A Trip to Cuba, Part 4

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Back in Habana, a Mix of New and Old

The next day we took the bus back to Habana. It stopped a couple of times along the way so that the driver could do his shopping. I saw him buy milk, pork and some bananas.

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Our driver buying pork and bananas.

This time we took a taxi into central Habana to see the sights.

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We walked, though.

Again, we saw many beautiful buildings although some were in disrepair. They were renovating and building a lot, but there were still some empty lots.

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The Capitolio is being renovated…

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… and across the street, is an empty lot.

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A facade with an overgrown scaffolding. As you can see, there is no house behind the facade.

 

They had many small parks, sometimes just a corner with some trees and bushes and a mural or statue. They have used old cannons and cannonballs as decoration on many of the small streets, but I also saw modern art.

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Sometimes, they were placed to stop cars from driving up the streets.

 

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“So I said to him, why would I need a torso?”

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Lamps grow on trees, didn’t you know?

Last Thoughts

Cuba seems like a rather poor country. They are building and renovating a lot in Habana, so maybe in about five years Habana will not seem poor anymore, but I do not know when it will spread to the rest of the country.

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A house we passed on the hike from Hotel Hanabanilla.

They seem to run out of things. For example, I did not have any ice cream while I was there, because they never had any. Some places had signs showing typical nestlé ice creams, but no ice cream.

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At sunset in Trinidad.

I did not have any internet while I was there. It is possible to buy internet cards, which give one access to internet for an hour per card, if you are at a hotspot. My sister told me that they worked fine, although some homepages were blocked, typically by the United States.

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On the same street as our casa particular in Habana. I think this was a school? On a side note: Education is free in Cuba. For Cubans of course.

We spent a large percent of our time in busses and taxis. The taxis were of course an experience in themselves, but I would have liked to walk around more in between. If you are thinking of going to Cuba, I recommend spending at least two nights in each place, and if you are from Europe, I recommend spending at least two weeks in Cuba, to get some more time without jetlag.

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I met this man at the airport.

It took a lot longer to write about Cuba than I thought it would. I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip, and that I have inspired you to visit Cuba. It is definitely an experience.

 

The next post will be flash fiction, I promise.

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A Trip to Cuba, Part 3

Hanabanilla

We arrived at Hotel Hanabanilla in the afternoon. The hotel is on the shore of a large lake created by a dam, which is close by. It is built in two parts with small bridges between them and has very comfortable rooms each with a small balcony with a view over the lake.

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View from one of the small bridges between the two parts of the hotel.

The rest of that day felt like a slow Sunday. While eating some sandwiches for a late lunch, we were entertained by some chickens chasing each other for a piece of ham dropped by a waiter. When I went to my room later, I was pleased to find that they had hot water in the shower.

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The very empty pool. It seems like it was being repainted.

 

I woke to birdsong and strong sunshine the next morning.

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From the balcony of my room.

After breakfast, we went for a walk up the only footpath we could find. Maybe it is the only one there I; we could not see any others on the map, they had on the wall at the reception, and the hotel shop did not sell any maps of the area.

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I saw this tree on the way. It has some kind of fruit or nuts on it, but I don’t know what it is. If you know, please tell me in the comments.

We saw lots of vultures. Three of which sat on the path right in front of us until we came too close and they flew away.

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If you zoom, you can see one spreading its wings, another behind it and a third to the right.

 

Halfway up the hill we found an orange tree, with green turning orange fruit hanging from the branches. In several places, we crossed withered palm leaves, at least two meters long. A humming bird flitted about a bush, but it was gone before I could get my phone out.

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The hotel in the middle and the dam to the right.

All in all, it was a great experience to see their rain forest, and I would have liked to see more, but the next day, we took a taxi to Trinidad.

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The horses seemed to enjoy the place too.

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I found these outside the hotel. I don’t know who they belonged to.

Trinidad

Our casa particular in Trinidad was filled with stairs and bright colours.

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The winding stair leads to the terrace and more rooms.

