Cuba - Hustle, Bustle and Cars
I'd arrived in Cuba at last - and as I stepped out of the airport doors - it was everything I'd imagined and more!
I couldn't believe my eyes when a very old American van with a taxi sign on the front pulled up before me and unloaded a group of people from its double doors at the back. Immediately to my right were three more old American cars; a bright yellow one, gaudy green one and vibrant pink one - all sparkling clean and just waiting for me to snap their picture. I literally had to pinch myself because after all these years of wanting to - here I was, finally in Cuba for real!!!! Sadly, the coach that met us was not an oldie but the guide that it came with couldn't wait to give us the experience of a life time!!
The buildings, oh the buildings!
One word that springs to mind when I think of Havana City is VIBRANT! The wide boulevards, gorgeous old buildings that in their day would've been stunning (and still were albeit in need of a good dose of TLC) and the mixture of striking colours combined with shanty town structures really gave the city a visual WOW from wherever you looked. Truthfully, the only way to fully absorb the atmosphere of this city is with a walking tour - which we did as part of a full day simply discovering this 16th century Havana steeped with history and flanked by old colonial building on every corner and encasing every square we came across.
Did someone say cigar?
You can’t say you've been to Havana without a visit to a Cigar factory... or a rum factory at that. Both were highlights for me but especially the Cigar factory that was unsurprisingly located in a four storey high colonial building packed to the rafters with workers rolling cigars. I could've stood for hours watching the technique and skill of these people and fully appreciated the quality and production of their efforts. The final product was attractively presented in the onsite shop. The Rum factory came after and was just as fascinating as we wondered around and got to try the final product.
Take me for ride please
Our superb day was completed with a ride in an American classic car that took us on a unique and panoramic drive along the waterfront promenade to Revolution Square with its Che Guevara Mural. We stopped for a quick visit to the Yellow Submarine, a bar devoted to the Beatles and their music, and finished off with a drive through the heart of Havana.
I was pretty much black and blue from pinching myself through the day as I simply couldn't believe that I was actually in Havana - and absolutely loved every single minute.
Please, please - do yourself a favour and discover this corner of the world for yourself.