Trip Start Jul 14, 2001
Trip End Aug 03, 2001

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Flag of Cuba  , Ciudad de La Habana,
Tuesday, July 24, 2001


In a week's time we are flying to Havana - we badly need to relax and this year we really want to swim in the exotic beaches  of VARADERO.    I have decided not to go with a group this year, but be on our own and move around and do whatever we feel like doing.

As always I try to do some research on the country that we are going to visit, but actually this is the year that I really need to relax and sunbathe in an exotic beach and in the premises of an expensive hotel.  We are not in the mood of following any group and try to see and learn everything from this one trip.  We just want to idle around and do whatever we wish.  This is the reason why we fly privately this summer.


Today is the 23rd of July, and we are flying to MADRID at 7.20.  We arrive at 10.05, but our flight from Madrid to Havana leaves at 17.00.

Unfortunately, we have to wait for several hours in the airport, but we are so excited that we don’t quite notice the time.

We reached HAVANA at 20.25pm and we are supposed to be met at the airport and be driven in a private Taxi.  For some reason the taxi driver does not show up, probably because we were delayed in getting our luggage.  We get a private taxi from outside and we are driven to our Hotel MELIA COHIBA.

It is quite late, and  the drive to the hotel is pleasant. From the first moment we understand that we will love this Island.

We pay the taxi driver and with the receipt he gives us, we get our money back from the reception.  We are shown to our room which is on the 12th floor.  The view is great! 

The hotel is not centrally located, but a bit in the suburbs.  We don’t mind however much.  There is a flee market market just 200 metres from the hotel, and we have a look around. 

I see poor but happy faces, and you can see people singing and others dancing in the streets.  Children play football in the yards of their apartments, and we visit a fruit market as well.  I was a bit disappointed though because I could not find the fruit and quality I expected.

This is the 2nd day in HAVANA, and have arranged to have a tour around the capital.

The tour is great, but I don’t feel happy seeing all these poor buildings.  Very old and worn out, yet I cannot understand the smile on the people’s faces.

The time spent here is pleasant, but I am looking forward to leave for the final destination Varadero

There is a big holiday taking place here in Havana, and from our window we see hundreds of cars full of people who are carried from the suburbs or probably from distant cities of the island, to participate in this event.

The cars are trying to find a parking space, and it is something so strange for us watching all this happening from above the 12th floor.

Very old trucks filled with people who come off  the cars and moving towards the centre on foot.  There are lines of cars parked in the whole area.

We decide to go and see what was going on.  It is the day when Fidel Castro is having a speech –their Independence Day.  A big fiesta is taking place in the big square and the round area, and people are gathered there with their families and order food, eat and drink.  Everybody is happy and merry.

Some fireworks are in the sky and the whole place is lit.  We hear the sound of canons coming from the port, and it is a happy atmosphere in the whole place.

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