I am officially back in the game. I’ve finished work; I’m back from my holiday and I have a whole month off before uni starts back up again. To kick things off I thought I’d share a few snaps from my trip to Cuba. We started off by spending a few days in the city of Havana, before heading out for seven days of relaxation in Varadero. From what I gather, these are two of the more popular areas for tourists to visit, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourists the whole time I was there.
To start our Havana experience, my dad really wanted to hire an old car (he had his heart set on a pink Cadillac!) and get a tour of the city. We ended up with a pink Ford that was made the year he was born, so I think he was a pretty happy bunny. We had a two hour tour, which took us from our hotel to a bunch of different places in the area. The first place we drove out to was a massive (under construction) Jesus statue, which had great views of the city. It was a bit grey that day so the view doesn’t come across nearly as good as it was!
We drove around the city for a while to get to revolution square, where we stopped for a bit to take in the space before slowly making our way back to the hotel. We chilled by the pool for the rest of the afternoon, as with temperatures of 37/38 degrees I was struggling with the heat and couldn’t bear going back out for more exploring!
On day two, we headed out map in hand to see the four main squares, Hemmingway’s bar and the capitol building. Our taxi dropped us in a familiar location and pointed us in the right direction, but we hung around the harbour for a bit to take in the view. It’s currently being turned into a cruise ship dock (I think) where one day ships will travel between Cuba and the US.
These were some of the views of the city I snapped on the way past. It’s amazing how dated the city felt but at the same time how welcoming and friendly most people were. I’ve been to Jamaica and St. Lucia in the past, and the way I felt in Cuba just doesn’t compare. We were advised not to leave the hotel when we went to Jamaica, and the story was similar in St. Lucia but there were a few more excursions to go on, but Cuba is hands down the safest I’ve felt. It’s more like Spain than the Caribbean.
Next on the agenda was Hemmingway’s bar. It was really crowded when we arrived with live music playing and everyone from locals to tourists present. We eventually found somewhere to sit and were bought our drinks; two beers for the boys, a screwdriver for my mum (much less exciting than it sounds: just a vodka orange) and a strawberry daiquiri for me, as I’m clearly the most sophisticated. One thing I will say for Cuba is that they are very generous with their alcohol. A little goes a long way with me, and a lot of the drinks I had were much too strong for my tastes, but the daiquiri was okay when the ice had melted a little.
Tired and hot, we headed back to our hotel earlier than planned, but not before making a dinner reservation first. I didn’t take any photos of the restaurant or the food, but it really was fantastic. The next day my parents decided that they wanted to go and see the Capitol that we had missed from the day before, and my dad wanted to go and take some photos outside a war museum, so my brother and I decided to leave them to it as we really only had about an hour and a half before our transfer was due to take us to the next hotel.
I cracked out the fisheye lens for my last couple of Havana hotel shots, and we made our way to Varadero.
Unfortunately I was ill for around four of the seven days we stayed in Varadero, so I didn’t take many photos and we didn’t actually do an awful lot either.
The one thing we did do, was take a trip into the town centre which is where the markets are. They had a whole host of different things to sell, but with less pressure to buy than what I’m used to which was nice. We only stayed about an hour as it was blisteringly hot, and I only took a couple of photos. The first is the taxi that drove us the short distance to the markets. They do have yellow cabs around Cuba, so when we ordered a taxi that’s what I expected to turn up. However, getting a ride in this bad boy is an experience I won’t be forgetting any time soon!
Overall I had a really lovely time in Cuba and it’s just a shame I missed out on some of the experience because I wasn’t feeling great. If you’ve been to Cuba before let me know how you found it, as I’d love to go again some day.