Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cuba Diary - Havana and Housing

My lovely readers, I'm back! Tanned, happy, 3 kg lighter and with loads of photos for you guys!
My boyfriend and I spent three pretty exhausting but adventurous and very enriching weeks on Cuba and we just got back to Mallorca a few days ago. As you can imagine I took millions of photos, so I decided to publish a Cuba diary on my blog with lots of pics and travel tips for you guys.
So let's start right away with the first post of my Cuba diary series...

First day
I'm done! 27 degrees, humidity, people everywhere, 6 hours walking - hello there, Havana!
Our first day in Cuba was a little exhausting but even more exciting! After just 5 hours of sleep (hello jet lag!) we decided to check out Cuba's capital by foot leaving early in the morning after a nice Cuban breakfast with lots of fruit and a yummy tortilla. A pretty good decision, since you get to decide where to go, when to stop, plus you meet the most interesting people and don't miss any details. However, we didn't plan that 6 hour walk, it just happened cause we wanted to see EVERYTHING! There's sooo much to see in Havana, I didn't expect the city to be so huge! Colorful houses, antique cars, cafés, loud restaurants, Cuban street life, the ocean... One day is definitely not enough to see all of Havana's hidden treasures. I gotta admit I was quite overwhelmed that first day. Tired, sweating, longing to see more and more and more.
We were pretty much done after our flight, the first night and six hour city tour but still wanted to go out at night. Eventually, it was the only night we went out during our vaca, haha! My boyfriend knows a Mallorquin guy whose dad lives on Cuba, he was so nice to take us out that day cause we didn't get to know Havana really well on the first day. So we went for pizza in his neighborhood called La Playa, one of Havana's nicer areas. We also wanted to head to a new it club called FAC (Fábrica de Arte Cubano) but the line was way too long, I would have fallen asleep just waiting to get in so we actually decided to call it a night and head home, haha. That was pretty much our first day on Cuba. 

We just arrived the night before, February 27th, and after 10 hours in the plane WITHOUT TV (thanks Air Europa!) we were pretty much done. In addition to that we didn't book any hotel or vacation house in advance, we just kinda let us surprise to see what will happen once we arrive. Thank God we met this nice Spanish couple on the plane (a quirky hippie girl and her timid best friend) who helped us out. We shared a cab that took us from the airport to Havana's center for 25 CUC (~25€) and asked the lady who owned their vacation house for help. Fortunately her friend, a lovely Cuban señora had a room for us. Cuba works like that - you just go by recommendation. Be on the lookout for blue anchor symbols that are printed on stickers or signs on the front door and you'll find a room to rent or even a small apartment. (Watch out for red anchors, those are rooms for Cubans and you, as a tourist, are not allowed to legally stay in those houses!) If the room is taken the Cuban house owner will gladly help you out and send you to a friend's house. That's how we found our first apartment. 
A pretty spacious bedroom, clean bathroom, plus a little kitchen with a big table and fridge - all that for 25 CUC per night, which is about 25€, not too bad I'd say (you can see some pics of our first apartment at the end of this post). So this is how we lived on Cuba for three weeks - moving from one house to the other, sometimes staying only one night, sometimes three or more.

Let me explain you how this works. The rooms or apartments are actually part of the host's house, you practically live in the same house with a Cuban family. We chose this type of accommodation because it is the most low priced and authentic one. You don't only experience the Cuban lifestyle first-hand and get to meet lovely people, you also save a lot of money when you're en route for a while just like us. The prices varied from 32€ (our most expensive but not very comfy stay) to only 15€ per night, my boyfriend is a pro at negotiating ;-) All in all I was pretty content with the rooms and apartments we rented, it's surely a "cheap" housing when you stay on Cuba for more than a week. The houses were always safe, most of the owners were very kind, helpful and polite, and the rooms were mostly clean. There were only two times that we were missing running water, which is actually a common thing on Cuba.
I can tell, it was not always easy for me to switch houses, once you get to settle down a little you already have to look for a new house in a new city which can be quite stressful but hey... living like that was surely one of my greatest adventures so far!

Anyway, now you know how we spent our first day in Havana, where we slept and how we could afford spending three weeks on Cuba!

Whew, I think I haven't written that much since I left New York City! But I thought it would be a great idea to leave you some information including lots of pics so you get to know the Cuban lifestyle better. Plus, I wanna give you loads of tips in case you decide to travel to Cuba yourself after seeing all my colorful pics ;-) I hope you enjoy the first post of my Cuba diary! xoxo

Cuban food 

Every single day we were eating those galletas (crackers) because food shopping was so difficult!

Cuban street food - rice with fresh soy beans and spices

The center of Havana

El Capitolio

El Malecón habanero

El Malecón is a broad esplanade and roadway which stretches for about 8 km along the coast in Havana

Our first home for 4 days

Cuban breakfast with tortilla and guayaba marmalade

Monday, March 2, 2015

Feeling Casual

Hey guys, how is everyone? As you can see I prepared an outfit post for you while I was on Mallorca. It's a pretty casual outfit, nothing fancy but I like my new cardigan by Mango so much that I wanted to share these pics with you, haha. The Mallorquin weather is a little crazy these days, a mix of rain, sunshine and pretty windy days. It's not like you need a winter coat or scarf  like in Germany but it can still get quite chilly. So I combined my new cardigan with a denim shirt and simple khaki pants - a combo you can wear to school, shopping tours or going for drinks with the girls. Hope you like the pics!
Since I am on Cuba by now, social media is a foreign word to me, haha! You can still follow my adventures on Instagram and my Facebook page though, until I'm back on Mallorca and have more time for my blog. I hope I can keep you updated there.
Hope you understand and have a wonderful week ;-)

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