The Souks are a maze of gold, bronze and rich reds. Every lane is both too winding and narrow to see any distance, and yet wide enough for countless people, several speeding mopeds and the occasional cat seeking shade. A walk through the old town gives you the unusual experience of a comfortable and relaxed stroll through a bustling and chaotic medieval city. Oh and you’re constantly being hassled in the friendliest and easily forgivable manner.
“What is this?” asks a shop owner as he points to a heap of white scented powder that he’s selling.
“Well if YOU don’t know” I say, and I get a smile before the seller backs off. The whole time we were in Marrakech I don’t think we were hassled more than once at any one time by the same person. Read the rest of this entry
It was going to be Gemma’s 29th birthday and we wanted to celebrate properly.
We’d never been to Poland before, or in fact anywhere this close to Eastern Europe, and we had no idea what to expect. All we knew about Poland was that the Polish people we’d met in England had always been nice, so we figured Poland would probably be nice. It was pretty simple logic. Read the rest of this entry
So we went on honeymoon to cuba back in August 2014. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to write this… Actually that’s not true, it’s because I made the mistake of becoming a teacher and now spend 60+ hours a week working! Followed by school holidays spent comatose and drooling in front of the TV.
For those of you who don’t know, varadero is the resort area. The place where western tourists go to forget their drizzly lives and sit on a beach/by the pool 12 hours a day.
Many travellers will tell you ‘it’s a waste of time,’ or ‘you won’t truly be visiting cuba’ or ‘it’s capitalism at its worst’. And they might be right about the last two, but for a honeymooning couple or even for a regular holiday it’s truly fantastic. We spent five nights in the Hicacos Resort and Spa, which is a truly luxurious adult only resort. Read the rest of this entry
Sat on the bed in our new Casa and waiting for Gemma to finish in the shower, I read about Trinidad. First I read about Trinidad in the Lonely Planet, then I read about Trinidad in the Rough Guide. Then I read some of ‘Death and the Penguin’ because that was what I was reading at the time, and then, as I heard the shower turn off I went back to the Lonely Planet and looked through the pictures of Trinidad so I can show my favourite ones to Gemma.
We hadn’t gone outside our room yet, all we’d seen of Trinidad so far was what our taxi driver had driven past; some cobbled streets and a few attractively run-down buildings. Oh, and our Casa was a beautiful high roofed colonial building with huge arches and climbing plants in the courtyards. So far it seemed pretty good. Read the rest of this entry
We never planned to go to the Bay of Pigs. Mind you we never planned on going to any of the places we visited in Cuba other than Havana and Varadero, we’d just gone through the Lonely Planet going “yep, that looks nice”, and “we’ll definitely go there” and then not booked anything. So after our first Casa owner had sent us to her friends Casa in the Bay of Pigs, and then when we pulled up in the arse end of nowhere, we felt fairly certain that we’d been had. Don’t get me wrong, her friend, our new Casa owner, was very nice – we were offered food and juice, and although we spoke different languages she was very smiley and welcoming. But as I’ve previously mentioned, we were in the arse end of nowhere. Read the rest of this entry
We decided before we booked our honeymoon that we wanted it to involve some travelling. We also decided we didn’t want to spend days on a bus. Las Terrasas is only a few hours from Havana and Viñales a few hours from there so they seemed like a great bet. And both are set in the Mountains so great views were guaranteed.
Our first stop was Las Terrasas and we only had a night. There isn’t much there but we stayed at an eco-resort and it was gorgeous, just what I’d imagined for our honeymoon. Huge room, en suite with views of the valley, balcony, fridge and a TV. We stayed a night and enjoyed some time in the pool, a storm (and a powercut, not a problem but we did have to wait for a pina colada as it required a blender) and a walk through the village. We also tried to go zip wiring but we were scuppered by the weather – those of you who read our Jodphur blog will know how disappointing this was for us. Read the rest of this entry
Is Cuba worth a visit? In a word toobloominright! Cuba is steeped in history: think Che Guavara and Fidel Castro, think embargos with the US and a long history of Socialism (not Communism?), and think classic cars and lots of rum. Also it has the most beautiful landscapes, welcoming people and food that’s not too bad. Read the rest of this entry
Well it’s been a while… so long in fact that when I tried to log in to post this I’d forgotten the address and title of the blog and had to ask my husband (that’s right, we’re well and truly wed now!) how to find it… oops. Read the rest of this entry
A lot of things are said about Cuba. Some are good and some are bad, but having travelled around half of the island (it’s quite big and we only had three weeks) we can’t recommend it enough. Cuba is a safe way to experience a country still largely in a socialist state. We were always welcome in everybody’s home, treated to their food and helped around the beautiful little island. We were also plied with alcohol continuously. As a rule, Cubans, and all people in Cuba, are drunk. Read the rest of this entry
Cuba’s history is barely history. When we told a family friend, Ray, at our wedding that we were honeymooning in Cuba, and that we were looking forward to learning the country’s history, he laughed.
“Is that what you call it?” he asked, “history? I remember when we just called it news”.
Cuba’s history, as far as revolution is concerned at least, has only just happened. Read the rest of this entry