Tuesday 1st October 2019
A marvellous sleep (no tailboard so particularly wonderful for Steve) and a delicious breakfast served up in the dining area. Maria and her staff make us feel so welcome and nothing is too much trouble – it is a house of smiles.
It’s certainly a house with a difference … and so hard to describe. It’s huge to start with and sort of last century elegant … quirky, eclectic, bright colours, every space filled … but so homely all the same. I think the photos describe it better.
And then there’s a fabulous roof terrace with wind chimes, plants and four poster recliners. You get a good view over this part of the city but it’s also great for getting snaps of Cuban life without being conspicuous.
But, best of all is the garden … all designed and planted by Mario. A long planted lane takes you down through overhanging evergreen to a magical pool area. Comfortable loungers are provided as well as table and chairs. Coconut palms grow at the edges of the pool and the water is a perfect temperature for cooling off. Making it even more exquisite is having the company of wandering peacocks and a parrot and lovebirds (caged but seemingly well looked after).
After breakfast we walked into the centre – it’s good to be staying nearer to the action this time, we won’t have to rely on taxis – most of it is manageable by foot. Stopped off at the nearest Plaza for some internet time … no Wi-fi in our house, the plazas are the Wi-fi spots here. Some beautiful architecture in this part of the city. Camaguey seems slightly more up to date than Santiago … and I mean slightly!!
Moved on to Plaza de la Soledad which seems to be the main centre – most of the large hotels are here. Stopped off for a ‘cafe con leche’- and it was like a real cappuccino – heaven! Yes, we felt we’d arrived in civilisation!
Walked onwards down the main shopping street. Not only did I leave my sunhat in a taxi in Santiago, it also seems I dropped my suncream out of my bag during yesterday’s traumatic journeying! So, on a bit of a mission to replace them … proving to be a difficult task. It’s so laughable, but sad at the same time, to see the shop windows and shop shelves. They have such little stock that they put loads of the same things in there, maybe about ten items repeated about 50 times. And a mixture of things too – clothes and household shops may have some tinned vegetables and pyramids of shampoos in the windows to fill up space. There really is so little on offer to buy.
We decided on an OK looking bar/restaurant to have some lunch. The waiter brought us an 8 page menu and we settled on some tapas. When the waitress came to take our order she said they had no tapas, no sandwiches, no pasta and no pizza. Just the main meals … oh and they had no pork or chicken!! So off we wandered and found another establishment that managed some passable sandwiches and a few soggy patatas fritas.
After popping into the information centre for some local information, we went back to our casa for a while to enjoy the pool and relax. Then we scrubbed up and headed out for the evening. Much walking later we had been unable to find any of the restaurants recommended. These private restaurants that they advise you to go to are sort of behind closed doors and difficult to locate. So, we ended up back in the main plaza and tried La Piazza – we’d noticed it had been busy during the day. We ordered drinks which were fine but when the food came it was completely inedible. We are really not fussy eaters and will try most things but we’d only ordered Napolitan Spaghetti and Pizza and couldn’t even get one mouthful down us – the cheese tasted like vomit! We had to explain and leave. The hotel over the road is where we’d had lunch so just thought we’d have a beer and think again …. but they had no beer!
Really we were still struggling emotionally from the previous day but it’s the closest we’ve come to giving up on Cuba and coming home. We abandoned our search for food and walked back to our accommodation – Maria and Mario were on hand to hear our woes, giving us further advice for the rest of the week. So, another night of no dinner – it was cake and beer instead supplied by Maria. Tomorrow night Maria is going to cook dinner for us and Mario has offered to show us restaurants around the city.
Think we need a good night’s sleep tonight and some decent food in us tomorrow and the world will seem brighter again. 😆