Experiencing Havana, Cuba

With things being a bit "unsettled" in London and Paris earlier this summer, we cancelled our family trip there at the last minute and scrambled to find an alternate destination.  After looking online for ideas, my husband came to me one night with the prospect of taking a four-day cruise to Havana, Cuba.  Some might argue that this is hardly the substitute for London and Paris, BUT, when we presented the idea to our kids (17 and 12), they were ecstatic!  It would be an opportunity to explore a new land - at least for Americans who have not been permitted to travel to Cuba for over a half a century.  It's a country that has stood still in time and, while the boarder was still open, we could not resist.  And, fellow Americans, go now, if you've been considering it!  You will not be disappointed! 

Travel to Cuba is still restricted for Americans and one of the few travel options is by ship along with documented travel plans.  We left the coast of Miami, Florida on a Monday afternoon on the Norwegian Sky and pulled into the Havana Harbor at sunrise the next day.  I climbed out of my small twin bed in the cabin my daughter and I were sharing and went anxiously to our porthole window to peer out.  I felt like a kid checking to see, if Santa had come.  I could not wait to have my first look at Cuba. 

Eclectic architecture, vintage cars, vibrant colors, Cuban music and fedoras for sale - it was everything I had imagined!  The excitement in the Cuban people for new visitors to their shores was evident and they welcomed us with open arms; new American tourism gives them hope for a prosperous future.  They expressed tremendous pride in their country and its people who have endured much over the last several decades, but are now showing signs of progress. The economic hardships in Cuba were startling in some parts of the city - half of a building condemned while the other half still occupied with freshly, washed clothes hanging on clotheslines.  In the large squares of Old Havana, however, there was work being done on every corner to restore and revitalize this historical city; bringing back the beauty that was once Havana. 

Although our time in Havana was short, it was plenty of time to fall in love with this amazing country full of wonder, culture and history.  It left me wanting to know more about its history and its struggles AND it definitely left me with a desire to return again soon.  I hope you enjoy these images from our short stay in Havana!  Please leave a comment, so I know you visited.  Thanks!