Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hastalavista Cuba

Starting out this post I will always feel very privileged to have the chance to travel away and spend time holidaying in exotic locations.

There is however mixed reviews in my time spent in Cuba. I will start with the positive. The beach located in Varadero, Cuba is a wonderful place to be. This stretch of sand is fantastic! It is a very clean beach and the water is very shallow. As you can walk out for a long distance from the beach and the water will remain shallow. The water will only rise to a height of about 4 1/2 feet (1.37m). It is a perfect beach for families with young children to hang out and enjoy the sun. The Cuban people are very friendly and make a great effort to treat their guests in an accommodating way. Yes and almost all of the Cuban people working at my resort and in the stores located in Varadero could speak fluent English. Cuba is also a very safe country with a very low crime rate. Also I wish I would have had more of a chance to enjoy exploring the city of Havana. This great city reminds me of a classic city in Europe. It is full of a colorful history and lots of vintage buildings. Making it a perfect place for history enthusiasts to enjoy! I also have to mention the "Beatles Bar" located in Varadero. This bar is a happening place and you should enjoy a show their if you are going to vacation in Varadero, Cuba.

Now for the negative. The hotel I stayed at during my holiday in Cuba was the Bellevue Palma Real. This hotel is in state of neglect from the present ownership. The room I stayed in definitely had signs of mold in the room. I asked to be moved into a better room. The maid who looked after my room. Said "that all the rooms are in the same condition in the hotel" that this is Cuba". Also you cannot drink the tap water in Cuba. You must drink bottled water only! Now I'm not a hard person to please. I don't demand luxury amenities when I'm enjoying a vacation. I'm use to staying in hostels for a lot of my great trips. Which for the most part I have enjoyed staying at low budget accommodations very much! The most important part of a holiday is. That you enjoy the place you have chosen to travel to. Another problem with holidaying in Cuba is the fact. That Cuba is still a very poor and under developed country. For example basic toiletries are still luxury items in Cuba. If you venture away from your hotel. You are warned to take a roll of toilet paper with you. As many of the washrooms I did use during my time spent in Cuba. Did not provide any toilet paper.

Another problem is the food served in Cuba. The quality, variety and presentation of the food served at "Palma Real Hotel" was lacking. It is apparent that this is a major disadvantage for visiting Cuba. Also I did experience some food poisoning. I suspect from eating the food at my hotel. It could of also been something I consumed at the lunch eaten at the restaurant in Havana  However this is just a guess on my part. During the walking part of the tour in Havana. I had to abandon the tour as I became quite ill. Lucky I rebounded the next day and got to enjoy the last 4 days of this trip.

I did get to enjoy some sun and relaxation during my holiday in Cuba. Swimming in the warm water and walking along the wonderful beach in Varadero was enjoyed! Fond memories of using my new Canon camera to preserve the memories of the fantastic sunset on February 2nd. Mother Nature at her finest!  Yes the hotel I stayed at in Varadero was not that nice. Also the food in Cuba was a problem for me. This is why I have always resisted going on all inclusive trips. Which can cause problems if the quality of the hotel or the amenities they provide our poor quality. It is really not my idea of a wonderful vacation to stay at an all inclusive resort. I will always prefer to tour, explore and travel in a wonderful location. I know that visiting poor and under developed countries can be very rewarding. However their is added risks involved in doing so. Including; eating the food, drinking the local water and the safety and security of the country. Have the potential to be create problems. That you could encounter during your vacation. Also not being able to be fluent speaking the local language. Can also prove to be a determent in enjoying your vacation. I'm happy I did get the chance to visit Cuba. I am now looking forward to the next adventure!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Beatles Bar- Varadero, Cuba

A great place to enjoy during a holiday in Varadero Cuba. Is the "Beatles Bar" located at 59 street and First Avenue. They put on great shows from local rock bands in Cuba. That perform great rock & roll tunes of the 1960's, 70, and 80's. I had a great time on the evening of February 2nd. Highly recommend you enjoy this bar during a vacation spent in Varadero, Cuba. You get to sit outside on a beautiful evening and enjoy a rockin' great time! I have included a few photos and video from my fun experience!


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mother Nature's Glory!

