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A pioneering journey at the invitation of Castro

date of entry 20/12/2007
mileage 617,715

capital Havanna

area 109.884,01 km²

population 11.210.064

GDP 78.694 M. US-Dollar

official language Spanish

Otto’s trip to Cuba was a historic event. He was the first foreign-registered and privately owned vehicle to arrive on the island since the revolution of 1959. His permit was issued in person by Raúl Castro, the brother and deputy of the country’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
  • The province of Guantánamo has the island’s only international border: Guantánamo Bay is home to a US Navy base and the notorious internment camp.
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  • Otto was the first foreign-registered car since 1959 to drive through the old Spanish city of Havana
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  • He was almost twenty years old in 2007, but was still much younger than the ancient jalopies for which Cuba is known. Until a few years ago, it was illegal to sell cars unless they had been imported before the 1959 revolution.
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  • This Ford model A dates from 1928, which is old even by Cuban standards. Otto was made an honorary citizen for the duration of the trip, and was given a Cuban numberplate.
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  • "These apartment blocks are just like those in East Berlin used to be," Gunther says. "This is socialism, pure and simple."
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  • Images of the communist revolution are everywhere. The máximo líder himself, Fidel Castro…
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  • Guerilla icon Che Guevara…
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  • … and communist thinker Karl Marx
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  • Gunther says this avenue of palms was planted before the revolution. Today, there is still little traffic.
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  • Needs must: a truck converted into a bus
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  • These rock paintings in Valle de las dos Hermanas, near Viñales, were done in 1961 by the Mexican artist Leovigildo González Morillo
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  • Gunther, Christine and Otto mainly travelled in rural areas
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  • "We felt totally safe everywhere in the country," Gunther said. "We could basically sleep anywhere we liked."
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  • A worker in a tobacco field. Cuba is world renowned for its cigars…
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  • … and most are still hand wrapped
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  • Schoolchildren playing on a cannon from the Spanish colonial era
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  • Two street musicians in Havana, à la Buena Vista Social Club
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  • This mom-and-pop store offers a typically Cuban range of products: rum, sugar, and curd soap. There wasn’t much to buy…
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  • … ... and most food was rationed
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  • Free beer on 1 January, the anniversary of the Cuban Revolution
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  • Most tourists see little of this – they spend their holidays in hotels on the Varadero Peninsula
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  • Video: Cuba: Proving that nothing is impossible