“ To travel is to live.” This famous quote is written by Nicholas Zangenberg. Every time I plan to explore a new destination, I think about these words. It is as if I would erase all I already know just to be opened to new and pure experiences. Coming to Cuba was one of them. Here are some photos to illustrate my trip.
Text, photo: Kamila Balcova
Look at the sea!
I come from Slovakia. It is a small country in Central Europe. Slovakia has beautiful mountains, more than hundred castles and castle ruins and it has an abundance of mineral hot springs. However, it doesn’t have a sea. And that is why I really enjoy the very first moment when I arrive to a sea coast. Sand, water and sun. There’s nothing more one could wish for. Caribbean sea is azure blue and crystal clear. If you are a beach person, you won’t need anything else. It’s just beautiful.
Dance with me
I stayed at Melia Las Americas hotel which was one of Varadero’s many resorts. It is a beautiful place with great service. There was a great animation and entertainment team organizing different activities for the hotel‘s guests. Very popular games were those where the winner won a bottle of Cuban rum and where the content of the bottle was shared among competitors. Time went fast when you took aqua aerobic or dancing lessons. Music is an essential part of Cuban life. Cuban people have dancing in their genes. Salsa, mambo, cha cha cha – believe me, life gets much nicer when you dance.
Have a break from wifi and enjoy tranquility
Speaking about hotel resorts, internet access isn’t something you can count on. In our hotel there was a public WIFI area in the lobby. We had to purchase a prepaid one-hour card. After typing the number from the card, we could finally connect to the internet. However, it is very relaxing not to have acces to the internet for a while. Nobody disturbs you and that is very precious these days.
Several times during my vacation I visited the town of Varadero. I took hop-on hop-off bus to see the surrounding area. While waiting for the bus, I was watching classic American cars from 40s and 50s driving here and there. I felt as if I were at a car show. These beautiful cars had wonderful rainbow colors from pink to green. Most of them were taxis. The drivers were honking to catch the attention of tourists. The more tourists they won for a drive, the better for them. Taking a ride in such a car is one of memorable experiences Cuba can offer you for sure!
And it is not the last one! Cuba is well known for its tobacco. Cigars rolled in Cuba are the best in the world. It is a sin to come to Cuba and not to have a puff. Tourists have the opportunity to visit tobacco fields or join a cigar factories guide tour. We lit a cigar with friends from Germany while drinking mojito at the old Dupont residence. It is an interesting place on the beach where you can have nice time while listening to live cuban bands.
No multinational chains!
When you go to the market in Varadero, you see all kinds of stuff from statuettes, posters of Che, jewelry, hats, t- shirts to different “ leather” things. I liked pictures that illustrated Cuban life. I must say that I was a little afraid to eat or drink anything outside of the hotel. The thing I found really curious was that there was not a single Mac Donalds or Burger King store. No multinational chains! Not that I would miss it. To be precise, there is one Mac Donalds, but it is at Guantanamo Bay where the U.S. naval base is. Interesting, isn’t it?
Staying at a hotel is like a living in a dream. Outside of the hotel it is another story . Walking the streets, I got different perspective of life in Cuba.
Overall, Cuba is a country that is worth seeing. The sun, the beach, friendly people and the positive energy you feel there is a great source of good vibes that you will bring with you back home.
Travel and enjoy!
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