Arrival at Havana Cuba – Day 1
Ever since we planned to do this trip, I was so excited yet „afraid” of going to Cuba – not because I thought it was dangerous, but because it’s supposed to be a whole other world. Even though I’ve been traveling as much as possible, I never went to a country where I didn’t have a clue what to expect. That was one reason to go on this trip: Making new experiences, getting to know a new part of the world and having tons of adventures – and Cuba is the most unpredictable stop on this one for me.
We did a lot of research before we went on this trip so we knew we had to get our visas upfront in Berlin, which we did. So, we just booked our flights from Cancun to Havana, got on to the plane, and there we were, on July 21st 2017.
First thing recognized: No internet (which is what we knew) but still it’s weird not to just log into the WiFi and let your family and friends know you arrived safely… Anyway, I prepared them before that they might not hear from me in a week or so.
We were supposed to be picked up by a driver organized by our Casa particular. Yes, we booked one upfront through www.visitcuba.com because we didn’t want to walk around Havana carrying our huge backpacks without even knowing where to go. Unfortunately, the pick-up didn’t work :D There were a bunch of people carrying papers with names on them, but ours were not included. So, we decided to just take a taxi and go to our casa whose address I LUCKILY saved in Mexico before having no internet.
The drive was about 30 minutes and our driver was super annoying. We almost got into a fight with him because we agreed on paying him 25 $ before we got in (and I told him that we were going to Havana vieja) but as soon as we were driving he was like “Ohhh that is so far away, I’m gonna charge you 40 $”. WTF? I tried to fight with him, but at some point, my Spanish knowledge was at its maximum and there was nothing we could do… Well great 1st experience! At least he got us safely to our Casa particular in the middle of Havana vieja – we couldn’t have chosen a better location!
We checked in with Yolanda, the owner of the Casa and she was super friendly and cute and seemed actually really excited to have us here. What we booked online was a room with own bathroom in her apartment. What we actually got was our own apartment! Living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedrom with A/C. It’s amazing!
After leaving our luggage we were super hungry and decided to walk around the neighborhood. Our apartment was on Oficios and Sol, which is the perfect point to start from when you want to see all of Havana vieja. It’s so close to the Plaza de Armas, Calle Obispo (the main food and shopping street), the cathedral...Awesome!
As soon as we got out of our apartment, an old Cuban man started talking to us, asking if we wanted to know a good place to eat Cuban food. Why not? Since we couldn’t google anything, there was no other way than to trust what the locals say, so we went with him. He took us to a small hidden place where only Cubans were, and we got the best food! Chicken with beans, rice and Avocado for 3 Pesos convertibles! This is one of the 2 currencies they have and it’s 1:1 equal to the American dollar. So, 3 dollars for a whole meal? Not bad! Afterwards he took us to a small bar, whose owner was his friend he said.
We all had a Mojito and talked about Germany, world politics and him being a university professor for history. It was actually really interesting, because he was so knowledgeable and we learned a lot. What a happy first day ????