Cuba. The name alone evokes strong sentiment. Revolution, Bay of Pigs, Communism, Cold War, Nuclear War, Fidel, Che, what does it mean to you?
To me, it is an opportunity to travel through a living piece of history, and try (and fail) to understand what this small island in the Caribbean is, not only to itself, and also to the world at large.
We flew on Cubana Air, surprisingly modern, a short flight from Cancun, yet more than world away. Upon arrival, we were met by our transfer.
A sign of our two-week visit, the 1950’s Chevy started without a problem, and sixty years after being built, transported us back in time to central Havana to our casa de particular (homestay). We were warmly welcomed by our hosts, who shared the two bedroom apartment with us for the next three days.
It is difficult to describe what Cuba is, and how it feels. The description I favour is as follows; “a living museum, where time stopped in the 1950’s with the revolutionary overthrow of government by Fidel, Che and co.. Apart from a trickle of goods and services from the USSR, and other countries sympathetic to the Cuban cause, all that remains is what existed in the 1950’s….”
To say it is breathtaking would be a massive understatement, and we spent the first few days wandering around in Havana and the immediate surrounds in amazement at the preservation that has taken place (by necessity).
We soaked up as much of the world heritage city as we could, then headed south-east to Trinidad.
From one world heritage city to another, Trinidad did not disappoint. We continued to stay in homestay accommodation, which landed us in a 400 year old colonial mansion!
The few days spent here were nothing short of incredible, as we wandered cobblestone streets, enjoyed a local festival where we drank mojitos for 25 cents a pop!, and enjoyed fantastic Cuban live music at night. We ate like kings, with whole lobster and giant fish plates served for lunch and dinner, after huge breakfasts of fresh fruit and eggs, food heaven……We also found time to take a day trip out to a former sugar cane plantation, on a steam train, so cool!
The art was also a feature of Trinidad, so many pieces to choose from, including this very unique piece below.
We continued on to Santa Clara after a few days in Trinidad. We stayed longer due to this:
Santa Clara reeked of history,it is famed for an amazing victory during the revolution, delivered by Mr Guevara himself.
The bulldozer above was a crucial war tool, as Che and his brigade used it to derail a train filled with weapons and soldiers heading for battle.
After Santa Clara, it was time to go to a Caribbean beach, Cayo Coco, where we enjoyed a four star all-inclusive resort or next to nothing, heaven!
An awesome two weeks in Cuba, whilst we may not understand it, we certainly thought it to be one of the best countries either of us have ever been!