BB&B Worldwide Cuba

Cuba #3: 253 days, 253 adventures

Inhibitions simply melt away
Dispositions will improve they say
Maybe it’s the voodoo latitude
Give the place… attitude
Way down here we have no rules to keep
Way down here we always oversleep
Way down here we mambo all night long
Through the street…through the heat
To the beat of old Havana

Time to breathe in some fresh sea air and feel the soft white sand!

Tuesday, December 12

This time I woke up with a lot more courage to go out and explore the rest of Havana. After a delicious breakfast in D’Next, a bar in Old Havana straight out of the fifties, I walked back to the central square to take the bus to the beaches of Playas del Este, beaches of the east. (If you are planning to do the same: you have to take the blue hop-on-hop-off bus and it leaves on the side of Hotel Inglaterra). For only 5CUC the bus took me out of the city, to the other side of the Canal de Entrada. There you can find the beautiful Castillo de los tres Reyes del Morro or “Castillo del Moro”.

Castillo del Morro, Havana, Cuba

Castillo de los tres Reyes del Morro, seen from the Malecón.

I decided not to get off the bus but to spend as much time as I could on the beach. The bus drove through the stunning green landscape of Cuba, which gives you a great view into the daily life of the Cubans outside of the big city. In the distance I could see the clear blue waters and white beaches of the Playas del Este. The chain of beaches covers almost 25 kilometers of the east coast of Cuba. From what I had heard, the beach of Santa María was the most beautiful of all, so I decided to plant my towel in the hot white sand there. It was absolutely one of the most beautiful beaches I had ever seen! It was so quiet, the sun was shining and the blue sky reflected in the warm, blue water. A perfect day at a perfect place.

Playas del Este, Cuba

One of the beautiful beaches of Playas del Este.

With a sunburned nose and sand in my hair I happily returned back to the city. In the heart of Old Havana I tried to find a decent place to eat but I mostly found empty bars, streetfood and very noisy paladares. Paladares are family-run restaurants where they sell homemade Cuban food. I am not a very adventurous eater, so paladares are not really my thing. After walking around for about two hours I almost gave up on my challenge ‘Eat At A Different Place Every Time’. However, right as I was walking back to the pizzaria 5 Esquinas, I came across a very fancy restaurant. Still can’t remember the name of the place, but the food was amazing. I ordered my first Coca-Cola in four days, a greek salad and a delicious chicken with rice in coconut sauce. I felt like a queen in Havana, a sunburned one though, but still..



Where did I eat?
D’Next Bar Cafeteria | Calle Teniente Rey #512

What did I spend?
Breakfast: 6CUC
Bus to beach: 5CUC (from the central park to Santa María and back)
Dinner: 20CUC



Wednesday, December 13

Wednesday was my last full day on Cuba. Honestly, I didn’t really mind. Sure, I would definitely miss the warm sunshine and the freedom, the adventure and the language, but I was sooo ready to go home! I was done with all the taxi drivers yelling at me, the smelly cars, the noise and the dirty streets. It has its charm, but three days was enough for me. I decided to quickly run back to the souvenir market to get rid of my Cuban money. I was in kind of a hurry, so in my last attempt to find good Cuban cigars, I made a deal with a very shady dealer who stored his cigars all the way in the back of the market. Apparently he was selling some not very legal stuff. Very stupid, but hey, a girl gotta learn from her mistakes. I was so nervous he had put some weird stuff in the cigars that I carefully squeezed, sniffed and shook them when I got home. They seemed totally normal to me. In the evening I ate my last full dinner on Cuba at the pizzaria where I started my journey. After that I went back to pack my bag. My mission was to fly back as light as possible but of course I ended up with a bag almost half my weight. I am not a very skilled backpacker, that is one thing I know.

The Cuban flag

Where did I eat?
El Café | Amargura #358 e/ Aguacate y Villegas
Trattoria 5 Esquinas | Esquina Carteles #104

What did I spend?
Breakfast: 6.50CUC
Souvenirs: 42CUC
Dinner: 10CUC


Thursday, December 14

Netherlands, here I come! I woke up waaaay too early because I was so excited and nervous to fly home at the same time. One of the last things I had to do was to check my flight information. That is easier said than done, because in order to do so, I had to walk all the way to the park. In Havana it is not very common to have internet and the places that do have it make it very expensive. A cheaper solution is to buy internet cards at a place called ETECSA, but as far as I know there is only one place to buy them. Luckily, I already got two cards through a guy on Facebook. I saw my plane had been delayed for the fourth time (!) and that it was leaving at 6pm. I decided to quickly get some breakfast at El Café (go for the lettuce-bacon sandwich and the pineapple juice, you won’t regret it!) and walk back to my Airbnb where Sandra and Tatiana were already cleaning my room. “Sorry! Someone else is moving in at 1!” I am happy that their place is doing so well. I quickly squeezed the last things in my bag. Tatiana and Sandra offered to help to get my bags downstairs. When I got to the busy street, Tatiana immediately ran up to a bicitaxi driver to negociate about the price to bring me and my bags to the central park, where I could get a taxi back to the airport. For only 3CUC the poor guy biked me to the park. There were already a bunch of drivers waiting to offer me a taxi, so I went along with the first one I saw. I made it! I am on my way to the airport!

Bicitaxi in Havana, Cuba

The streets of Old Havana, filled with bicitaxis.

At the airport I waited for two hours (yeah, I was very early) but I did not see my flight on the big screens. I thought it might had not arrived yet, but about half an hour before the check in I started to slowly panick. Where was my flight? I got up to the information desk to ask for my flight… turned out I was in the wrong departure hall. I quickly ran outside with my heavy backpacks and asked the first taxi driver I saw where the right terminal was. About two kilometers to the right… I offered my last CUC’s to the driver (way too much) and he took me to the right terminal. I was so relieved to see my flight on the screen! At 6 in the evening I was on my turbulent and long flight to Munich. In Munich I couldn’t find my flight again but I was so happy to be so close to home! A few hours later I took my fourth flight in five days and flew to my final destination, my warm and loving home. All 253 days of adventure and challenges, cultural differences and homesickness were over. 253 days, can you believe it?

Where did I eat?
El Café | Amargura #358 e/ Aguacate y Villegas

What did I spend?
Breakfast: 6.50CUC
Bicitaxi: 3CUC
Taxi: 25CUC (from the central park to the airport)
Taxi: 15CUC (from terminal 3 to terminal 2)


Read part one of this trip here and part two here.

Picture 1 by Skeeze.
Picture 2 by Laughing Raven.
Picture 3 by Paul Brennan.
Picture 4 by Ahstubbs.

 

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1 Comment

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    Cuba #1: a step into the unknown
    15 January 2018 at 19:54

    […] Read part 2 here and part 3 here. […]

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