I kept notes on Google Keep during this trip. I won’t change any of these, just copy-paste it.
Exhausting immigration – November 7, 2014
We are in the immigration line since almost an hour. It is hot, slow and exhausting. It seems after the first check there is another one. I am tired and just can’t figure what they are afraid of? Someone steeling poverty or Castro?
First breakfast – November 8, 2014
At our first breakfast there is Desperados in the TV. Makes me remember last year Mexico.
Playa Santa Lucia – November 9, 2014
Sometimes the good will is really not enough. We tried to take a walk at 9 AM, but it is too hot.
Now we see 5 people with one fork and a tractor who want to clean the beach. They take turns but still their work doesn’t make any difference. The beach is still dirty when they leave.
What a difference could one machine make which only would need one person.
CUC and Cuban Pesos – November 10, 2014
How does this even work with the two different valuta in Cuba? If they earn 250 pesos – more or less 10 CUC – how come a bottle of water can cost 2,5 CUC?
Casa particular – November 12th, 2014
The owners of these places seem to be freelancers since ever who also weigh the cheese you get for breakfast. Don’t wait for a Cuban old men with cigar swinging in his rocking chair instead of try weighing the money, like you’d be home and choose the places outside the Casa. That is the way to help Cuba, the Casa Particular is more a network of lucky people, who had enough money to sell a room for 25 CUC – aka 25 USD – per night and want to add to this 5 USD per person for breakfast. (if you also want to have an extra egg, you add an extra dollar). A mafia which only helps to create to separate the social classes and creates unknown differences. Don’t like…
Camagüey – November 12th, 2014
This was the stop where we acknowledged as a fact that Lonely Planet in Cuba is not reliable.
Already in Santa Lucia we faced problems with their facts but here….we found restaurants which were closed, 24 hours pubs which actually were open 12 hours, and most importantly we feared this city since it has been announced that there are pickpockets. We had NO delusions, the city was nice and calm, even in the evenings.
A beautiful place with a UNESCO heritage center loads but really loads of good restaurants and a casa (really) particular which changed our trip. You can mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org, Alejandro will be happy to help you!
Menu – November 12th, 2014
Curious fact: in restaurants I never get a menu, only Giorgio…
Cuban music – November 13th, 2014
In Trinidad you can find everything. A beautiful beach – Playa Ancón, where snorkelling an hour costs 10 CUC pro person – places to drink Mojitos, museums and finally music.
Until this stop we thought two things about Cuba: all old men sit infront of their houses smoking cigars. These old men sometimes sing and play some music.
None of this is true until you get here. This is a touristic pearl less Cuban than anything else, you see in other cities. Every second house is to let, everyone has a taxi or a café. Here you can find Restaurants in every corner and musicians who after some Guantanamera and Chan Chan offer you their homemade CD-s for 10 CUC. After we bought 2 CD-s and almost 10 Cocktails each we found that Trinidad is the best Cuban town ever. (Tourists…)
Tip: fresh bread costs around 3 pesos cubanos, is freshly made and heals the need for food on your way home after the cocktails.
McRon and IKEA – November 14th, 2014
There is no known globalism here. When McDonald’s gets here, will offer banana chips, while IKEA invites you to put together your own rocking chair. LOL beautiful place first day when I haven’t even thought about not having internet.
Drinks in Cuba – November 14th, 2014
We are vegetarians so all we could eat was white rise, sala made of vegetables of the season (cucumber tomato and cowl every time), banana chips and drinks. We tried every type of rise, white rise with black beans, white rise with veggies, paella with veggies. Interestingly there was no potato on the menu. Maybe it is no season?
Holy Cristal and Mojito made our trip enjoyable. I had a light diarrhea after 5 days during the whole trip – might be the ice.
Berry Moré (Cienfuegos) – November 15th, 2014
He was a very famous singer who started his carrier in Cienfuegos.
There is a bar named after him on El Prado. The bar is sad, one of the worst I’ve ever been at. The Cubans come here usually just to use the bathroom.
There also is a TV showing Berry Moré-s performances.
Being the only guest the waiters didn’t let themselves disturb by our presence and continued smoking and drinking their own beers (11:30 AM).
Valle de los Ingenios – November 16th, 2014
Framboyan, the typical tree giving enough shadow to be the preferable choice
Vinales – November 17th 2014
A whole day in the valley going on a long 15 km walk which highlight is bathing in a natural lake in a cave. A grave which in Europe would be lighted, prepared with small streets to watch the quartz formulations and at least two people looking at you during the walk that you either touch nor break or take away anything.
Here we walked through a tobacco field all alone with a guy, and once arrived at the cave we had one guide with one light for 10 people. He gabe another light to a guy who walked behind and that’s it. We walked 300 meters in the darkest dark on ad-hoc bridges over the water to reach the lake (without light) . We renounced on bathing enjoyed though this strange freedom which in Europe with the regulated regulations is all unknown
Street thought – November 18th, 2014
There are so many Cubans on the street. In the morning going at work, those looking at them from their gardens, during the day in the parks, in the evening in their rocking chairs. Will all these people sit in front of their houses when there will be internet or sit inside looking at their cellphones and tablets?
News in Cuba – November 18th, 2014
We had the pleasure to see in one of the casas the news on a Cuban channel.
It was only good news. First day Raúl inaugurated some photo-voltaic park somewhere in the country then there was some new construction in Havana saving old houses, then good sports news from Veracruz 2014 and so on. The only bad news was from some neighbor country which performed worse than Cuba in grain production or so.
Our news starts usually with someone who has been assassinated then it goes over to strikes, health problems, wars around the world, inflation, government issues.
However when I see that people here have no money for even using buses and are in the road hitchhiking – in the middle of the tollway, literally between the second and third lane – or waiting for a “collectivo” (a truck carrying people) I see no reason why they should be kept with this intoxicating mixture of happy Cuban music, cheep tobacco and rum and good news.
Nauseating to think I was raised in a similar country (which seemingly goes back to the same political ideals of keep the people stupid and give them no power nor freedom to form their own ideas.)
Last day Havana – November 19, 2014
We left only one day for Havana. The city is big, chaotic and the after we saw the “best museum” according to Lonely Planet – El museo de la revolucion – we were convinced that one day will be enough to satisfy our interests.
We took a long walk in Havana Vieja, saw the four squares some of the most beautiful streets and drank the last mojitos.
It was raining, a beauty in the zone of the port but it made impossible visiting the Hemingway museum – the tunnel gets filled with water when it rains.
I have so many memories, thoughts and hopes for this country. I believe it was the best moment to visit, we saw the beginnings of a changing ambient, something where a double-money started dividing the classes more than capitalism ever could. We saw the poor, street dogs thin like pencils – this actually made me want to leave the most this country. Animals in poor condition, exploited or let on their destiny -, we saw cities where anything you see needs reconstruction.
When we return it won’t be the same. Not even in a year you can trust our notes, the Lonely Planet 2013 October edition appeared to be almost useless…just a year and opening hours, places, prices, quality changes.
I will miss the goodness of Cuban people, the feeling never to fear anyone, not even in the poorest streets. I won’t miss the smog, the rests of a communist state where working only means to have the power to control a small reality but not creating happiness or allowing to build the base for a good future.
It was good to be here.
You also can watch our photos