We went off to Cuba via Mexico city- I night stay but packed a lot into it- visiting the wonderful cathedral in the city centre that is gradually sinking . Had dinner in an amazing restaurant in the old town – walls covered in tiles. Recommended by friendly passenger in passport queue- who also stressed how dangerous the place was- so we are totally neurotic about being mugged. Anyway, we escaped Mexico without calamity and have landed in Havana- a city of music, sensational buildings and 1950s American cars. Stayed at Hotel Florida-excellent hotel in what was a villa-lovely courtyard-sky high ceilings. Booked through Cubaism- they seem to get better deals than anyone else. It’sgreat to feel safe- there is some petty theft in Cuba but you do not feel threatened.
Having had various mojitos and daquiris- we discovered old Cuban rum- excellent to go with the cigars. Went on an interesting 45 min trip around the Partagas cigar factory- recommended. Getting slightly fed up seeing so much Ernest Hemingway- his favorite bar, his favorite restaurant etc.. Following recommendations we found 2 excellent restaurants- Templete for lunch (at the harbour) and La Paila for dinner- this is family run, a 20 min taxi drive from Old havana-but well worth it.
Have hired car to drive down to Trinidad. Having seen that a) there are no road signs in this country, b) there are giant pot holes even in motor ways, c) people stop on the fast lanr to buy food from vendors who stand in the central reservation, d) cows and goats cross over the roads- I bottled out and recruited Ernesto who drove for us- recommended by car hire company. He ignored anything that Davina said to him, and his English was not as good as he made out, and many detours were made to see his mates, but he got us there in 1 piece. We did a home stay at Milagrossa- no 1 in tripadvisor- highly recommended- 25 pesos a day (c £20.00) for the room, plus excellent dinner every night.
Loved old Trinidad and finally had good weather- so off to the beach everyday. First day am went to ghastly all inclusive- built like a camp, but then found a beach which had a great restauarant and only c 6-8 people there, plus good snorkeling. I day the fishermen netted a hammerhead shark! Went to a music club 1 evening where BK performed the salsa steps that Bury (at Milagrossa) had painstakingly and patiently taught him.
Back to Havana and off to the ballet for a gala performance for world woman’s day. Before the performance started we were shown a propaganda movie and then a long speech with many references to the revolution and comrades. All the revolutionaries here are older than me so Cuba is in a bit of a time warp- but pictures of young Che Guevara are everywhere- reminded me of my university days.
Finally our last night- we are going off to see a concert with 2 members of the original Buena Vista social club performing, and then we set off home tomorrow evening and am looking forward to seeing all our friends and family.Were on our way home-over and out!