¡Hola, mi amol!
We didn't spend much time in Havana, because we were eager to explore the countryside, find a nice beach and have a little holiday from travelling before heading back home. Still, we had time to explore one of the most wonderful cities so far. Everybody has an idea of what Cuba is all about before having actually been there and, to our surprise, it was just that, it was even more that than we had imagined. Cuba is so much Cuba, if that makes any sense... It was love at first sight!
Carlos (Kate's father-in-law) came to pick us up at the airport and took us to meet his family in Cojímar, where we spent a very nice first day in Cuba and where we stayed at the home of a friend of theirs, La Fina. On our second day, we ventured into Habana's city centre. In order to get there, we had to take a bus from Cojímar. The bus took two hours to show up and another half an hour to get there, plus it was so full of people that it was hard to breathe. Quite an experience! We finally got there and had a great time in Habana Vieja and El Malecón, where we walked, marvelled, mingled and met Koldo. Koldo (Luis) is a guy from Habana that welcomed us into his home in fluent Basque. On the walls of his home, two Ikurriñas (the Basque flag) and one flag for the independence of Catalunya. He promised us we were safe at his home from the harassment tourists suffer in the streets of Havana. He took us to a little patio where people were drinking and dancing salsa to a band playing life for them. It was amazing to be there, surrounded by Cubans and witnessing the real thing.
Havana is quite a place. A city full of music, colour, colonial buildings, old American and Soviet long cars, people selling and smoking cigars, big waves trying to get as close as possible to the city and its atmosphere from El Malecón, where children play and dance at any time of the day. La Havana is simply something else.
It was just as hard to get back to Cojímar as it had been to get to Havana from Cojímar, but slightly more adventurous, because as we were waiting for the bus (for two hours again) it got darker and darker, until it was night and a drunkard tried (in vain) to find something in Mikel's pockets... So we decided we would be better off in some little town out in the country side, where people would actually get to know us and greet us in the streets... and off we went to Viñales.
See you there!
Idoia & Mikel.