If only the days at work were going as fast as on vacation. Do you agree? Three days in Berlin have fled with speed of light. We really can’t repeat Kennedy’s famous word with which he wanted to get some love from locals: »Ich bin ein Berliner« – which in a literal translation means, »I am a donut«. Well, we are not exactly donuts, although we have just been stuffed with chocolate in those days (but about this little bit later) – we are not locals even; although we have to admit that the German capital has already slipped under our skin.
Hurray for us! It’ not even a month since we came back from our summer vacation and we are already on the road once again. For all of you who have not liked our Facebook page yet, let we just say that in the coming days we will be discovering one of the more interesting European capitals. After a long time, we are returning to Germany, more precisely in Berlin.
Many people say that Berlin is nothing special, just a city as a city – but if you encounter such a cheap air tickets as we did (30,00€ for a return ticket per person, Treviso → Berlin, Ryanair) – then there is really no reason to delay with a visit to the German capital. We will give Berlin an opportunity.
Why should we spent a free sunny day at home, when we can go on a short trip across the border. This time we return to the place where we realized that the travels will definitely be a part of our lives. At our first trip we went to Venice, that time with a travel agency, where time is very limited and you only run wild across the city or blankly follow guide who gives you piles of data, which are usually not that important and interesting. It is true that you see the whole town within three hours, but you do not experience those little things that make Venice, as well as any other place, something special.
Did you ever travel on your own? Have you ever thought about what you get in return? Our fast »brain storming« brought us to some interesting facts…
1. Admiration of natural wonders
Beaches, mountains, caves, cliffs… the list of what our planet is hiding for us is never-ending. Just when you think you have seen everything, there is another surprise just around the corner waiting for you.
2. Amazement at the sight of the architectural heritage
Have you already witnessed the feeling, when a look on glorious landmark takes your breath away? We will never forget the first sensations at the sight of the Egyptian pyramids, Eiffel Tower, London’s Big Ben…! How can man build such a magnificent and massive buildings… then you think also on the hours of work done by Renaissance artists who literally bring statues and frescoes to life,… such details. Unbelievable.
We saved best for last, it was so good, that we stayed two extra days, but about this later 🙂 22 kilometers of beautiful sandy beach, which stretches across the entire length of the peninsula on the north side of the county, is the main reason for visiting Varadero or so-called city of colored bracelets. Forget about unique artistic jewelry, those are plastic bracelets worn by all-inclusive guest from various hotels and resorts.
The city is created for tourists, bunch of huge hotels, stalls with souvenirs on every step and roads full of taxis. The prices here are significantly higher than on the rest of the island, which is reflected not only in restaurants and bars but also on stalls. You have to go deep in your pockets if you want to indulge yourself in one of those hotels. You will have to spend more than 100 € per night, which is of course a lot more than you would paid for a night in casa.
Well, here it is, our beloved and faithful companion, rain. With each passing mile from Trinidad to Santa Clara was getting more darker and in the end the rain finally caught us when we were walking to our casa. And no, it wasn’t just a quick shower, but it rained for almost 2 whole days, so our plans literally fall in water.
Nevertheless, we manage to see the statue of Che Guevara, his mausoleum was closed due to rain or moisture until next sunny day. Cuban logic 🙂 You all probably know this person, if not from elsewhere, you definitely saw him on a shirt worn by one of your classmates in high school. Che is still worshiped as a god in Cuba; in honor of him, they named streets, build statues, post jumbo posters along the highway with his portrait and his famous slogan Hasta la Victoria siempre! The story about him is complex, so we will not talk about it… but you can always check some history textbooks if you are interested in those stories.
From the coastal Cienfuegos, we again took a taxi and went to the most eastern point of our journey through Cuba, Trinidad. Oh, no worries, this time the drive was far more humane than the last one 🙂
A small town founded in the mid-19th century on the riches, brought by the nearby sugar cane plantations, still retains its authenticity and it seems like, in spite of flood of tourist, time stopped here. Therefore, we were not surprised when we were woken up at four in the morning by the rooster, at five by cats who were looking for their partners and at six by hosts Chihuahua.
After several attempts to book a bus from Vinales to Cienfuegos, we give up and choose a taxi. We were so surprised by a price that we did not even negotiate at all (32 CUC per person, which is 2 CUC less than a bus). We should hit the road with a minibus and the whole journey should take only 4 hours, which would be twice as fast as we expected. However, the thing was a bit different (yes, they covered up a truth for a little bit)… In the morning there was a 60 years old car waiting for us in front of the house in which they manage to squeeze 8 people + driver. Yeah, just like a minibus. No problems, we will survive that. Well, at the mid-way we even replaced a car for a bigger one in which they squeezed 7 more people and one baby 🙂 That’s Cuba, everyone. Thankfully, we had a great company and those 4 hours, which lasts 7 hours, were actually passed quickly.
After three days in Havana, we went to the countryside, away from the city bustle. More specifically in a small town or rather the greater village called Viñales, which is just around 200 km or 4 hours drive from Havana.
When you will see two rocking chairs in front of each vibrant colored house and there are horses or oxen walking down the road then you will know that you have arrived at your destination. We reserved our room via Airbnb, but the locals here literally overwhelm you with offers when you step out of the bus.
What is the best thing to do after a 12 hours of sitting on a plane? Take a hot shower.. well, even the cold would be great, but we didn’t get any of this in Matanzas. Such a bad luck for us.. just when we arrived, they had a problems with ruined pipe. Anyway, we came to this place because of the relative closeness to the airport (approx. 20 km), significantly cheaper accommodations – as the same remote, but more touristic Varadero – and a good bus connection to the Havana, which was our first real stop on Cuba.
Speaking of bus transport.. there are vehicles owned by company Viazul, which are intended solely for tourists and they drive to all major tourist areas on the island, and so goes for prices, which are not that cheap. One more thing.. book your transport at home, because it might happened that your bus will be completely full on the day you will want to go somewhere. Btw, we got the last two seats from Matanzas to Havana.