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The first level of terrace. The next is up the stairs to the right.

We went to Plaza Major, where there were many beautiful old buildings. Then we went for a walk around the church. We found many galleries in Trinidad (also in Habana, when we went back there) and the paintings were of many different things and in many different styles, but it did seem like most of them used bright colours.

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We went up a bell tower, but did not see much of the museum on the ground floor, because they were closing when we got down.

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We went up as far as we could get.

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The bells! The bells!

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From the tower. The forest is not that far away.

As the sun set, live bands began to play in all the cafés and restaurants. We ate our dinner listening to Guantanamera and Muchos Besos.

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If you are a fan of old cars, Cuba is the place to go.

To be continued…

100 posts! Also, Germany

Last Friday I realized that I had just posted my 100th post!

But then I went off to Harzen in Germany and therefore I did not get any celebratory post done. And since I only just came home today, Wednesday was also postless. But now I am back and to make up for it all, (yes, you guessed it) I’m going to publish two posts today! (The madness!)

First of all in this my first of two posts today, I want to say thank you. Thank you to you. Yes, you. For reading my blog and keeping my hopes up that someday many more like you will sit down and read something I have written. And hopefully be happy that you did.

Also, I want to say thank you to all the people who have commented on my posts. I love answering comments!

And especially a great big thank you to those 184 people who pressed the follow button and now receives emails every time I am productive. Thank you very much all of you, just looking at that number gives me motivation 🙂

Thank you!

Now after those well deserved ‘thank you’s I would like to share a bit of Harzen with you.

A  bit of Harzen

It is a very beautiful area famed for their witches. However, the witches must all have modernized their outfits or perhaps they were hiding because the only ones I saw in traditional “witch garb” were dolls.

Witches

Another thing I saw was a stalactite cave called Hermannshöhle, very fascinating. They introduced some amphibians to the cave about a hundred years ago, but they never bred. Which was not really odd because, as they found out later, they were all males…

They are having a party.

I also went to Goslar where they have plenty of beautiful old buildings.

Goslar, church

Goslar, church (Photo credit: Pete Reed)

On my last day in Harzen I took a walk from Hahnenklee to Lautenthal.

There I found a café where I could have lunch and I was served the tastiest lamb I have had for a long time. It was served in an old black frying pan and very VERY yummy.

The next post today (I will publish it sometime this evening) will be a bit of flash fiction where I have given myself the tag words: Witch, old building and lamb.

I hope you will enjoy it!

The Land of a Thousand Amazing Holes in the Ground

If I had to choose a soundtrack for Iceland, it would be Valravn‘s “Koder på snor”

It is difficult to recreate the feeling with just pictures and music, but I’ll try anyway.

I went for a hike the first four days and every day I saw at least three different types of landscapes.

To get up to the first hut, I took a bus and on the way we drove through what was almost a desert.

Very sandy and very little vegetation

Then when I arrived at the hut, there was a hot spring and a rather swamp-like grassy area right up to the hut on one side

 

 

and what can only be described as troll-country on the other.

Looking down on the hut from troll-country. Some of the grassy-swamp can be seen to the left of the hut.

The next day I saw the first real Icelandic holes in the ground.

 

Small chimneys all over

The fourth day after hiking through emerald sand (yes, green sand) and over orange rocks, I reached the last hut and met these two:

Arctic fox cubs. They’re just that cute 🙂

They spent most of the time fighting and just ignored everything else.

Fighting and biting

Then I went on to more traditional sightseeing.

Gullfoss

A hole in the ground with bubbling water. Also known as Geysir.

A hole in the ground with bubbling mud

A hole in the ground with rocks. There’s also water down the bottom.

A steaming hole in the ground (very noisy).

Most of the holes in the ground were rather smelly because of the sulphur, but they were all amazing 🙂

I saw plenty of other things for example seals and whales, but if you want to see them, you have to take a trip to Iceland yourself, because I don’t have any pictures of them.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience, and I hope to go back there in the not too distant future.

Did you go anywhere this summer?

 

 

 

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