The history book was followed by an amply illustrated, one-of-a-kind guide book that moves from east to west, from the second oldest European settlement in the Americas — Baracoa — through Santa Clara where tourists can visit the remains of Che Guevara — to Havana, one of the greatest cities on the Earth.
It is exclusively devoted to historical sites.
101 TOP HISTORICAL SITES OF CUBA (Beach Holme 2004)
In 1998, after covering Pope John Paul II’s first Cuban mass in Santa Clara for The Province newspaper, Alan Twigg was stranded for eight hours in a Cuba airport, waiting out a mild hurricane. He started to gather notes about Cuban history. He didn’t stop.
Since then he has traveled throughout Cuba, from the off-limits birthplace of El Presidente to the Virgin of Copper basilica (Cuba’s most sacred site), to the seldom-visited landing site for Fidel Castro’s rag-tag revolutionaries at Playa las Colorados.
“I’ve seen rallies for Elian Gonzalez in Bayamo and visited the Bay of Pigs. I’ve seen the abandoned Soviet nuclear power plant in Cienfuegos and stood beneath that gigantic Che Guevara memorial in Santa Clara
“I’ve seen the Guantánamo Naval Base and bought trinkets in the postcard-perfect streets of Trinidad. I’ve gazed at the mists above Pico Turquino and dawdled in the Celia Sánchez museum in Pilón. I saw the Cross of Columbus (allegedly the oldest European relic in the Americas) and explored Cuba’s legacy of slavery with a santeria babalawo (medium) in El Cobre, the site of the oldest, continually operational open pit mine in the Americas.
“All of which I’ve left out of the history book. I’m not all that keen on those ‘travel writer as hero’ books. If you’re carrying a Visa card, you’re hardly Indiana Jones. I mostly wanted to provide a perspective that was not duly influenced by either American or Cuban prejudices and ideologies. Give people information so they can make up their own minds about Cuba.
“For some wide-eyed people, it’s paradise. For some who know more, it’s a police state. It’s not for me to say.”