An island where the beautiful blues of the ocean blend together as though they are running together off the tip of a watercolour painter’s brush. An island where the weather is a powerfully thrilling mix of the sun’s sensational heat and overwhelming storms that leave almost as quick as they come, refreshing the intensely humid air. An island where you are influenced by the carefree and laid-back culture. Fast-forward and I am sitting at home on an April morning. Like a blessing, the sun is beaming upon the garden grass and nature is in full swing as the birds soar above the roof and the bees gracefully land on the potted flowers. I am dreaming of summer vibes, although reaching a tropical destination is literally something of a dream right now. Once the hardships of this time become slowly easier to deal with, peoples’ lust for travel will be a thing of reality once more. Wanderlust has never seemed so bittersweet- to experience the world after this would be something people will no longer take for granted.
Nearly two and a half years overdue, this blog post has been a long time coming! I pondered over how to recall my Cuban experience without sounding like I have spent 6 years there travelling around with Cuban people, replacing my love of crisps for cigars and hydrating with rum-based cocktails. In fact, I only went for 2 weeks, didn’t hold a cigar between my lips nor did I hydrate off rum based cocktails (okay I may have, possibly, definitely, totally did the last one.)
Before you travel to a new land, the apprehensive yet over-excited butterflies capture your imagination. On one hand you panic and assume your British Airways flight is taking you across the Atlantic and dropping you off in an intimidating pit of a place. On the other hand, you also begin to imagine a far-off distant land that holds adventure, possibility and beauty: a destination you are destined to visit!
Here are a handful of reasons as to why I thoroughly enjoyed my Cuban adventure:
- The beautiful beaches and luscious landscape.
To paint a picture of the captivating beaches and landscapes would be an impossible task to accomplish. How can one truly capture the watercolour hues of the blue water and sky? How can one describe the delicate, yet powerful creation of the greenery that lies behind the shore? How can one even touch upon the sensational sunrise and sunsets that deliver a daily dance in the sky? I cannot. If you need just one reason to visit this incredible island, make beaches and landscape the top of your list!
- The People and culture
If I could bottle the spirit and culture of the Cuban people, it would contain the splendid mix of passion, calm, vibrancy and friendliness. We watched as the workers greeted one another with an excitable kiss on both cheeks and the sheer joy when they are united. We discovered a Havana Rum bar at the quieter end of the resort, and it was here we felt a little closer to the Cuban culture. People played cards, drank rum and thoroughly delighted in one another’s company. What struck me most about the Cuban people, was the passion on the dance floor. It was like watching two people in their own world as they sashayed around the bar, their eyes connecting willfully and eagerly. It looked as though they escaped into a world of vibrancy and joy!
On the roads, were the original cars you see when you imagine Cuba and unique architecture that you associate with Cuban streets. Although there are areas which seem more deprived than others, the atmosphere is still brimming with joy and life!
- The wonderful weather
A rather self-explanatory reason! Scorching sun? Yes! Clear, blue skies? Yes!
However, as tranquil and calm the sky can be one minute, within seconds it can all change. I never knew what a tropical storm looked like, nor did I know how it sounded. Most of all, I never knew how it would feel. Nature is overwhelmingly powerful. I have never seen this power in person until witnessing grey, vexed clouds shooting lightning bolts into the sea. The thunder shaking the skies above you, sounding like a Greek god standing on the roof casting a curse. In all its glory, the tropical storm highlighted nature’s immensity and it seemed to me, like it was a short -yet very sharp- reminder that nature is the ruler. As quick as they come, they are gone. Evaporated in all its anger, the storm clouds self-combust and are engulfed once again by the shining sun.
They use it in every cocktail on the menu – quite literally!
I am now a fully-fledged rum girl. One sip of the spirit and I get that summery feeling. We even make Cuban cocktails when we have parties.
Plus, who goes to the Caribbean and doesn’t have rum?
We stayed at Brisas Guardalavaca, Holguin, Cuba.
We visited Cayo Saetía Island which was the ultimate paradise. See my “Beside The Seaside” blog post for more on this.