From Bayamo, I headed up to the Sierra Maestra, home to the highest peak in Cuba (Pico Turquino), and historic guerilla headquarters. Unfortunately Hannah wasn't able to come along too, but I was able to join another group of people exploring this amazing place. The road up to the encampment from the nearest village - Santo Domingo is almost unbelievably steep. From the carpark, there is a great walk through the jungle to get to the former guerilla headquarters, and there were some beautiful jungle plants and orchids on the way.
After a few kilometres of walking we got to the historic guerilla encampment that the Cuban revolution was led from. Its almost incredible to think that it started from 12 people, who had landed a boat nearby (the Granma) and of the original 82 rebels on the Granma, 70 had been killed as they landed. Fidel Castro was one of these 12 survivors, and in the wild, steep hills of the Sierra Maestra he marshalled his forces and grew his army, and two years later successfully defeating the Battista forces and took over Cuba. Coming from NZ, where slow news days feature reports like Three-legged dog steals dog roll from Invercargill dairy its hard to imagine a revolution happening in our sleepy corner of the world! The encampment has simple barracks with thatched roofs, the cook house and basic medical centre which are still in place.
Fidel's house was a little fancier, it even had a gas powered fridge and several escape routes in case it was attacked. Can you spot the dent on the lower right side of the fridge? That's a bullet hole, it got there when they were unloading it from their boat under gun fire.
At the top of Pico Turquino was where the guerilla fighters established their radio station, Radio Rebelde, in 1958. At risk of torture and execution, they started broadcasting on the outcomes of guerilla battles and the imminent victory of the Guerilla forces. Radio Rebelde is now the national radio station of Cuba. In NZ there is a radio station that is proud that they once broadcast from a boat without a licence. I think Radio Rebelde wins this one.
Overall, it was a great day and a fascinating insight into a site of significant political history.