In precisely eight days’ time I shall be sitting on an Icelandair charter flight alongside my husband heading to Havana Cuba where we are to spend a week amidst grandiose surroundings at the historic Hotel Nacional De Cuba. The hotel, a reminder and symbol of Havana’s past, was built in 1930 and is a copy of the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. I am really looking forward to returning to Havana and whilst I am by no means be a Havana expert, I am, on the other hand, fortunate enough to have visited the city on previous occasions. On each of these occasions I have experienced something new about this incredible city and am getting very excited about adding to my collection of Havana memories. There are heaps of things that I am yet to see and do and trying to pack everything into one week is going to be difficult – but I am going to give it a good go, so wish me well!
Here’s my to-do list:
- Visit the Tropicana night club
- Take a day trip out to the UNESCO world heritage site of Viñales
- Explore as much of the city on foot as possible
- Ride in a coco taxi
- Take a tour in a Classic American Car
- Pack in as many museum visits as possible
- Experience more of the Havana nightlife and try to stay awake after 10pm
- Drink lots of mojitos in lots of bars and share my favourites list with you
- Eat ropa vieja and Moros y Cristianos
- Make peace with cigar smoke – if only for a week
I must admit that alongside the feeling of giddy excitement at the prospect of seeing Havana again, I also harbour a feeling of failure and disappointment. Disappointment in that my husband and I failed to keep to the pact we made and take salsa dancing lessons. That’s the thing with Havana, you get all caught up with the whole ‘music and dance’ thing. It’s infectious. Music is everywhere. And where there is music there is dancing – really good dancing. Cubans can dance. Couples, young and old, you’ll see them swinging and swaying in the parks and along Havana’s ravaged, but still spectacular, Malecón promenade after sun down. Salsa, son, rumba – intoxicating Latin beats fill the air. All ages enjoying the same music and dance traditions. It’s really something special to witness.
But back to me and my husband’s epic salsa lesson fail. It’s fine, really. No worries. We have decided that we will just hit the dance floor with our usual aplomb and have fun – just as we have done in the past. It must be said we are not the greatest of dancers but what we lack in Latin Ballroom dancing skills, we certainly make up for with rum fuelled enthusiasm. Providing great fun and much needed exercise for us – and a good laugh for the locals. A win win!
I shall be posting my Havana experiences over the next few weeks and look forward to sharing them soon.