About five years ago I had been there before, Gibara. A quiet town in the east of Cuba about 30 kilometers under the smoke of Holguín.
Five years ago there was not much going on here. No hotel, casa particular or paladar in sight and only a neglected and abandoned Malecon. The search for a paladar was therefore very long and we finally found one after much searching and asking.
Now five years later it is different. Casas particulares and paladares on almost every corner of the street and there are even two hotels.
But what fascinates me most in Gibara is the tower at the entrance to the city. I also saw him five years ago. An abandoned tower, probably from the time of the Spanish Inquisition.
Fascinated as I am by old and abandoned buildings, I wanted to enter here. But how do you do that? The entrance is at a height of 3 meters from the road surface on a mountainous piece of land.
Until the day that I stayed with my wife in Casa Sol y Mar and we went exploring the village with rented bikes. Of course we passed the tower.
I could not resist the temptation to throw my bike up the mountain and start a small hike up. My wife, not so interested in culture and history, waited quietly in the shade below for me.
I walk upstairs and first come across a noisy skinny hard barking dog. After chasing them away and continuing my journey I suddenly come across an old man who comes out of a little house hidden behind a few bushes. I kindly greet him and ask if I can take some pictures of the tower. He thinks it’s best and in the meantime he starts to tell everything about the tower, as he indeed appears to be from the time of the Spanish Inquisition, to be precise from 1816 as a kind of defense work piracy. When I ask if I can go into the tower, he answers that this is going well, but it is very difficult. I take some more photos and thank the man warmly and give him 1 CUC.
Whereupon the man enters his house and returns a few seconds later with something that has to pass a ladder. He beckons me to come, and I follow him. Very coincidentally, the ladder appears to be exactly high enough to reach the entrance to the tower.
I venture up the ladder to a height from which I can look into the tower. Sube sube calls the old man. Encouraging me to go further and enter the tower. I am now about six meters high and what the good man (and my wife, who is now taking pictures of me) do not know is that I am bursting with fear of heights. Anyway whoever says A must say B and I climb up to enter the tower.
There is not much to see inside, a hollow space that is completely overgrown with bushes. There are probably two floors with wooden floors and a roof that have been rotten away. It is really a shame that this is being allowed to pamper.
My curiosity is satisfied and I descend the ladder again. Which, incidentally, is nothing more than two thin tree trunks with cross branches that are also at an uneven height.
Proud of myself that I have done this, I come down again where my wife looks at me reproachfully. Do you know what could have happened if you had fallen off that ladder …?
I once again give the old man 1 CUC for this wonderful experience. He gives me a broad smile. He has earned in less than half an hour what he normally has to work for a week.