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Checking in our bicycles and through customs at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport went smoothly. Later, we had to wait on the runway for an hour because there was too much air traffic over London. Up on arrival in Cuba we encountered again some delay. Holguin Airport was closed due to a heavy thunderstorm and we started circling around the island. At the moment the captain had to divert to Montego Bay (Jamaica) because of low fuel, he received a clearance to land in Cuba.

Customs was no problem, all our bags got through ok, as did our bicycles. Because of the rain and the nightfall we took a taxi to the hotel. The next morning we walked through Holguin to get used to the time, the heat and the (new) culture.
Holguin is a lively city with a pleasant atmosphere. The shops in this third largest city of Cuba however were as empty as they would turn out to be everywhere in the country. After changing some dollars to pesos we could buy ice cream and Cuban pizza at the window-shops.

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The next day we started our cycle tour on the island. We cycled to Guardalavaca and spent two days in a resort. The resort was fun mostly because we went to the nearby dolphin show and swam with the dolphins, which was a very lovely thing to do. The resort itself gave us a bit of an awkward feeling because you can literally grab all the food you like while the people outside the gate only have the basic nourishment’s. Anything remotely resembling the idea of luxury is unthinkable in Cuba.

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Back in the real Cuban world we cycled from Guardalavaca to Mayari. The only hotel in the city claimed to be full and we had to cycle 40 kilometres in the wrong direction to the nearest tourist hotel. After the 97 kilometres we already rode that day it was not an option, especially since we would have to take the same road back the next day. We decided to take a taxi to the next city if nothing else came up. We circled through the city expecting to be asked to rent a room, as had been the case in all cities and villages we had passed through, but this time without any luck.

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