On February 2nd (Groundhog Day. This was the best day of my holiday visiting the island nation of Cuba. The weather was beautiful! I spent a gorgeous day swimming and enjoying the beach in Varadero. I then went back to the beach. Just like the romantic fool I will always be. To photograph. Mother Nature's amazing display of putting the sun to rest for the day! It was a great opportunity to use my new Canon SX400 IS to record the wonderful memory of this awesome display of nature. Thank you so much "Mother Nature"!

My pictorial of the sun setting.

Classic Cars of Cuba

Just walking around the streets of Cuba. You can't help but notice the classic cars of the 1950's that are still alive and well. Due to the fact of the successful Cuban Revolution of 1959. That endorsed a communist society. The downside of this type of government is that it has caused the economic underdevelopment of Cuba. Which has caused hardship for most of the Cuban people. The one positive of Cuban highly restrictive and closed society is. That it has allowed the classic American Cars of the 1950's to survive! Most of these cars engines have been modified from gas to a diesel powered engines. But it a living museum seeing these great old cars still plying there trade. I have included some photos.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Enjoying Varadero Beach!

Walking to Varadero Beach from my hotel.
Today I woke up feeling well rested and was ready to enjoy a day on the beach. After all that is the main reason for visiting the country of Cuba. There are actually 3 reasons. Which are; the sand, the sea, and the sun. The last 3 days of my Cuban experience. I plan to enjoy all I can of all of what Mother Nature can throw my way. Before I head back to what is left of winter, waiting for me at home.

First before I left the Hotel. I had to register the two included dinners at the restaurants located in my hotel, The Palma Real. That were part of my holiday package from Air Canada. I accomplished that and got to chat with some friendly fellow Canadians. It was nice chatting with you Lisa and Jeff. There are no problems finding fellow Canadians tourist here in Cuba.

After arranging my included dinners at my hotel. Hoping that this will be an improvement to the dinning experience that I have endured during my trip thus far. I then went to try the beach snack bar provided by the Palma Real. I did try a hamburger. It defiantly was not a hamburger in paradise!!! Yes we do not come to Cuba for the food! I did set out an enjoyed a very nice hike along the beach! Even though the weather conditions were not idea. It was a mainly overcast day with the high maybe reaching 25C. When ever I felt like taking a break. I would jump in the warm water to relax and try and renew my body and mind. I walked a fair distance then finally turned around to head back to my hotel. I did loose my orientation and walked past where I was suppose to make the turn back to my hotel. But not a serious mistake when you’re on vacation enjoying a very nice beach in a sun destination! I have included some photos of the experience.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Historic City of Havana

Puente de Bacunayagua
Skyline of Havana
Yesterday was my organized tour of the city of Havana. This is by far the largest city in Cuba and also is the capital. I was picked up just before 9 am and the tourguide's name was Alexandro. The beginning of the tour began at the old fortifications designed to protect the city of Havana, named Morro Castle. As the French, Spanish, Dutch and British fought for ownership of the Caribbean islands.

Cuba has a long and tumultuous history fighting for its independence. The most recent struggle was breaking away from U.S. dominance in the revolution that began in 1953, 64 years ago. The cold war between the United States and Russia was well underway. The struggle was to decide whether the free enterprise democratic system was the better system to run our human society. Compared to the Socialist State run system preferred by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was baking the Cuban struggle for there independent. They did prevail in there struggle for self rule declaring there independence January 1 1959.

After the tour of the historic fortifications. We then drove around the newer part of Havana. With Alexandro pointing out and explaining some of the famous sites. We never really received a photo opportunity to take any pictures during the this part of the tour. Then we drove to "Revolution Square" square. There we did stop to take some photos. The next stop was for lunch. After lunch it was obvious to me that I was not well. Perhaps something I ate back at my hotel had produced a very bad feeling in my stomach. After lunch we were going on an 1 ½ walking tour of the old section of Havana. Shortly after the walking tour had begun. I was forced to leave the tour at this point. I was aware of the rendezvous point for the tour to leave Havana and start the trip back to Varadero. It was at 4:30 by the old Flea Market. After some necessary washroom breaks. I was able to find my way to the old flea market. I met up with the tour group and was happy to be going back to my hotel in Varadero. Getting sick is never a fun or happy experience. Especially when it happens during vacation time. Happy to say after getting a decent night sleep I was able to digest a light breakfast and I’m ready to resume and make the best of my Cuban holiday.
Morro Castle
Revolution Square
Classic Car