Tuesday, February 03, 2009

What I did on my winter vacation


- got plenty of much-needed vitamin D

- read the last few weeks' worth of New Yorkers on the gorgeous beach in Varadero, Cuba


- drank a lot of Cristal, plus a proper Mojito and a Cuba libre (not because I even like rum & Coke, but for the same reason I had a Singapore sling when I was in Singapore)

- took two tennis lessons with, it turns out, Cuba’s 1977-81 national champion (or so we heard)

- went to a Cuban National Series baseball game in Matanzas, in the Victory at the Bay of Pigs Stadium (Camagüey beat Matanzas 15-0! Ai-yi-yi)


- took a daytrip into Havana on a lovely sunny Wednesday

- had lunch at the Hotel Inglaterra (est. 1875), one of the older, swankier hotels in central Havana

- rode in a bicycle taxi through part of the city, alongside Ladas and big beautiful old Buicks (the city feels like a living museum of the 1950s, mixed with very old, crumbling fortresses and elaborate architecture)


- visited a UNESCO World Heritage site for the first time: Old Havana

- admired the interior and exterior of the 220-year-old Catedral de la Habana (and then had a beer in the square out front)


- went into the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the oldest fortification in Cuba, and climbed the bell tower to get a better view of the water and the flea market below


- enjoyed the visual freedom from commercial bombardment: no billboards advertising products, only messages promoting socialism (many of which pointed out that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the revolution)


- wandered through a colourful outdoor used-book market (most of the books were about Cuba, in Spanish)

- spent my last peso on a postcard of Che Guevara wearing a knit scarf (Bill bought one of Che playing golf. There's a Che for everyone!)


- had a fabulous, relaxing, wonderful time with three of my very favourite people

- knit one and a half sleeves of a Forestry cardigan and three repeats of a Cleite shawl

34 comments:

Jodi said...

Sounds likes a pretty awesome winter break!

Rilana said...

Thanks for sharing photos. I love them. :-)

whistlepeaknits said...

It looks beautiful.

I love tennis. It seems like such a WASP sport but really it's cheap and fun.

Purl Crossly said...

Thanks for the pics. of sunshine.We just got back from Florida where the temp. went below zero several nights.Love the pic. of feet looking out onto beach.We were lying around the pool in coats so I definately would consider Cuba for next years warm vacation.

Lina said...

Hello,

Beautiful vacations. I love knitting to, and I like read english blog to practice the language. Excuse my mistakes.

I´m going to continue reading to you.

Carolyn said...

yay for a great vacation!!!

Brie said...

Beautiful pictures! Sounds like fun.

My open roads said...

wow, cool photos from Cuba! Never been there, but have been to the neighbouring Dominican Republic and Barbados before :) I'm jaleous of that sunshine you had, I'd love to go again soon and just toast in the sun... but with a little one coming soon and my belly growing, no traveling for me at the moment...

jstrizzy said...

Oh, it looks just lovely! What a great vacation. I wish I could go to Cuba - stupid embargo :{

shannyb70 said...

Looks like you had so much fun! That beach shot makes me really jealous! I want to see Che playing golf! Did you get a picture of that postcard?

Bertha said...

Gah! I am so jealous! It looks amazing! I've always wanted to visit Cuba...damn America and it's rules...supposedly an American can get around the restrictions by departing from Canada or Mexico, but it's still illegal and seems a little risky...oh well, maybe someday!

Nadia said...

Sounds pretty rad! Sun is much needed in this town.

theresa said...

Your last two posts leave me feeling shocked as it's illegal to visit Cuba from here (South Florida). The beach looks like beach would look in the Keys, if the Keys had beaches. Pretty.

melissa said...

ooh, so jealous!

mariko said...

Looks lovely, you commie!

claudia said...

Thank you ever so much for the beach picture.

puffthemagicrabbit said...

Looks like a wonderful vacation! That beach!!!!

meezermeowmy said...

Glad you had a wonderful time, and thanks for sharing your pictures. We (USA) never get to go there, so it's always been a bit of a mystery.

Angela said...

I would love to go except we're not allowed. No fair :( Maybe that will change someday. Thanks for the pics!

Shaina said...

Ooh, so jealous. I'd like to go - I think I'd actually like to go while it's still illegal, less other tourists to deal with!

djb said...

Is envy a sin?

Knitting Linguist said...

Wow. Now I have one more place to add to my ever-growing List Of Places To Visit In My Lifetime.

tmjackson said...

One more the list of Things For Which I Am Jealous of Canadians. Looks like a lovely trip, thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful vacation. It looks so warm and sunny there and it's so gray and dark here - maybe I should look into taking winter vacations.

Shrinky Inky said...

I really envy you this trip. I was born in Camaguey. We left Cuba in 1965, when I was almost 5 years old, aftet my family had been there 100+ years. Someday maybe I can go back for a visit.

Heather said...

Great pictures! And too funny - I just got back from Varadero myself! My family and I stayed at the Iberostar Tainos. It was my second time going, so I skipped a lot of the tours and lived on the beach <3

Holli said...

What a great recap of what sounds like a trip of a lifetime. Very cool!

Steph said...

I would loooooove a mid-winter vacation right now. We got snow and freezing rain last night. Sigh.

Your mention of the World Heritage Sites got me thinking about whether or not I had visited any, unwittingly. Turns out, I have:

1. Rocky Mountain Parks (Canada)
2. Old Town Lunenburg (Nova Scotia)
3. Brasilia (Brazil)

And one I SHOULD visit, b/c my dad is from this area and we're related to Eldon George: The Joggins Fossil Cliffs.

You know, it might not be a bad goal in life to see as many WHS as possible.

Jen said...

It all sounds great, but you mean you've never been to Old Quebec? That's a World Heritage Site too! If you haven't it's about time you did being only a couple ours away!
Oh, and I see the Rideau Canal is also one now too.

Nell said...

What a great vacation!!! I'm so jealous.

gleek said...

oh wow. cuba looks lovely! i wish we could go there :) stupid embargo. glad you got some sun and fresh, warm air!

Suzanne said...

I love that the beach is so EMPTY.....

yaiAnn said...

Gosh, I wish I could go there.. maybe Obama will change that, too.

Dr. Steph said...

Nice vacation. I was in Cuba in 1994 and had very much the same vacation as you.

This year we chose Cozumel Mexico, but I'm suddenly wishing we had picked Havana/Varadero instead.

I love the Ches