’s just a tickle, nothing more. Though later when we swim in another, larger pool downstream, larger fish do the same, and they bite hard! I leave the water quickly, but kids from the farms nearby gladly jump in and swim there while their mothers wash clothes on the rocks by the shore.
It turns out that quite a lot of people live in the mountains, Ulisies thinks it might be hundreds. There are no roads there so things like rice and oil and other necessities have to be carried. Some ride horses, carrying their goods in saddlebags, others go in pairs carrying the stuff on a stick between them.
On the other side of the wide riverbed there’s a small house that at looks abandoned, but one morning smoke comes out of the chimney. This it turns out is the local bakery, making bread twice a week. Pigs, chickens, sheep, goats and even horses walk free and roam the riverbed, it’s like a rural setting a hundred years ago. It’s a quiet world mostly, except for the afternoon thunder, the rustle of the creek and the birds chirping. We just love to sit in the rocking chairs and take it all in.
But when it rains, the creek swells to a rather fast running river. The way across is in parts just stepping stones in the creek, and they disappear under the flood. The locals have sturdy wellingtons, but we’re stuck on our side.
But today a new bridge is built leading over the riverbed to Casa Sierra Maestra, and we see on new pictures that the simple plywood guesthouse has been replaced by a new permanent house.
In the last chapter of our Cuban journey it’s time to visit an virtually unknown gem by the sea. Where wild African animals roam, we go to the beech in a jeep and swim with barracudas and scorpion fish.