Cuba is a wonderful country. Its architecture is stunning, its nature breath-taking and its people friendly. There’s a gallery you can see to get a feeling of what it’s like there.
I really recommend visiting Cuba because one can learn a lot about life from people who have almost nothing and still they are so happy…
March 11., Sunday
We’ve departed from Gdańsk and arrived to Madrid. The weather in Madrid was so-so – it was raining and chilly – but we made the most of this short visit, having a long walk through the city centre and enjoying bars or cafes.
March 12., Monday
We’ve eaten a breakfast, packed our stuff and headed to the airport. We’ve spent the rest of that day travelling and arrived to Havana around 11pm (local time).
Next we’ve taken a taxi and went to Isabel’s place, a wonderful house of a very nice and friendly couple, Mrs Isabel and Mr Felix. After our arrival, we’ve only had a bit of guava juice and went to sleep.
March 13., Tuesday
Walking on feet all day, we’ve visited Habana Vieja, old part of the city. We’ve seen El Capitolio, the railway station and lots of small streets and cute places.
At lunch-time, we went to the Van Van pub and liked it very much. They serve great mojitos (some of the strongest ones I’ve ever had!) and tostones rellenos (a kind of banana but non-sweet one, treated as a vegetable) with tuna.
We’ve also visited El Morro castle with a lighthouse. I like lighthouses very much and this one looks particularly impressive from afar. Below it the waves were smashing into rocks making hell of a noise – really worth visiting!
On this day our host told us that the next day it’s his wife’s birthday.
March 14., Wednesday
We decided to buy some flowers for Isabel, but had no idea where because my OSM map had no flower shops on it. Fortunately for us that day in the morning a guy selling flowers passed us on a bike, so we’ve bought some and brought back home. Isabel was happy and invited us to a little party in the evening.
We wondered the streets of Habana Vieja for another day and went to Van Van again. They served same good mojito and this time a group of musicians was playing live music. I felt in love with their performance of Chica de Ipanema. I even bought their CD and had them sign it for me. The band’s name was Carlos y Son Callejero if I recall correctly.
In the evening we went to the birthday party and we liked it a lot. Isabel and Felix were so kind, all guests so open and nice… It was one of the most wonderful memories of the whole visit to Cuba.
March 15., Thursday
After a very nice Wednesday evening, Thursday morning turned out a bit less wonderful as our Viazul bus didn’t take us to Viñales (we’ve bought tickets well in advance over the internet but for some reason their system hadn’t got our reservation). There were more people like us so we’ve taken a taxi because nobody could guarantee that the next bus would take us.
After arrival to Viñales we were welcomed with sandwiches and juice, then with some mojito too. Our host took a walk with us to show us his finca: coffee and tobacco plantation. We also tasted one of cigars and a bit of his own coffee. It was unlike any other coffee I’ve had in my entire life: strong, almost thick, with some chocolate notes. Very interesting experience!
March 16., Friday
We took a horse-trip around the national park of Viñales. It was a very hot day but we had enough water with us. The park was wonderful, esp. all the views around us and the “Valley of Silence” near the end of our trip.
March 17., Saturday
We visited Cueva de Santo Thomas and Cueva del Indios. The former was incredibly interesting and full of living creatures (bats, frogs, crickets, spiders and crabs), deep and not so easy to walk through. Our guide walked us through two levels of that cave and had shown us some marvelous rock formations, one of them looking like a rib cage. Then he asked us to stay silent and started hitting it with his fingers, playing an underground concert for the people visiting the cave – it was incredible.
The other cafe (del Indios) was far less interesting, mostly because it was full of people talking loudly and leaving loads of rubbish around them.
March 18., Sunday
We went to Trinidad, but not without trouble. Our driver had to pick up ten or more people so it turned out we didn’t have to wake up so early (6am).
After arrival to Trinidad we went for a walk, took some pictures and ate a supper in La Redaccion restaurant. It was very good.
March 19., Monday
We walked some more, visited a little art museum (where the actual art was much less interesting than the building it was located in, walls still covered with original decorations…). We visited a chess club, bought a card to access internet and departed to Cienfuegos.
In Cienfuegos we had another walk and found the city as nice as Trinidad, but much poorer and therefore everything was in worse condition / of lower quality. It was sad because otherwise this city is very nice.
March 20., Tuesday
We went for a walk through the city, visited Casa del Cultura, eaten a dinner in La Verja and left the city with a Viazul bus (this time it worked).
After arrival to Havana we checked in to our accommodation. It was a very nice and clean place, our host (Cary) spoke very good English. She was also very nice and helpful.
We went to Encuentro for drinks. The place was nice and cosy but it felt much more “western” than the rest of Cuba (or even Havana), esp. the drinks were less “Cuban”.
March 21., Wednesday
Beach day! We went to Santa María del Mar and enjoyed it for half a day or so. Then we came back to Havana and ate a dinner in El RumRum.
March 22., Thursday
That was our last day. We went for our last walk, bought some souvenirs and went to the airport.
- El MiniBar, Meson de Panos, 1
- Vista al Mar, Cary y Rodolfo, Calle L #2, apartment 4
- Mireya y Eliecer, Jose Marti 446 (Altos), e/ Fidel claro y Piro Guinart
- La Redaccion Restaurant & Bar (“Cuban cuisine with a European twist”), calle Maceo 463