Week #12: Cuba

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Beach at sunrise

We spent last week in Varadero, Cuba celebrating our friends’ wedding 🙂 We had an awesome time with a great group of people..and it didn’t hurt that we got to escape winter again and enjoy some beautiful weather. We caught an early flight out of Toronto which was pretty uneventful from what I can recall. Eric and I didn’t get seats together and he enjoyed his middle seat betwixt two strangers as I sprawled out on the empty seat beside me. We figured we would see enough of each other all week anyway.

In Varadero, we stayed at the Grand Memories resort, which is near the end of the peninsula. This place was huge. Like, bigger than my hometown. Other than the wedding day and the days we went to Havana and Varadero, everything else kind of meshed together. Each day felt a bit like Groundhog Day. I managed to get out for a few morning runs, but otherwise we would wake up anytime between 7 and noon (depending on the previous night’s festivities) then head to the buffet for breakfast….

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More beach views…sorry, no buffet pics

I’m going to just take a moment to talk about the buffet: I cried here. The first night. Earning it the nickname “heartbreak buffet” for the rest of the week. It’s not that the food was thaaat bad (I mean, it wasn’t spectacular but the fruit was yummy and the shredded beets were a surprise highlight), it was more that it just made me feel sad as buffets tend to do. Plus I had already had a few drinks. I also kept wondering what the employees thought about the resort guests aka Canadians – why do they require so many plates of food? Is there no food in Canada and that’s why they make a mad dash to grab that piece of weird cheese? Is there some sort of Canadian ritual where at least one plate must be smashed each meal? We also found out that if you enter the buffet right when it opens, then the staff will clap for you. As though it’s an accomplishment…for which you would receive the world’s saddest trophy. You did it, you made it to the buffet! Congratulations and enjoy your beets.

Ok, that’s far too much space dedicated to the buffet. Sorry. The rest of our day was usually typical resort stuff – beach and/or pool, drinks, buffet, drinks, Eric pushes a lady who was muttering “ananas, ananas” off the swim up bar stool (not really, but I called him out on it anyway), Tanya and I enjoy a romantic buffet dinner where we consume all the wine and strawberry cakes as Eric and Steve “nap”, drinks at the lobby bar, maybe go to the disco. Repeat. Good times.

The wedding ceremony itself, held on a gazebo on the beach, was beautiful. There were many curious onlookers/paparazzi who got right in on the action, like this guy:

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Eric’s caption: #tarpsoffwedding

Afterward, we enjoyed some champagne on the beach/in the ocean and had a grand old time partying the night away.

Later in the week, we took a day trip to Havana. If we go back to Cuba, we would definitely stay in Havana for a few nights since we didn’t have much time to explore here. We made a quick stop at Puente de Bacunayagua aka tallest bridge in Cuba aka Mother-in-Law bridge (you know, a good spot to throw your mother-in-law off of) and had some delicious pina coladas.

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Puente de Bacunayagua

Once we made it to Havana, we ate some sloppy Joe’s (of course?), checked out Revolution Square, Old Havana and the harbour. We enjoyed just walking around and taking in the sights. As you’ve probably heard, with the architecture and old cars, Havana feels like a step back in time. We had a whirlwind view of the city and it would definitely be worth a return trip to explore more. Some of the places I would want to check out are the Museum of the Revolution, Christopher Columbus Cemetery, Hotel Ambos Mundos and Fusterlandia.

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Our sweet ride
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Morro Castle
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Hanging out in Havana
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Capitol building
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View from Revolution Square

We did manage to get off the resort one more time at the end of the week when we took the double decker bus into Varadero. We enjoyed some lunch, checked out the market and confirmed that bladders can throw off your travel plans. After waiting awhile to catch the bus back to the resort (time elapsed = approximately 3 beers), Eric had to make the crucial decision of peeing his pants vs. getting off the bus.  He (thankfully) chose option B and I was not too happy about needing to get off that friggin’ bus (although it definitely beats option A). The fact that my dress got caught in the seat as we not so gracefully made our urgent exit didn’t help the situation. It also happened to be the most hilariously windy bus ride of all time.

So that essentially sums things up…there are many more stories but not everything needs to be/should be posted here 🙂

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