A Travellerspoint blog

Beautiful Cuba Part 1

Havana, pre tour.

Welcome to my adventures of Cuba!! I will have to split this in a few parts as it will be huge!
I've been blogging it on my phone as I go, usually at the end of each day so I remember, now to piece is together so you can enjoy!
It was the most amazing hectic trip yet!

It’s midnight day two, just got home from the best couple of days exploring Havana with new friends Tanita and Ryan, but here’s how it all started...

It’s funny, I got off the plane in Havana and before I’d even hit the customs line I wanted to burst into tears and get back on the plane and go back to the US as fast as possible. I was shitting myself, alone, in a 2nd world country where English isn’t their first language, I didn’t exchange any money before coming and I didn’t know if my cards would work?! I didn't even know the name of my guesthouse where I was staying! I've travelled several times solo and never had a second thought until now, fear took hold of me and I had to collect myself and keep going!

I managed my way through customs and went out to the arrivals hall and thank goodness there was a man with a sign of the company I was touring with. He knew my name so I followed him into a cab and he drove me about 25 minutes to a boarding house where the house keeper didn’t speak much English.

There on the porch reading a book was Tanita, finally a family sounding voice that spoke English! Proper English from England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 she offered to help me after I settled in to find an ATM, wifi card and some bottled water. She has just finished a similar tour that I was about to start. Quiet a few daiquiris later and had dinner in a funky cafe! When we came back to the guesthouse we ran into Ryan who initially we thought was a local but turns out he’s from Sydney! He was just as relieved as we were to hear a friendly familiar voices and one Australian accent!

The next day we made plans to explore Old Havana together and visit all the Ernst Hemingway places. The hotel he stayed in, his home and the 2 bars he drank at and we got a taxi to take us into Old Havana, it was super cool! This was our taxi

We walked around Old Havana taking in the old buildings and classic cars!

We eventually found the Ambos Mundos Hotel where Hemingway kept a room in 1939 and we were able to have a look around. No wonder he was inspired to write with a gorgeous view from his window!

A quick rooftop visit at the hotel and we set off to the 2 bars Hemingway made famous, both attract many tours and tourists like us to follow his words and have a cocktail or 2. Both had live music also which added to the experience!
"My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita"

We found a quirky cafe, almost like a diner filled with Coca Cola memorabilia. They put Australian flags in our food which was a lovely reminder of home.
Clearly a few cocktails in!

After lunch we rented a classic car for the afternoon to drive us out to visit the Hemingway house about 24kms from Havana. It was a beautiful afternoon driving around with the open top. The house is supposedly kept from when Hemingway left to return to the US, still having over 9000 books in his collection. You can't enter the rooms, you stand at doors and windows and look inside.

That night we ticked off a bucket list visit to see the Buena Visit Social Club! There is 2 venues in Havana, we chose the outdoor one.
It was vibrant and lots of dancing! People (tourists and locals) enjoying themselves immensely. A large cruise liner had arrived in town and most of the crowd were from the ship. I was introduced to the music of the Buena Vista Social Club many years ago working for my brother in his business in North Melbourne where we used to play a CD of theirs and I loved it ever since! They are a large group of Cuban musicians formed in the late 90's playing music from the 30's-60's pre revolution. I highly recommend a listen!

Tomorrow we have another day planned of exploring Old Havana before we meet our tour group and say farewell to Tanita.
Tanita is heading back to the UK and I will catch up with her again in June!!

Can't wait for more adventures tomorrow and the tour hasn't even begun yet!
L xx

Posted by mslaurajade 10:53 Archived in Cuba Tagged travel cuba friends havana tour holidays blog

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