Our story begins at the Salisbury airport. Typically international travel doesn’t start here, but American Airlines brought us from Salisbury to sunny Miami, Florida, where we met up with the 14 others to embark on our amazing Cuban adventure!
After an over night in Miami, we boarded our 25 minute flight across the bay to Havana. When we landed in Cuba, we hopped in 50’s style taxis and made our way to Old Havana.
Our first stop was my grandfather’s old house. His dad was stationed at the Cuban embassy before the revolution. My grandfather attended high school in Cuba and wanted to show the extended family his Cuban roots. His house was beautiful, but it was heartbreaking to see the pool was tarnished by a hurricane a few years ago. This was the coolest pool ever: you could only swim during high tide because the pool would fill with ocean water!
Next, we did a little sight seeing & pina colada drinking.
After touring town we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. Our guides took us to the highest point in Havana where you could see the entire city, all lit up at night. It was beautiful. We went to dinner at a privately owned restaurant and watched the Cuban Cannon Shot Ceremony. (They say you aren’t a true Cuban until you attend one. Box checked!)
The next morning we were up and at ’em by 9:00. We piled into the old 50’s style van and made our way to Trinidad, stopping at the Bay of Pigs along the way.
Sadly, we only stayed at the resort for one full day and two nights, making the next day yet another travel day!! Once again we piled into the van to make the six hour hike to Havana.
About two hours into the trip, the van just kind of slowed down. Way down. I looked up and saw my aunt laugh and shake her head and knew we were in for an interesting afternoon. They say getting there is half the fun, but I personally thing getting there would not have been fun had it not been for Lexie, Brooke, and Aunt Christy.
Turns out, the transmission blew. Luckily the taxi driver was an engineer. All they needed was the right part, and an hour later, we were on our way again. Literally. Forget Triple A, the Cubans have car repairs down to an art.
Eventually, we made it back to Havana. Many more tours, restaurants, bars, shops followed. We took a walking tour of Old Havana (got 30,000 steps on my Fitbit!) which I think was my favorite. Just to soak in the city and the culture was a surreal experience.
We also got to visit Hemingway’s house which was the coolest thing. Story time: my great grandfather was tight with Hemingway. They drank together, fished together, and hung out. When Hemingway was in Africa for 9 months, the Rakow family actually took care his boat for him. How cool is that!?
Overall, Cuba was one of the most eye opening trips I’ve been on. Going to a communist country truly made me appreciate how great life in America is. On the very first day, as we were driving from the airport into Havana, the van was stopped by police. In order to be released, our driver had to bribe them. Not once did I hear the Cubans criticize their government. They live with that kind of stuff every day, but they just accept it. Traveling makes me a better, more appreciative person, and I am so grateful to have gone on such an amazing adventure!