This really felt like we were heading to the end of the holiday – this was our last journey to a new place in Cuba. The next journey would be the one home.
We were up early and headed on another chicken truck to the airport – the flight was meant to be at 1300, but this was Cuba. It might not have been at 1300 – it depended on when the plane came in from Havana and what the wind/tide was doing. So we made sure to get there in good time just in case the flight left early (which is not an uncommon occurrence.) We got the airport and our guide sorted out our tickets and we dropped off our bags for check in – but there was no sign of the plane! They seemed to have a rule that tourists get priority in the queue before locals. Not sure if that was written or just courtesy, but there was a definite divide in the check in order. We headed for a drink at the bar/restaurant up the road – they even had some good cold American Coca Cola and a stunning view.
Back to the airport to sit in a room which was the departures lounge and wait for the plane. After some time we were ready for hour 40min flight back to Havana. It was a tiny plane and even though we had tickets with numbered seats..it was really just a free for all – I wondered why everyone was rushing to get out the door and onto the plane! In true British fashion I didn’t push and tried to queue and be polite – almost a mistake but there were the last two seats next to each other by the time we got there so all was good!
When we arrived in Havana, we waited for our taxi back to the centre – except 3 people didn’t fit in the modern people mover that came for us. I held back with my boyfriend to wait for another vehicle to come for two of the group plus the guide. We really wanted to drive in a vintage American car so I was hoping this would be what came for us and sure enough, I was not disappointed. Yay! It was about an hour and a half to our Casa in the city – it didn’t feel that long. It was nice to come into the city and really absorb what was around us. We drove up 5th Avenue, which is the road with all the embassies on that heads straight into town. They were some really nice buildings and it was good fun trying to figure out which buildings belonged to which country. We even saw the brand new American Embassy, flag flying proudly having only been raised about two weeks before (the day we arrived!)
We got to our Casa which was rather fancy and modern compared to the ones we had stayed in for the majority of our trip. It was even colourful! We had a bit of a rest whilst we all settled in and then our last (*sob*) orientation walk of the trip. It was quite small and just around the block as we had a guided tour of the old city the next day.
Then it was showers and off to dinner at a lovely restaurant (that I can’t remember the name of right now, and have just found by going through my Lonely Planet and having a bit of a google!): Los Nardos. It was nice change to the food we’d been eating and I treated myself to a steak (mind, it was a bit overcooked, but shouldn’t complain!) Our group was joined by our guide’s fiancée – a lovely Australian girl. They met when she was on holiday in Cuba. It was really interesting to hear her views on how Cuba’s changed and what it’s like to live there compared to Australia.
After dinner the plan was to go out and have a few drinks…unfortunately, the jug of Sangria I had been sharing had pineapple in as one of the fresh fruits. I was fine for the first glass because the drink hadn’t been made with pineapple, but by the time I got to my second glass, the pineapple had seeped into the drink and I had a pretty bad reaction – worse than I’d ever had in England. Walking back to the bar I got quite warm and felt a little light headed, so stopped off at the Casa for some water and antihistamines. To be honest, I didn’t make it out that far that night and instead we bought a dominos set (overpriced and not the nicest as I wasn’t really in the mood to search around or haggle) and then headed back to the Casa. I wasn’t ready to go to sleep yet, but I wasn’t up for heading out for a drink. It ended up being a really nice evening – I spent the time with my boyfriend in the living room area. Bar the constant nagging to drink a litre of water in a pretty short space of time due to the pineapple reaction, it was a really nice evening. We headed to bed semi-late, but relaxed rather than after an evening out.